Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away

Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away

by Annie Duke
Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away

Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away

by Annie Duke


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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 early
  • What forces work against good quitting behavior, such as escalation commitment, desire for certainty, and status quo bias
  • How 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.

    Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9780593422991
    Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
    Publication date: 10/04/2022
    Pages: 336
    Sales rank: 85,609
    Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

    About the Author

    Annie Duke is a bestselling author, corporate speaker, and consultant in the decision-making space. As a former professional poker player, Annie won more than $4 million in tournament poker before retiring from the game in 2012. Prior to becoming a professional player, Annie was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship to study Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the co-founder of The Alliance for Decision Education, a non-profit whose mission to improve lives by empowering students through decision skills education.

    Table of Contents

    Prologue The Gaffed Scale xv

    Grit vs. Quit xviii

    Wrapped in Euphemism xxi

    Science Says xxiii

    Section I The Case for Quitting

    Chapter 1 The Opposite of a Great Virtue Is Also a Great Virtue 3

    The Invisible Men at the Top of the World 6

    Quitting Is a Decision-Making Tool 10

    The Siren Song of Certainty 14

    The Super Bowl Is a Corporate Graveyard 16

    "Know When to Hold 'Em, Know When to Fold 'Em But Mostly, Fold 'Em 18

    Chapter 2 Quitting On Time Usually Feels Like Quitting Too Early 23

    Quit While You Still Have a Choice 29

    Thinking in Expected Value 32

    Quitting Decisions Are Expected-Value Decisions 35

    Time Travelers from the Past 39

    Flipping Coins 41

    Jumping the Shark 42

    The Quitting Bind 44

    Chapter 3 Should I Stay, or Should I Go? 48

    Paper Gains and Paper Losses 51

    Quit While You're Ahead? 55

    Take the Money and Run 57

    How Smart Is the Smart Money? 59

    Getting Feedback on the Things You Don't Do 63

    Interlude I Quitting When the World is Watching 67

    Section II In the Losses

    Chapter 4 Escalating Commitment 73

    Knee-Deep in the Big Muddy 79

    Waiting until It Hurts 81

    Chapter 5 Sunk Cost and the Fear of Waste 85

    The Sunk Cost Effect 89

    When "Public Works" Is an Oxymoron 92

    Katamari 95

    How Big Does the Katamari Grow? 98

    Mental Accounting 100

    The Hardest Cost to Bear 102

    The Difference between Knowing and Doing 103

    You Can't Jedi Mind Trick Being Fresh to a Decision 105

    Chapter 6 Monkeys and Pedestals 108

    Getting the Monkey Off Your Back 112

    Kill Criteria 115

    Funnel Vision 117

    States and Dates 122

    Better, Not Perfect 125

    Interlude II Gold or Nothing 129

    Section III Identity and Other Impediments

    Chapter 7 You Own What You've Bought and What You've Thought: Endowment and Status Quo Bias 135

    An Oenophile among Economists 140

    Also, If You've Known It, You Own It 143

    The Endowment Effect 144

    Pro Sports Teams and Their Escalating Commitment to High Draft Picks 146

    The Status Quo Is Hard to Quit 150

    Better the Devil You Know 153

    The Price of Sticking 154

    Chapter 8 The Hardest Thing to Quit Is Who You Are: Identity and Dissonance 158

    The Cult of Identity 164

    Cognitive Dissonance 168

    The Mirror and the Window 170

    Out on a Limb 173

    Mistaken Identity 175

    A Ray of Hope 176

    Chapter 9 Find Someone Who Loves You but Doesn't Care about Hurt Feelings 180

    (Over) Optimism 185

    The Difference between Being Nice and Being Kind 188

    Some Coaches Can Pull the Plug 190

    Divide and Conquer 192

    The Importance of Giving and Getting Permission 194

    Interlude III The Ants go Marching … Mostly 199

    Section IV Opportunity Cost

    Chapter 10 Lessons from Forced Quitting 205

    In the Meantime 210

    What Ants Can Teach Us about Backup Plans 213

    Notes from the London Underground 216

    Just One Day 218

    Diversifying Your Opportunities 221

    The Great Resignation 224

    Chapter 11 The Myopia of Goals 228

    The Problem with Pass-Fail 230

    Fixed Objects in a Changing World 235

    Every Goal Needs At Least One Unless 237

    Marking Progress along the Way 240

    Goal-Induced Myopia 242

    Quit Thinking about Waste 244

    Acknowledgments 249

    Notes 253

    Bibliography 281

    Index 297

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