Book review of “The Dip” by Seth Godin

Reading time: 5 minutes



When it comes to spreading game changing ideas in marketing, business and life, there is no one quite like Seth Godin. Godin is an American entrepreneur, blogger, lecturer and best selling author has had his books translated into 33 different languages.

As an avid reader of books, what I have come to learn is that big books (more pages) doesn’t mean they have a greater impact.

In fact, although this book is little more than 80 pages long, I can honestly say that this book has changed my world view about my career and my life. The witty hand drawings by Hugh McLeod (I’m a sucker for hand drawing) are funny & match Godin’s breezy but straightforward style.

So as I sip my green tea, let me talk you through why you need this book in your life…


From the time that we were little ‘uns, we were taught to “never give up on what you believe in”. NFL coach Vince Lombardi said: “quitters never win and winners never quit”

Seth Godin believes that’s poor advice. Godin says that:

winners quit all the time – but they quit the right stuff at the right time.

There are two central themes that run through the book.

Being the best in the world

Godin argues that schools teach us that being well rounded and average in most subjects in life is better than being really good at one thing and failing the rest.

When I was taking my GCSEs way back when, the kid that got 5 B’s and 4 C’s would have been seen to be better than the kid who got one A* and 8 F’s.


But Godin feels that in the real world, the marketplace rewards the exceptional. Godin argues whether it’s brands or athletes, The benefits of being number #1 always several times more than their nearest competitor. This is called Zipf’s Law.

For example, if we look at the highest paid football players in 2016, Lionel Messi tops the list earning a crazy £59 million in salary pay & sponsorship deals. Meanwhile his tenth ranked teammate Andreas Iniesta made just under £18 million – 3 times less than Messi.

Being the best in the world doesn’t necessarily mean being the best in the actual globe. Being the best could mean being the best in your town, in your workplace team or your online community. Godin argues that people look for number one because it saves time and effort on their part and they will get the result they need. Not everyone can be Number #1 so that creates scarcity. And…

Scarcity creates value.

The Dip


So what is ‘The Dip?’ Godin describes ‘The Dip’ as “The long slog between starting and mastery” The Dip describes the journey where you learn a new skill/start a business/make a major life change. This is where your naivety outweighs your skill.

You start programming because you are inspired by motivational video and you go to Code Academy start hacking out some code. You write your first “hello world” in HTML and you feel… Sweeeet!

But after a while, despite passing the code challenges ,things start to get really hard and you feel like you’re going nowhere: when you try to create your first website by yourself you become completely unstuck or you read a professional’s code & you feel like you’re reading an email to ET. At this point, most people give up.


But Godin believes ‘The Dip’ is not your enemy but your friend – The Dip is designed to keep the slackers and amateurs out, ‘The Dip’ is where real learning and understanding take place. That experience is scarce and valuable.

But wait: isn’t that the same as “never give up on your dreams?” Not at all. Godin believes that are things called ‘Cul-De-Sacs’ or Dead Ends. There are some things that you shouldn’t even start because they lead nowhere. Taking a hardcore illegal drugs is a great example: overtime, you will either end up 1) dead or 2) in prison. Literally a dead-end.

Successful people quit things that don’t help career/life and focus on what will give them the greatest benefit.

Godin’s book is a roadmap to what types of things that you see in the dip, and how you can overcome them.

How this can help you

This book has been a real game changer for the helped we had to leave my personal dips through my career change.

I am currently riding ‘The Dip’ right now in regards to coding. When I first started coding, I thought that within six months I have created the next Instagram. But as I started to create my own websites and programs, I realised coding is hard and I had to completely change the way that I learned and practised. But as time has gone on, my experience & confidence are starting to soar.

‘The Dip’ in coding is steep but the book will make ask yourself 2 questions:

1. What things do I need to quit to get better at coding? For me, I had to postpone studying for a higher teaching qualification so I could focus solely on Front End Development.

2. What do I need to do get unstuck or go faster through my dip? Godin lists many different types of ‘dips’ and what you will have to do to go to get to the next level. I have read this book several times & has been a great motivator & guide in getting better at coding and life.

Thank you for your time. What do you think? Leave some comments below or hit me up @karlwebdev

See you next Thursday!


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