Quitting: A Life Strategy

The Myth of Perseverance—and How the New Science of Giving Up Can Set You Free


By Julia Keller

Read by Hillary Huber

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“Compelling,” (Cal Newport) “Liberating,” (Amy Dickinson) and “as entertaining as it is important” (Steven Levitt) — How to Do Nothing meets Think Again in this lively and inspiring exploration of how quitting is, counterintuitively, the key to success.

"If you’re thinking about quitting a job or leaving a marriage, don’t—at least not until you have read Quitting: A Life Strategy. It’s a thoughtful book that challenges conventional wisdom about giving up. Blending scientific research with stories of real-life decisions, Keller shows how quitting can be a powerful way to take control of your life."―Joseph T. Hallinan, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author of Why We Make Mistakes

Simone Biles quit the Olympics. Harry and Meghan quit The Firm. Millions of people have quit their jobs, seeking happiness and defining success on their own terms. Is it a mistake? As Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Julia Keller found out, it’s not. And, in fact, it might even save your life. 

Diving into the neuroscience of nope and the cultural messages that drive our reluctance to throw in the towel, Keller dismantles the myth of perseverance once and for all. Because grit isn't always great. Sticking it out doesn't always pay off. And quitting can be an unexpected act of self-love.

Quitting: A Life Strategy humanely reminds us that, in order to live meaningful, satisfying lives, sometimes we have to say “no”—full stop. With Keller’s guidance, readers will learn the art of the quasi quit, see how quitting makes space for key breakthroughs, navigate the relationship between quitting and our public lives, manage quitter's guilt, and more.

As she weaves reportage from the front lines of scientific research, incisive pop culture commentary, and conversations with people who have made profound change in their own lives, Keller gives readers the rationale and confidence they need to pull the plug. Ultimately, quitting becomes a chance to shape our lives without fear—at work, at home, in our relationships, and beyond. 


  • "A compelling mix of science, social critique, and pragmatism, Quitting: A Life Strategy upends the dominant narratives about giving up. Sometimes stepping back really is the right way to move forward in life." 
    Cal Newport, New York Times bestselling author of Digital Minimalism and A World Without Email
  • “The world needs more quitters. In her fabulous new book, Julia Keller lays out the compelling case for quitting—explaining why we should quit sooner and more often, and also how to quit. Quitting is as entertaining as it is important.”
    Steven Levitt, New York Times bestselling author of Freakonomics
  • "Julia Keller has flipped the script on one of the most maligned human acts: quitting. Before you decide to stick with it, gut it out, or see it through, consider the stories and evidence in Quitting: A Life Strategy and give yourself permission to walk away."
    Bruce Feiler, New York Times bestselling author of Life Is in the Transitions
  • "Julia Keller's Quitting offers a timely corrective in a world that's forever telling us to do (and endure) more. This book is a celebration of people learning their limits, standing by their boundaries, and forging new paths when old, back-breaking ways of being have failed them."
    Dr. Devon Price, author of Laziness Does Not Exist
  • "If you’re thinking about quitting a job or leaving a marriage, don’t—at least not until you have read Quitting: A Life Strategy. It’s a thoughtful book that challenges conventional wisdom about giving up. In fun, readable prose, Julia Keller blends scientific research with stories of real-life decisions to show how quitting can actually be a powerful way to take control of your life."
    Joseph T. Hallinan, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author of Why We Make Mistakes
  • "Julia Keller weaves science, pop culture, and scholarship into a forceful and often funny book that finally settles the argument: Winners DO quit. Keller's book proves that whether you're an impetuous Jerry Maguire type or react with the speed of a slime mold, quitting will be the launchpad into the liberating realm of 'what's next.'"
    Amy Dickinson, nationally syndicated advice columnist ("Ask Amy") and New York Times bestselling author
  • "In her beguiling mix of uncanny insight, scientific evidence and human stories, Julia Keller debunks America’s deeply ingrained faith in perseverance—in a book that's just unquittable."
    Elizabeth Taylor, co-author of American Pharoah: Richard J. Daley - His Battle for Chicago and the Nation
  • "Hillary Huber's straightforward, clear narration is a natural fit for this manifesto on reassessing one’s values and goals. Covering futile pursuits, quasi-quitting, and embarking on multiple careers, Keller shows that quitting can, in reality, provide an opportunity to refine and achieve our own vision of personal success." (Audio edition)
    AudioFile Magazine

On Sale
Apr 18, 2023
Hachette Audio

Julia Keller

About the Author

Julia Keller, PhD, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, novelist, and teacher. She has a Ph.D. in English Literature from the Ohio State University, and has taught at Princeton University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Notre Dame. She was the chief book critic and a staff writer at The Chicago Tribune for many years, before quitting the world of daily journalism to write books. She was born and raised in West Virginia, and currently resides in Ohio.

Learn more about this author