Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Everybody knows we're supposed to persevere when things aren't going our way. "If you're going through hell, keep going," says Winston Churchill. That attitude can help when you really need to get something done. But applied in the wrong context, it can cost us a lot too. In Quit, Annie Duke argues that we overvalue things like grit, and as a result don't walk away enough.

I already agreed with this philosophy before I started the book, so I was worried I wouldn't get much from it. But I'm very glad I read it. Not only are there a ton of interesting and useful anecdotes on the topic, but there are ways to deal with it. That's because knowing about this bias of ours is not enough; Duke showed an example where even an expert in the field fell victim to it anyway!

Quitting when you're right in the thick of it whereby you've already expended costs and devoted a ton of energy is nearly impossible. But setting "go vs quit" criteria ahead of time can help. Likewise, trying to convince someone else to quit is just going to get them to dig in and commit even more! But discussing criteria that would get them to quit, and then re-visiting those criteria after an agreed-upon period, can get the job done!

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