The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away
From the bestselling author of Thinking in Bets comes a toolkit for mastering the skill of quitting to achieve greater success
Business leaders, with millions of dollars down the drain, struggle to abandon a new app or product that just isn’t working. Governments, caught in a hopeless conflict, believe that the next tactic will finally be the one that wins the war. And in our own lives, we persist in relationships or careers that no longer serve us. Why? According to Annie Duke, in the face of tough decisions, we’re terrible quitters. And that is significantly holding us back.
In Quit, Duke teaches you how to get good at quitting. Drawing on stories from elite athletes like Mount Everest climbers, founders of leading companies like Stewart Butterfield, the CEO of Slack, and top entertainers like Dave Chappelle, Duke explains why quitting is integral to success, as well as strategies for determining when to hold em, and when to fold em, that will save you time, energy, and money. You’ll learn:
How the paradox of quitting influences decision making: If you quit on time, you will feel you quit earlyWhat forces work against good quitting behavior, such as escalation commitment, desire for certainty, and status quo biasHow to think in expected value in order to make better decisions, as well as other best practices, such as increasing flexibility in goal-setting, establishing “quitting contracts,” anticipating optionality, and conducting premortems and backcasts
Whether you’re facing a make-or-break business decision or life-altering personal choice, mastering the skill of quitting will help you make the best next move.
Duke follows up How to Decide with a fascinating look at the power of walking away from strategies and plans that aren't working. There's a pervasive cultural narrative that proposes a false dichotomy of "grit vs. quit," she argues, but that oversimplified framing serves no one: "While grit can get you to stick to hard things that are worthwhile," it can also mean staying with something when it's time to stop. Duke breaks down why people get so hidebound, explaining how the "escalation of commitment" can lead people to double down when they're losing. Finding the resolve to walk away from a project that overlaps with one's identity is especially hard, she notes, as people often fear they'll be judged "as being wrong, irrational, capricious, and prone to mistakes" if they abandon a goal or belief. She offers examples of people who were right to drop the rope when they did, including Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, who recognized the risk continuing to compete posed to her health, and Stewart Butterfield, who walked away from developing the game Glitch to create Slack. Duke reassures readers that there's nothing shameful about quitting: "Contrary to popular belief, winners quit a lot. That's how they win." This no-nonsense survey packs a punch.