Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stubborn Persistence

I've been reading a book recently. I started it around New Year's Day.

The book and I have a strange relationship. I pick it up and read it for 30 minutes. Then I realize that I'm not learning much. I don't really enjoy it either. I put it down.

A week or two later, I notice it laying on my table. I feel bad that I haven't finished it. I pick it up again and read for about 30 minutes. Then I realize (again) that I'm not learning much, and I don't enjoy reading it. I put it down.

I picked it up again last night. You can guess what happened 30 minutes later.

In business school professors hammer the concept of "sunk costs" into students' brains.

Here's the idea: when making a decision, you must forget everything that you have invested up to this point in time. Forget the money, forget the time. None of that matters since those costs cannot be recovered. They're "sunk." Then, considering only future costs and benefits, you make the decision that will yield the best results.

I'm not getting enough out of the book. Every time I read it I realize it. I may want to finish it. I invested time into it. I'm nearly half-way through. I could just keep trudging ahead.

However, my investment is sunk.

It's time to move on to something more productive.