in Book Notes

Book Notes – The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

What’s The Main Point Of This Book?

This concept of ‘the dip’—the period between starting something new and absolutely mastering it—and how one must persevere through it to become #1 in their field.

In the beginning phases of mastering something, you can get better very quickly. Maybe you go from having 0% skill to 60-80% skill in a short period of time. However, going from 80% to 100% can take years upon years. Godin’s point is that if you persevere through the dip, it’s a shortcut to success. You’re going to be #1, and that position is by and far the most rewarded in any field or any endeavor.

What Does This Book Share That Similar Books Do Not?

In some senses, this is like a motivational book. In another, this is basically just a short book that teaches one simple idea, and I haven’t yet read a book that succinctly explains the positive effects of quitting. Godin explains exactly why you should quit and not feel bad about it.

He also introduces the idea of ‘the Cul-de-Sac’: imagine you’re following a trajectory in which you’re trying to persevere through the dip. As you approach the end of the road to absolute mastery, the rewards for that mastery are not there. If this happens, you should try to recognize that as early as possible, and quit. So this isn’t just about you lacking passion for something. It’s also if—even if mastering it—there’s not a lot of reward there, then you should quit.

Who Should Read This Book?

  • Those who think that quitting something is always bad.
  • Entrepreneurs. People who tend to start a lot businesses, or attempt to develop new skills, and never end up finishing them. If you’re not going to go to the mat with the business, then don’t start it in the first place.
  • People with future-oriented and analytical thought, who delve deeper on the strategy and trajectory of their own life.
  • A curious individual who has many hobbies and interests, with the tendency to spread themselves pretty thin.

I’m one of these people. I’ve learned it’s important for me to ask myself:

  1. Do I want to master this thing?
  2. Am I comfortable never making it through the dip, to just continually dabble?

If so, I don’t necessarily need to quit that thing. However, if I get really into something and spend an exorbitant amount of time on it, I need to ask myself if I’m going to actually go through with it all the way to the end. The chances are high that I’m not, because realistically, someone can’t have that many things that they do that with in their life.

Who Should NOT Read This Book?

Those of you who already know the opportunity cost of investing your time into things. You understand that sometimes it’s better to quit in the early phases if you know you’re not going to persevere all the way through. If you already understand this concept, then this short read won’t be of much help to you.

What Skills Will This Book Help You Develop?

There’s not too much in the way of hard skills, but rather it incites analytical thought, implanting an idea into your head and allowing you to see the world a little bit differently. ‘The Dip’ conceptualizes the idea of sitting down and taking a bird’s-eye view of the areas you’re spending time in, as well as the areas you’re not spending time in. It encourages you to assess the things you like enough to persevere through the dip, which will allow you to reap the rewards that come once you actually master that craft.

What Part Of The Book Was Most Illustrative Or Memorable?

To illustrate the point of how powerful it is to reach mastery level, Godin talks about how vanilla is the #1 selling ice cream flavor, followed by chocolate at #2. You would expect that they’d be pretty close in sales, but vanilla outsells chocolate by 5 to 1. You can imagine what the tenth most popular ice cream flavor is, and how badly it’s outsold by vanilla.

This can be extrapolated to your personal business goals. For example: do you want to be the #1 real estate agent in your town, or do you want to be the second best? Chances are pretty good that the #1 real estate agent is going to make twice to 5 times as much money as the second best. Everyone else is essentially in the average, because they’re making so much more.

And it’s not just about making the most money. This can be applied to your field of choice, and what you define ‘best’ as. For example, if you strive to be the best in some biology branch and persevere through the dip, then you’re going to reap all the rewards of making that massive scientific progress, or whatever it might be.

If You Only Have 10 Minutes, What Part Should You Read?

Honestly, this book is so short that you can read the whole thing in about 30-40 minutes. This is not the type of book in which you’d pick and choose a chapter. It’s best read in one sitting, followed with some critical thought.