Think Like a Freak by Levitt & Dubner

The Upside of Quitting

  • The key point here is that you need to recognize when something isn’t working and stop doing it. The problem most people have is associated with the sunk-cost fallacy. This is when you feel like to have committed so much in the way of resources to something that you just can’t walk away. This is also known as throwing good money after bad. Something we often fail to consider are the opportunity costs. This is when you consider what else you could do with the resources that you would expend to keep a failing project going.
  • Quitting has a bad reputation as one is seldom proud to be labelled a quitter. The authors themselves claim to quit nine of ten research projects, and both have quit one career for another with apparent success. As many other modern authors state, you need to fail fast and fail cheap to increase your odds of success. They suggest that when you have planned something new you engage in a premortem. This is where everyone involved in a project tries to come up with what could possibly go wrong. It helps if this process is anonymous. They also point out that quitting something that is impossible or not working can improve your emotional and physical well being.
  • Now it’s your turn to Think Like a Freak. If you have anything to offer that would support or challenge the ideas in this book, the authors would like to hear from you. Their email is ThinkLikeAFreak@freakonomics.com. You should also check out their website and listen to their free weekly podcast. I get mine from my Sticher app. Thanks guys.
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