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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting -- doesn't quite make its case
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...
Published 18 months ago by Martin Turner

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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
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...
Published 8 months ago by Matthew Leitch


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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
By 
Martin Turner "Martin Turner" (Marlcliff, Warwickshire, England) - See all my reviews
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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. To return to fencing, you have to wait long enough to see what your opponent is doing, but if you wait too long he will hit you anyway. At that point waiting has become counter-productive. From my own coaching experience most fencers will tend to go too fast, simply because the people whose tendency is to go too slow are weeded out in the first week or so and abandon the sport.

I enjoyed reading this book, and learned a great deal from it. However, I felt it didn't live up to its promise of teaching the useful art of procrastination.
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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 (Epsom, Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wait: The useful art of procrastination (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
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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 "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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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
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
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Birthday present, 29 April 2014
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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. Book was in good condition and printed well so no complaints about the product or the service.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read, 26 April 2014
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.

In these days of faster communications, instant messages, 24 hour email and the pressure to make instantaneous choices, Partnoy wants us to think slower, to take time to consider those choices and to make the correct decision at the right time.

He describes sports men who have the ability to stretch time and make a better choice of shot, of city traders who have chanced on the optimum time for trades and the art of subliminal advertising. He looks at decisions that have been made wrong in football, the correct length of time to wait until you apologise and the art of procrastination.

This book ties in with other books that I have read and like, such as Thinking Fast and Slow, and The Decisive Moment. He is a great advocate of taking time to make the right decision, and having made that decision sticking with it, and not changing your mind,something that Warren Buffett has proven over years. He also looks how taking a little more time, in conduction with checklists, has meant that surgery has become less risky for patients and how people doing the same tasks feel more pressure when the hourly rate is higher.

If you feel that time today is too precious to waste, then I would recommend reading this. Take note of the suggestions and just wait a little.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and helpful., 2 May 2013
"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 its ability to keep me engaged. Parts were fascinating helping me to gain insight into different timescales of decision making, from fast sports to the future of civilisation in the context of global warming. Parts were rather dry reflecting details of (relevant) research. I reached the end a couple of days ago and consciously decided to take a little time to reflect before I wrote this review. I realised that I was following something of what I had learned by delaying... It's not always a bad thing to defer a decision or action!

I conclude that I have learned and enjoyed in this reading experience, and I encourage others to open the book and undertake the same (quite easy and mostly engaging) insightful journey. My approach and reaction to decision making has consciously changed as a consequence of reading "Wait", and they have changed for the better."
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hold On, 12 Feb 2013
By 
John M. Ford "johnDC" (near DC, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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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. His book explores the advantages of delay for decision making and performance. We should slow down and listen.

The book examines professional athletes in "superfast" sports like tennis. A common misconception is that they simply move faster than we do. Their real secret is more flexible time management. "[W]hat distinguishes top tennis returners and baseball batters is not their ability to react quickly to visual stimulus, but rather their ability to create extra time, and then get the most out of it, before they have to react."

"The superfast athlete's approach of first observing, second processing, and third acting--at the last possible moment--also works well for our personal and business decisions. The best time managers are comfortable pausing for as long as necessary before they act, even in the face of the most pressing decisions." Partnoy describes the role that strategic delay plays in several professions. Chess masters, comedians, venture capitalists, and military strategists also use strategic pauses. Delay plays an important role in everyday actions as well. Apology and creativity also benefit from smart timing.

Research addresses the role of delay in our thinking. "Psychologists have suggested we have two systems of thinking, one intuitive and one analytical, both of which can lead us to make serious cognitive mistakes." The intuitive system is wired to act immediately, but may not move us in the right direction. Delay can save us from this type of error. "Once we have at least half a second, we can engage in effortful, conscious thought, either to reinforce the automatic reactions of system 1 or to try to slow down or change them."

Partnoy makes more general observations about how we use time. "Much human behavior is based on `clock time,' which divides our day into quantifiable units, measured by an objective clock. In clock time, those units dictate when tasks begin and end. Some of clock time is based on nature, but much of it is fabricated. Clock time isn't the only way to organize behavior. A second approach is `event time.' In event time, we continue doing something until we finish or some event occurs." Rather than being driven along by the clock or by events around us, we should make conscious choices about the best way to manage time. "Minimizing delay and optimizing delay are two very different things."

I enjoyed this book, though some time passed between when I bought it and when I got around to reading it. I recommend that you find the right time to read it, too.
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