Wait: The Art and Science of Delayby Frank Partnoy
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
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 decisionwhether 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.
A Fast Company Best Business Book of 2012
Roger Lowenstein, author of The End of Wall Street and When Genius Failed
“Having mined the best of American research in fields as wide-ranging as finance, behavioral economics, and law, Frank Partnoy has written a beguilingly readable treatise that boils down to a single, easily digestible conclusion: in our busy modern lives, most of us react too quickly. Wait will naturally and rightly be compared to Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow as a trail-blazing book exploring the hidden crannies and the treacherous pitfalls of human decision-making. I whole-heartedly recommend it."
Bethany McLean, co-author of The Smartest Guys in the Room and All the Devils Are Here
“Wait is one of those rare books that will change not just the way you think, but the way you act. The book is full of ideas that are fascinating, usefuland at times mind-blowing. I was captivated.”
Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind“Frank Partnoy turns conventional wisdom on its head with this counterintuitive approach to decision-making. Rather than telling us how to make decisions faster and faster, he mines and refines a rich lode of information from experts in a surprising variety of fields to demonstrate the power of delay, whether measured in milliseconds, days, or decades. Wait is a great read, chock full of fascinating insights.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“A fascinating addition to the study of decision-making . While there is a high premium today for speed, the author suggests that there are serious downsides to rapid decision-making. Partnoy’s results are groundbreaking and a potential corrective to modern pressures for rapid response, whether on the playing field, in high-speed computer trading and corporate boardrooms, or on the battlefield . File alongside Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Ariely, [and] Jonah Lehrer.”
Strategy + Business“Gladwell-esque the book uses case studies of ‘delay specialists’ in realms as varied as stand-up comedy and warfare, extending the implications of postponing responses in order to improve outcomes in every part of our business and personal lives. Procrastinators everywhere will rejoice.” Washington Post Express"Citing fascinating studies in tennis serves and first dates, [Partnoy] deftly makes a case for exercising something we could all use more of: patience. Plus, you gotta love a guy who dedicates his book to his golden retriever.”
Jack Covert, 800-CEO-READS
“Well-written . Chapter Three is particularly fascinating in its implications for how we make decisions and manage the world.”
Margaret Heffernan, CBS Money Watch
“Marvelous Wait is an impassioned and thought-provoking book."
Christopher Chabris, Wall Street Journal
“Mr. Partnoy's intention in Wait is to take on those who evangelize the power of thinking quickly, ‘getting things done’ and leading an organized life. We can praise efficiency but fail to take note of what is sacrificed in its name. Wait offers a valuable counterweight to this attitude, reminding us that quality should matter as much as speed."
“A popular new book . Mr Partnoy argues that too many people fail to recognize what good public speakers and comedians all understand: that success depends on knowing when to delay, and for how long.”
Financial Times“A superior example of the genre. It is a departure from his earlier books about financial crises, but written with the same easy elegance. ... Partnoy makes mincemeat of the idea of ‘thin slicing’ the art of making snap decisions based on very little information that was made so popular by Malcolm Gladwell in Blink. ... As a collection of fascinating case studies, Wait is a gem." Winnipeg Free Press“[Partnoy’s] latest offering is a skeptical response to Malcolm Gladwell's 2005 bestseller, Blink... Partnoy spends a lot of time synthesizing recent scholarship, providing clear and accessible accounts of work in an impressive range of academic fields. While the breadth and the depth of his research gives the book's rather straightforward message its complexity and rhetorical power, the book's charm comes from Partnoy's ability to juggle such seemingly disparate topics as, on the one hand, an engaging discussion of recent science on animals and their conceptualization of future time and, on the other hand, an unabashedly doting analysis of the comic timing of Jon Stewart.”
“Partnoy draws on the latest research in neuroscience and behavioral economics to provide a delightful, insightful and often surprising ‘Wait, wait, do tell me’ account of decision-making in many areas of everyday life, ranging from sports to surgery to speed-dating and stock-picking . Wait is chock-full of arresting insights about the complexities of decision-making"
"A lively, reader-friendly survey of scientific research into the pros and cons of rapid decision-making."
“An intellectual romp through the science of how timing influences human decision-making.”
“Fascinating, engaging . This isn’t a book of platitudes, but one built on one simple imperative. Partnoy just wants us to think before we act or speak. Wait serves as excellent reminder that, when humanly possible, it’s best not to hurry.”
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Meet 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 world’s 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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