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Wait: The Art and Science of Delayby Frank Partnoy
Synopses & Reviews
What do these scenarios have in common: a professional tennis player returning a serve, a woman evaluating a first date across the table, a naval officer assessing a threat to his ship, and a comedian about to reveal a punch line?
In this counterintuitive and insightful work, author Frank Partnoy weaves together findings from hundreds of scientific studies and interviews with wide-ranging experts to craft a picture of effective decision-making that runs counter to our brutally fast-paced world. Even as technology exerts new pressures to speed up our lives, it turns out that the choices we make––unconsciously and consciously, in time frames varying from milliseconds to years––benefit profoundly from delay. As this winning and provocative book reveals, taking control of time and slowing down our responses yields better results in almost every arena of life … even when time seems to be of the essence.
The procrastinator in all of us will delight in Partnoy’s accounts of celebrity “delay specialists,” from Warren Buffett to Chris Evert to Steve Kroft, underscoring the myriad ways in which delaying our reactions to everyday choices––large and small––can improve the quality of our lives.
"Giving a thumbs-up to procrastination, financial expert Partnoy (Infectious Greed) notes that, while we 'are hard wired to react quickly,' everyday experiences can be altered and improved by delaying decisions. He backs this claim with solid research across a variety of fields, from behavioral economics and neuroscience to psychology, animal behavior, finance, and law. Pacing is a key element in everything from race-car driving to comedy: 'When a master comedian is on, he or she creates a new and warped world of time. The greatest comedians are masters of delay.' Even such quotidian questions as 'When is the ideal moment to apologize?' are ruled by subtleties of time. Athletes know the value of delaying, as do CEOs and military strategists. Irene LaCota, head of the It's Just Lunch dating network, refuses to include photos in profiles to keep her clients from making snap decisions. To illustrate the 'slow hunch,' a full chapter details the two 3M scientists who patiently waited and persisted for 12 years while management decided whether Post-it Notes would be a good product. Entertaining and provocative, Portnoy probes and illuminates the complexities of human decision making with surprising insights and recommendations. Agent: Theresa Park, Park Literary Group. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A renowned financial commentator and consultant explains the mysteries and transformative power of the well-time pause, and how delay can improve all kinds of decision-making
Warren Buffett compares stock trading to being at bat, except that you don’t have to swing until there’s a fat pitch. Great athletes agree, but with shorter time horizons. They excel, not because of fast neurological responses, but because of their ability to delay as long as possible before reacting, returning a serve or grabbing a rebound. Successful CEOs, fire fighters, and military officers all know how to manage delay.
In this provocative, entertaining book, Frank Partnoy provides a necessary rebuttal to the gurus of “go with your gut.” He shows that decisions of all kinds, whether “snap” or long-term strategic, 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. Exploring decisions from those made in half a second to those that take months and years, Partnoy demonstrates that procrastination is often virtuous, that the ability to wait is the path to happiness, and that our gut instincts often betray us. We do not always make smart choices in the blink of an eye, as this eye-opening book reveals.
About the Author
Frank Partnoy is the George E. Barrett Professor of Law and Finance and is the director of the Center on Corporate and Securities Law at the University of San Diego. He is one of the worlds leading experts on the complexities of modern finance and financial market regulation. He is the author of F.I.A.S.C.O.: Blood in the Water on Wall Street; Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets; and The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, The Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals.
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