October 17, 2022

Quit: Why We Do It Too Late and How To Get Better At It with Annie Duke

Walking away is never easy. Whether it’s quitting a job, a relationship or an expedition to the peak of Mount Everest, we have a real problem with knowing when to stop. And ironically, when we do quit, we often wish we’d done it earlier. So why do we find it so difficult to quit? Annie Duke addresses the psychological reasons that prevent us from quitting, and how we can overcome them. 


Annie needs little introduction to the Behavioral Grooves Podcast as she is now the only guest to have been on the show 4 times! Most people know of her as a poker champion and bestselling author but we are lucky enough to call her a friend. One of the reasons we are so fond of Annie is her ability to use relatable stories to explain the complex concepts around decision making. She has emerged as one of the leading thinkers in the field, and is truly an intellectual powerhouse. So we are thrilled to be talking to Annie about her excellent new book, “Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away”.


We don't like ambiguity. We don't like uncertainty. We keep chugging along, trying to accrue more certainty. So that we know that it's the right decision....As Richard Thaler, Nobel laureate said to me; “the only time that we were really willing to quit is when it's not a decision anymore.”

~ Annie Duke, Episode 323


In this episode, Annie touches on key themes around quitting. We talk about the reasons we find quitting so difficult, why mantras like “quit while you’re ahead” are complete bunkum, and what techniques we can use to ensure we quit at the right time. Annie also sets the record straight on the myth that grit and quitting are opposite sides of the same coin. The concepts actually overlap.


We hope you enjoy this episode (and didn’t quit!). To help others find our podcast content, we would be grateful if you would write us a quick review on your podcast player. It helps us get noticed by other folk who are interested in podcasts about behavioral science. Thank you, and we appreciate your help.



(5:36) Annie’s story of quitting and her personal frustration.

(12:39) Grit and quit are NOT polar opposites.

(22:53) What are some of the psychological aspects that make quitting hard?

(36:31) What is the difference between loss aversion and sure loss aversion?

(42:29) Why we shouldn’t quit while we’re ahead.

(49:10) Gut feel vs rational decisions.

(53:29) What Mount Everest can teach us about when to quit.

(1:03:36) The second way to help you quit – a quitting coach.

(1:10:44) The backstory of Barry Staw.

(1:20:40) Grooving Session with Tim and Kurt about quitting.


© 2022 Behavioral Grooves



Annie Duke’s Books:

“Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away”: https://amzn.to/3z47JEP 

“Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts”: https://amzn.to/3Vvaick 


Angela Duckworth book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”: https://amzn.to/3ECSLsS 

Episode 107, Rory Sutherland: The Opposite of a Good Idea is a Good Idea: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/rory-sutherland-the-opposite-of-a-good-idea-is-a-good-idea/ 

Maya Shankar: A Slight Change Of Plans Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/a-slight-change-of-plans/id1561860622 

Episode 310, Why You Can’t Find a Cab When It’s Raining – Groove Track: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/why-you-cant-find-cabs-in-the-rain/ 

Barry Staw: https://haas.berkeley.edu/faculty/staw-barry/ 

Episode 277, No Regrets? Really? Why Regrets Actually Bring Us Hope | Daniel H. Pink: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/why-regrets-bring-us-hope/ 

Episode 171, Self Control, Belonging, and Why Your Most Dedicated Employees Are the Ones To Watch Out For with Roy Baumeister: https://behavioralgrooves.com/episode/self-control-belonging-and-why-your-most-dedicated-employees-are-the-ones-to-watch-out-for-with-roy-baumeister/ 


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