Annie Duke on Quitting, Part 6

In her book, Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away, Annie Duke shares her inspiration and recommendations to help us make better decisions.

These are some of my favorite recommendations from reading the book.

Chapter 6 Monkeys and Pedestals

“Monkeys and pedestals is a mental model that helps you quit sooner.”

“Pedestals are the part of the problem you know you can already solve, like designing the perfect business card or logo. The hardest thing is training the monkey.”

“When faced with a complex, ambitious goal, (a) identify the hard thing first; (b) try to solve for that as quickly as possible; and (c) beware of false progress.”

“Building pedestals creates the illusion that you are making progress toward your goal, but doing the easy stuff is a waste of time if the hard stuff is actually impossible.”

“Tackling the monkey first gets you to no faster, limiting the time, effort, and money you sink into a project, making it easier to walk away.”

“When we butt up against a hard problem we can’t solve, we have a tendency to turn to pedestal-building rather than choosing to quit.”

“Advance planning and precommitment contracts increase the chances you will quit sooner.”

“When you enter into a course of action, create a set of kill criteria. This is a list of signals you might see in the future that would tell you it’s time to quit.”

“Kill criteria will help inoculate you against bad decision-making when you’re “in it” by limiting the number of decisions you’ll have to make once you’re already in the gains or in the losses.”

“In organizations, kill criteria allow people a different way to get rewarded beyond dogged and blind pursuit of a project until the bitter end.”

“A common, simple way to develop kill criteria is with “states and dates:” “If by (date), I have/haven’t (reached a particular state), I’ll quit.””