Summary of Mastering the Art of Quitting

Why It Matters in Life, Love, and Work

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Mastering the Art of Quitting book summary
Knowing when to quit gives you the freedom to pursue new goals.


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The human brain – which is hard-wired for persistence – and modern culture both disdain a “quitter.” However, the concept that you’ve put in too much work by now to give up can blind you to new possibilities. Peg Streep and Alan Bernstein show you how to push through those mental blocks. They detail how to use “goal mapping” to reinvent yourself, and they explain why “intrinsic goals” built around personal growth yield greater rewards than “extrinsic goals” that depend on the approval of others. The authors cite psychological experiments that explain how your brain predisposes you to persist, even when giving up is a better choice. Readers seeking practical advice will enjoy the book but will draw more insight from interviews with people who quit unfulfilling jobs and tried something new. If you have doubts about whether you’re on the right career or relationship path, getAbstract recommends this dispassionate, convincing guide to knowing when to change course. The authors speak from experience: Each quit a previous career.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why you may find it hard to leave a job or life path that isn’t fulfilling
  • How to overcome the mental blocks that can keep you from trying new paths
  • How “goal mapping” can help you chart a new course


Learning How to Quit
Quitting is an essential life tool, but nobody wants to be called a “quitter.” Society values persistence and celebrates heroes who reach their goals against all odds. Sometimes fear of failure keeps you going even when your goal is unrealistic. Being aware and informed...
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About the Authors

Peg Streep wrote Necessary Journeys in cooperation with Dr. Nancy L. Snyderman. She also has written nine other books. Clinical social worker Alan Bernstein, author of The Princeton Review’s Guide to Your Career, has been a faculty member at New York Medical College and New York University.

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    Tim Laughlin 1 year ago
    Excellent Read, worth the time.
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    Dave Bartek 3 years ago
    All good stuff, and maybe I missed it, but what about stopping and recalibrating by asking: are the reasons I am doing this the same? we decide to take a job or whatever but forget to revisit the decision based on changes in ourselves, the situation or other contexts that may have changed. Hey, I no longer am 25, this is a different company, I have done all I wanted here or my situation is different. Stop and retest, would I decide to take it on if it were presented to me now?

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