The Importance of Quitting in Politics, Work, and Life

According to Annie Duke, quitting is undervalued. She is an author, psychologist, and former professional poker player. Her latest book is Quit: The Power of Knowing When To Walk Away. Duke uses examples such as Muhammad Ali’s reluctance to retire from boxing, the costly and delayed California high-speed rail project, and disastrous American wars to argue that committing blindly to determination often leads to the wrong path in our careers, politics, and personal lives.

She discusses mental traps like the sunk-cost fallacy, the cult of identity, and the endowment effect, and how to recognize and reverse them in our personal lives, work, and politics. Duke earned her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2023, after a 30-year hiatus from academia. She explains how her experience in poker and higher education informed her belief in the importance of knowing when to quit.

(For an interview about Duke’s previous book Thinking in Bets, click here).