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Book Review: The Quitter's Guide to Finishing

Betsy Schow wrote The Quitter’s Guide to Finishing as a follow-up to her book Finished Being Fat, the story of her personal weight loss journey that encouraged readers to persevere to reach their own goals. The Quitter’s Guide to Finishing offers many good tips (101, to be exact) to help readers stay on the path toward their goals.

Most of us can recall at least one time when we began something with a flurry of action and great enthusiasm. And some of us didn’t always see it through to the finish. Staying focused requires a combination of having a realistic goal, determination, support, time to devote to the goal, among other factors. Sometimes we reach our goals later than planned or with adjustments, but we get there and feel satisfied with our accomplishment.

But too often, it doesn’t end this way. We all know about the exercise equipment that ends up collecting dust in the basement, piano lessons that fizzle out and New Year’s resolutions that are forgotten in a month. The Quitter’s Guide to Finishing pushes readers to keep working to overcome the obstacles that often get in our way, whether they are external or internal.

And, yes, sometimes there are good reasons that keep us from our goals which simply cannot be overcome. The author is not talking about those.

The book is divided into seven chapters. Suggestions often start with a quotation from a recognizable authority or leader.

Here are a few examples:

“You can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The choice is yours.”

“That Finisher’s Feeling, which uses the good feelings we have we achievement as encouragement to pursue more goals.”

“Negative thoughts are like poison.”

“If it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it.”

Each thought or idea is followed by a story, experience or description to illustrate the point. Some may seem a little simplistic, but are relatable; readers can use them to think about their own experiences. And getting encouragement and learning perseverance don’t have to be complicated. Often we just need to be reminded, or to slow down and consider why something isn’t getting done.

The Quitter’s Guide to Finishing can be read in different ways to be effective. One could breeze through the whole book, possibly highlighting key messages or marking pages that especially resonate. Then, the reader could return to those places to think a little more deeply about how it applies to them. Another approach might be to read a few pages at a time and let the ideas sink in a bit before going on to the next passage. Readers can always return to the book when a little encouragement is needed.

I loved some of the ideas and found others trite or overly simplistic. To be fair, there will be other readers who may react very differently because of where they are in their lives or what their obstacles may be. That is one of the nice features of books like this one. There are so many suggestions and tips that we are likely to find some that give us what we need.

For those who were reading in the 90s, this book may remind them of Richard Carlson’s series of books that began with, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (and It’s All Small Stuff). These books used the same format of about 100 short ideas or suggestions. Books like this are easy to read and easily digestible.

What Schow adds to this successful formula is personalization, using her own thoughts or experiences to help make her points. Having a book that tries not to make things more complicated than they already are is a good thing.

The Quitter’s Guide to Finishing

Betsy Schow

The Countryman Press 2017

141 Pages, Hardcover


Book Review: The Quitter's Guide to Finishing

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Dave Schultz

APA Reference
Schultz, D. (2017). Book Review: The Quitter's Guide to Finishing. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 24 May 2017
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 24 May 2017
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