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Mastering the Art of Quitting

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Mastering the Art of Quitting

Why It Matters in Life, Love, and Work

Da Capo Press,

15 min. de leitura
10 Ideias Fundamentais
Texto disponível

Sobre o que é?

Knowing when to quit gives you the freedom to pursue new goals.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


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.


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 and then quitting thoughtfully engages your thoughts, emotions, motivation and behavior to set you on a new path. Learning how and when to quit opens fresh opportunities for success in careers and relationships.

Set aside cultural myths like the children’s book The Little Engine That Could or the film about a valiant boxer, Rocky. Don’t perpetuate the fallacy that persistence always pays. Turn your attention to overcoming any mental obstacles that may blind you to the very real need to quit.

Through experiments, psychologists are learning more about how the human brain locks people into patterns of persistence. Be aware of these mental heuristics or mechanisms:

  • Being deceived by a “near win” – In experiments, gamblers’ brains reacted almost the same way to a near win as to a win – they kept playing. Your brain reframes a loss into a near...

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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    V. I. 7 years ago
    A nice read
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    T. L. 9 years ago
    Excellent Read, worth the time.
  • Avatar
    D. B. 1 decade 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?