When you think about personal development, what authors come to mind? Jim Rohn, Bob Proctor, Denis Waitley, Brian Tracy…

And Seth Godin?! Yup. Godin’s brilliant little treatise on what it takes to succeed at anything has taken Barnes & Noble by storm and given the maverick New York marketing guru a firmly established place in the Personal Development Hall of Fame. Subtitled “A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When To Stick),” The Dip is the surprise bestseller of the year.

The Dip is what Godin calls a “mind grenade,” and that grenade jumps right in by blowing up the old Vince Lombardi truism, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” Nonsense, says Godin: in fact, winners quit all the time. It’s just that they know when to quit—and when to stick. And therein lies the tale. What distinguishes winners is that they quit exactly in those non-challenging but dead-end situations where most people settle—in Seth’s parlance, the dreaded cul de sac. The dead-end job, the going-nowhere relationship, the not-bad-but-hey-it-could-be-worse situation. That way lies the average, the majority, the mediocre.

And where do winners choose to stick it out? Precisely where most people quit: in the dip.

The dip is that no-man’s-land that comes long after beginner’s luck has run out, the thrill of the new has paled, the freshman’s flush of enthusiasm has waned—but long before the goal is won.

The same Robert Frost who wrote “Two roads diverged in a wood and I— / I took the one less traveled by,” also wrote this: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. / But I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep.”—and in both cases, he was writing about The Dip.

The dip is the place where you’ve heard “no” more than a dozen times; where everyone else has lost enthusiasm for the meetings or the conference calls; where most people have decided it’s “not fun any more” and moved on to other distractions.

And that way, says Godin, lies success. The dip is the most difficult leg on the journey to true achievement, the reason so few reach the top, and it is what makes reaching the finish line both rare and valuable. The dip is the reason most people won’t make it—and the reason you will.

“The dip,” Godin confides near the end of the book, “is the reason we’re here.”

The Dip is shot through with especially powerful messages for network marketers. If ever there were a pursuit with a hefty built-in dip, it is this profession. In our business there are myriad reasons to quit, and surviving the long stretch of the networking dip takes a remarkable willingness to stay focused. In a 100% volunteer labor force, quitting couldn’t be easier: people quit on themselves all the time. Read The Dip, and you’ll understand why you’re still here.

Hardcover, 96 pages; $12.95; Portfolio (Penguin Group)
Also available on CD (abridgement), read by the author.