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Wait: The useful art of procrastination [Paperback]

Frank Partnoy
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 Jun 2012

Warren Buffett compares stock trading to great athletes: they excel, not because of fast neurological responses, but because of their ability to delay as long as possible before reacting. Successful CEOs, fire fighters, and military officers all know how to manage delay to gather as much information as possible to get the results they need.

In Wait, Frank Partnoy argues that decisions of all kinds, whether 'snap' or long-term, benefit from being made at the last possible moment. The art of knowing how long you can afford to delay before committing is at the heart of many a great decision, whether in a corporate takeover or a marriage proposal. Apologies are better received if they are not rushed; audiences listen more attentively if speakers pause first, people who can defer gratification are happier and more successful than those who must have everything now. Exploring decisions that must be made in a millisecond to those that take months and years, Partnoy demonstrates that the ability to wait is crucial to getting the right answer and that gut instincts are often wrong.

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Wait: The useful art of procrastination + Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking + Thinking, Fast and Slow
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (28 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184668594X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846685941
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 345,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


''Wait' is a great read, chock full of fascinating insights' -- Daniel H. Pink, author of 'Drive and 'A Whole New Mind'

'An interesting and informative book' --Press Association

Book Description

Don't blink, it's better to delay. Take your time, perhaps even procrastinate. In short, wait.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting -- doesn't quite make its case 22 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wait is a book about the times when delay is good. It looks at super-fast sports, super-fast trades, and other situations where speed would seem to be essential, and uncovers the way in which fractional delay enables better decision making. It also looks at much slower activities, such as long term investing, and demonstrates that our tendency to act too quickly, too often is counter-productive.

This is all fascinating, and builds on Daniel Kahneman's work in Thinking, Fast and Slow, which is now being referenced by so many of these kind of books that anyone considering this should read that first.

The problem is that while Frank Partnoy is very good in demonstrating _that_ waiting can be beneficial, he doesn't make a compelling general case for _why_ it is beneficial, which means that we don't get a general insight into _when_ it is beneficial. To clarify: it is obvious that in super-fast sports there is a momentary pause before you react to something. Partnoy hails fencing as the fastest of all sports, which pleases me, as a fencer. I can confirm that he is right -- reacting too early is always a mistake. You have to watch the blade onto the blade, just as in cricket (which he also explores) you have to hit the ball when it's under your nose.

Likewise, in super-fast trades, which is something which he's written on earlier with great success, it turns out that leaving a pause in the algorithm gives a better result, though it's not entirely clear why.

What is missing is a logical analysis or definition which shows how to optimise that pause.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting topic but a lack of critical thinking 6 April 2014
By Matthew Leitch VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
First, I should admit that I haven't read the whole book and I won't read it all. I'm too disappointed to carry on, and not getting much out of the book.

The problem that keeps repeating so far is that the author doesn't acknowledge and deal with obvious alternative explanations of the research findings he uses.

In the first chapter we learn that having a heart rate that goes up and down quickly in response to events is associated with being a well adjusted person and successful later in life. So, the argument goes, having a responsive link between thinking and heart rate is a good thing. You've got a 'responsive' heart.

But wait, suppose the real source of the difference is that some people react mentally more quickly and to a greater extent to information and that is why their heart rate varies more. Wouldn't that also explain the link to a more successful and happy life? A person who understands quickly and clearly what is going on and its significance is more responsive and more successful.

This alternative explanation gets no mention in the book. To me that's a bad mistake.

Incidentally, there's also some confusion in the book between the milliseconds of variation in heart beat interval and the time needed for new information to cause a change in heart rate. The author seems at times to be seeing them as one and the same. Obviously they are not and the difference is central to his argument.

I won't go on about other, similar faults but I hope you get the idea and understand why I'm giving up on this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written 26 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book about psychology, physiology, and cognitive function is written fantastically by a writer not in the area. I'm a PhD student who uses some of the techniques described and Frank Partnoy manages to convey them with ease. After reading the book I look at decision making from a different view point!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific guide on the virtue of patience 28 Sep 2012
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
In this thought-provoking study of decision making, professor Frank Partnoy argues that people make the best personal and professional choices when they take their time. Too often, human beings act quickly when it isn't necessary. Partnoy helps you understand the mechanics of your thinking so that you can arrive at informed, unhurried decisions. For those who would relish a more leisurely pace, getAbstract recommends this cogent argument that time is on your side.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed 8 Aug 2012
By Jamie
I fear this is one of the poorest books I have read. The subject is interesting - the potential benefits of delay to decision making. But the argument is weak. And it is supported by frequent references to what can only be called bogus statistics. The one (of many) which sticks in the mind is the study which showed that showing employees a millisecond exposure to the apple logo increased 'creativity' by 20% that day. Like many of the studies quoted this is close to meaningless. I was disappointed - and would recommend against buying this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast and furious.... no Wait! 13 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is not actually about procrastination. It is about waiting for the right time. That wait can be measured in fractions of a second, to many minutes, to days or years. What Partnoy has put his finger on is the abilities developed by people in specialist areas of activity that enable them to excel with the least amount of effort. Instead of slogging away, these people just learn to temper their responses - causing a delay long enough for them to collect that essential extra bit of information so that when they react - BAM! - they win. Well spotted, that guy!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Birthday present
Bought this as a Birthday present for my Brother in law so haven't actually read it myself. He tells me it's interesting and I like the idea of it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bamfycakes
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read
Wait is a phrase that you will often hear a parent use when dealing with a small child. I know I have used is often enough myself. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Half Man, Half Book
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and helpful.
"It took me some time to start reading this book: I am, after all, a true procrastinator. Once started my reading progressed in fits and starts as I found the content varied in... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mike Eccles
5.0 out of 5 stars u u u u u u u u u u u u u u,uuu u u7. u. uuuuu u,u,uu u u
Published 16 months ago by ajbabbedge
4.0 out of 5 stars Hold On
Frank Partnoy helps us feel better about taking longer to do things. He offers a counterpoint to those time management books about how to do things faster. Read more
Published 18 months ago by John M. Ford
5.0 out of 5 stars Good condition
This item came fast and was in great condition. I've only skim read but bought on recommendation - and it looks like it won't dissapoint.
Published 23 months ago by JJ
1.0 out of 5 stars This book should never have been published!
This is the worst book I have read for a long time. The topic is interesting but Partnoy strays off the topic and seems to have close to nothing to say. Read more
Published on 12 Aug 2012 by Flemming Nielsen
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