Business Book Review – Seth Godin’s The Dip

I’ve first heard about Seth Godin through my friend who was gung-ho on everything related with marketing.  He’d be someone who’d herald Seth as his marketing god.  I’ve heard about him utter the verses from Purple Cow, as though he memorized it as his marketing bible.  He even named his company after the same book.  I wonder if he ever read the Dip. Hmm?  I’ll be sure to share it to him.

Due to all the incessant applause from many people about how genius Seth is and my avoidance of most marketing books as plain gimmickry, I must admit that I’ve avoided purchasing Seth’s books even though I had frequently sees them on the New York Times Bestsellers list as though it was another one of those Kiyosaki books, that rehashed common sense concepts only marketing related.  He had 9 books and all are best sellers.  I figured.  Maybe his first was good, and the rest were just coat tailing on the success of the rest.  I couldn’t be more wrong.

It’s a good thing audiobooks are easily downloadable these days, and I’ve accidentally been able to download Seth Godin’s The Dip.  Boy, was I pleasantly surprised to have heard everything he had to say, not to mention it only took me an hour to finish the whole book (though, I have to admit, I think I’ve been replaying some of my favorite verses for about 2-3 times).  (Also, I’m now a big fan of listening to audio books, whether while driving, or exercising.  This does not in any way stop my purchasing of books, or anything.  I just learned that aside from downloading movies, I should start really listening to a lot of business audio books.  For one, they cost tons of money and make digesting books easier, and second, even if I had to pay for them, after learning how much I’ve been missing my whole life, listening to top influential thinkers in the world will eventually pay off my investment of time, money and energy.)

Enough extolling Seth, let me begin why I think the guy’s not just a marketing genius, he’s as large, and as influential as the world thinks he is.  I’d quote the things he talked about that touched me most.

Seth Godin Quotes:

1.) Quit or Be Exceptional -In the free market, we only reward the exceptional.  The top, big, juicy, profitable short head of the spectrum belongs only to the top of the field.  Quit fast and refocus your resources on something new.

Quit the wrong stuff.  Stick with the right stuff.  Have the guts to do one or the other.

2.) Vince Lombardi’s advice is bad advice. Winners never quit and Quitters never win is very bad advice.   Winners quit all the time.  They quit successfully.  Understand the architecture of quitting.  Quitting a lot more- Strategic Quitting is the success of organizations, companies and yourself..

3.) People settle. Organizations settle for good enough, instead of best in the world.  If you’re not going to put in the effort to be my best possible choice, why bother?

People who compromise fail.  They fail because they don’t know when to quit and when to refuse to settle.  

4.) Being Well Rounded is the Secret to Success WRONG!   We reward the exceptional.  The kid with only one A+ and 3 C+s will get better in life, rather than the person with 4 Bs.  Don’t believe me?  Look everywhere.  Our culture celebrates superstars, not mediocre ones.

5.) Best is Subjective.  – Be the best in my world, and you have me at your service.  This is the reason why we tell the people we love—you’re the best one for me.  There’s only the best for a few markets.  Specialize yourself.

There are micromarkets.  Pick the right thing and do it all the way.  More places to win, and big stakes in the world.

Personal Reflections:

I’ve narrated who I am. I’m just like the 90% of traders who fail all the time.  I could have quit long ago.  I’ve undergone what Seth calls the dip.  I’ve been depressed, seen my worst, as well as my devaluing account slip by (even worse, it’s not simply my own money).    It’s dangerous that we think we should never give up.  Because sometimes giving up early is the right solution.  I used to have a lot of fundamental convictions, and I had to face the harsh facts that I need to give up early.  Over time, I’ve altered my trading decisions from art into science.  I’ve succumbed to trading in a mechanistic way.  While I’m no computer, I’m more like a robot.

On a long term basis,  you can’t understand how much this book talks to me as I’ve wondered whether I should persevere in the field of trading, when perceived progress looks more like Seth’s “cul-de-sac” or a dead-end job.  Trading, if you’re not successful, is essentially a point of no return.  Unlike most jobs, trading is managing capital.  You don’t get promotions.  Where you are, is where you already are.  You just simply enlarge your capital base, and have huge financial responsibilities.  At least, that’s what I think it is.

Unless you work on your other skill sets, you will just get an entry level job on other financial careers, if the only thing you’ve done your whole life is proprietary trading without any successful track record to boast of.  Well, perhaps you can write a book about failed traders, but who’ll read that right?  But I’m blogging right now, ain’t I?

Perhaps that’s because I know what it’s like to fail.  It’s stupid to think you won’t ever fail.  It’s stupid to think you will intentionally fail your way to become a master (I’ve seen many do this, trading excessively because they feel they’re already good enough and do not need to know about risk management).  It’s stupid.

I started to think and stray my time away from the markets.  I came across Alice and Wonderland during my “reflection days”.  While guys will never admit they cry, I cry.  Other guys admitted to me that they also cry.  So, it’s human.

Alice in Wonderland: Sir, would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

The Cheshire Cat:
 That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.

Alice: I don’t much care where.

The Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.

So many people in society will never make a good contribution to society and do what they love because they’re stuck with something they’re too proud to quit.  If you’re too proud to quit trading unsuccessfully, if you’re too proud to quit a losing position, if you’re too proud to quit and learn a new system, if you’re too proud to quit-you’re so self absorbed, it makes me sick.



Throughout my fire/refining process, I’ve told myself I’d persevere through the dip, and if in 2-3 years time, I find that I’m nowhere, despite all my efforts and concentrated measures to improve that is based on systems, and journals, I will quit.

Kudos and may you find that one thing you love, and if not, quit soon and quit fast.

Don’t waste your life for someone/something if you’re never going to be the best.

Never settle,

– The Faceless Trader


References: Seth Godin – The Dip

Relevant Book Reviews.  Highly Recommended Readings: (Read all 5 of them.  They are worth your time, I weeded out the other reviews)

1.) They Don’t Teach You This In School – The Dip: Why You Have To Quit To Be The Best

2.) Comprehensive Lessons from Seth Godin

3.) Guy Kawasaki Interviews Seth on The Dip

(For those who still don’t know who Guy Kawasaki is, he’s the guy who designed the sleek designs of iPod, and more, but just a quick google will show the way. ) 😀

4.) Richard Pachter’s Review (Snippet Excerpt below:)

The one possible weakness of this otherwise terrific little volume is that it is aimed solely at people who are creative, intelligent and want to succeed. Those who are mediocre, unmotivated or just coasting through life will probably not get much from Godin. He is not an elitist, but his message is squarely aimed at those who want to succeed or at least achieve excellence.

5.) Please Visit Seth’s Site on everything related about the Dip here.  There are a myriad of articles, examples etc.  You will profoundly open your lenses and aim for excellence yourself.  If you aren’t aiming to be excellent, then why bother? just quit 😀

6.) If you can’t get enough of Seth, like I do, I think I just got converted into his tribe.  Here’s a list of quotes by the student/guru/master himself  compiled by Good Reads 😀



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8 Responses to Business Book Review – Seth Godin’s The Dip

  1. ScIoN says:

    Great insight!

    I quit my Engineering job and totally left the industry since I didn’t see much future on my career. I worked and lived like a robot back then. I’m on my way towards a career shift, hoping that it would be the right decision. So far, no regrets. 🙂


    • Hey, I’m glad you’ve looked hard on yourself and done something you love. 😀 I’ll try to continue and follow up this thread with related topics 😀


    • cat says:

      LOLs, I’m thinking that way too. I’m not very fulfilled with my engineering career. Plans to take MBA, and redirect myself towards business/finance career, which I really like (since childhood). Oh well. Soon!


  2. Pingback: August 31, 2011- The Changing Paradigm of Education | Faceless Trader

  3. It’s exactly the opposite of what’s in “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.


    • which concept? Because I’ve read Rich Dad Poor Dad too. I believe Kiyosaki drilled into the mind more on making money work for you, while Seth Godin reinforced the point of strategic quitting. They both do not seem to be talking about a common topic. Can you kindly enlighten?


  4. If I can remember it correctly, its the “learn something of everything” rather than specialize. I should have also pointed out that I was referring to #4. Silly me XD


    • Ah. I can’t remember him saying something like that..or maybe because it’s been quite along time since I read Kiyosaki’s book. Nevertheless, most people who are successful dont know everything, and instead specialize…. from basketball stars, to computer programmers, to aquaponicists and quite everything else in life. If your speciality is generalist, you have a niche— as in curators (you find a lot of people with diverse interests doing well curating intersting stuff and being serial entrepreneurs). So…i guess, end of the day…as long as you fit in the right mix with your strengths, you should be fine. Steve Jobs once said— the key to focus is saying no to many many wonderful things, in order to create just one insanely great thing. (And look, he and the whole apple crowd created and reignited 6 great wonderful things- iPod, iMac, iPad, iTouch, iTunes, iCloud and so on.


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