The story: Quit
This month we’re reading the latest book by Annie Duke (her last book, How to Decide, was featured by us in 2021). From academia to world champion poker player and back, Annie brings personal experience and scientific review to Quit, the power of knowing when to walk away.
Quitting is a power?
Duke argues that knowing when to hold ‘em and knowing when to fold ‘em is not just a power but a virtue. While grit has been a long-heralded quality, quitting situations is as powerful a choice as sticking to them because it’s a decision-making tool that allows us to react to new information. Quitting can significantly benefit your quality of life as much, if not more, than the sticking-to-it. Duke came up with some strategies to help us learn how.
What’s one of the strategies?
Frame quitting as an expected-value problem. For example, deciding to leave or stay in your job requires some future forecasting. What is the probability you will be unhappy if you’re doing the same thing a year from now? Remember, the expected value of staying the course or starting something new is not just about economic opportunities but is also measured by health, well-being, time, and other things that affect you.
Let’s cut to the behavioral science part
So often, quitting a thing we perceive will negatively affect our external identity and create internal inconsistencies that can be incredibly uncomfortable, even painful, to anticipate, let alone feel. Duke brings up terms like escalation of commitment, sunk cost fallacy, the endowment effect, and status quo bias to explain some behavioral biases that create this trap. But she also provides her own mental model through the metaphor of monkeys and pedestals. We’ll leave that part a mystery to entice you not to quit her book.
Habit Weekly's book of the month.
In a world that champions perseverance, Duke wants us to remember that incredible things have happened in history because someone changed their mind—and that you can quit, too. Read this book and learn how to start something new (but you’ve gotta quit first 🙂).