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Frank Partnoy

The Useful Art of Procrastination

3.7 (40 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

Wait by Frank Partnoy is a fascinating exploration of how we can use delay to make better decisions. Partnoy argues that waiting can enhance our decision-making ability, and that waiting strategically can be a powerful tool for success in a fast-paced world.

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    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    In fast-paced sports such as tennis, timing is everything.

    During a gripping tennis match, have you ever stopped to contemplate the ridiculousness of watching two people hit a ball, back and forth? This simple act, nonetheless, is mesmerizing; and it has everything to do with the rhythm and timing of this popular game.

    Being a skilled tennis player isn’t just about good eyes and quick reactions. People tend to think that a tennis player’s talent is a product of his ability to rapidly ascertain the speed and trajectory of a ball. But the amount of time it takes for any person to visually register an action is more or less universal – around 200 milliseconds.

    Another misconception is that tennis talent is tied to reaction speed – that is, the faster you can react, the better you should play. This is only partially correct. The best tennis players in the world have the ability to wait that essential extra split-second before returning a volley.

    Once a player sees that his opponent is serving the ball, he has approximately 300 milliseconds to make a move. Most people move as quickly as they can, only to miss the ball altogether!

    Skilled players are different. They can and will wait up to 200 milliseconds, taking in as much visual information as possible, before hitting the ball.

    Many popular sports are in fact designed with this timing challenge in mind. If the space between a player and the net was greater, for example, a player would have more time to react. Conversely, if the distance was smaller, a player could only react in a knee-jerk fashion.

    Tennis is a great example of the human capacity for preconscious preparatory skills. A player has just enough time to pause, letting his unconscious mind formulate the best response but not enough time to consciously plan a move.

    This sort of reaction isn’t exclusive to tennis champions, either. Split-second timing plays an essential role in business and finance, too.

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    What is Wait about?

    Wait (2012) is the ultimate guide to balancing action with inaction and learning how to recognize the perfect moment when you need to make a move. These blinks explain how taking your time can have a profound influence on everything in your life, from playing tennis and buying stocks to even finding the love of your life.

    Wait Review

    Wait (2012) explores the art of delay, revealing how taking the time to make better decisions can lead to success in both business and personal life. Here's why this book is worth a read:

    • By uncovering the hidden power of delay, the book shows how we can make better choices by slowing down and carefully considering our options.
    • Through fascinating real-life examples and expert analysis, the book provides practical strategies for harnessing the benefits of delay in various aspects of life.
    • With its thought-provoking insights on procrastination, intuition, and decision-making, the book offers a fresh perspective on time and its impact on our success.

    Best quote from Wait

    During super-fast reactions, the best-performing experts instinctively know when to pause, if only for a split second.

    —Frank Partnoy
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    Who should read Wait?

    • People who feel stressed and want to slow down
    • Overworked executives and company managers
    • Singles still looking for a special someone

    About the Author

    Financial expert Frank Partnoy is a regular contributor to newspapers such as the Financial Times and The New York Times. He is the author of nonfiction books such as Infectious Greed, The Match King and F.I.A.S.C.O. Previously, Partnoy worked as a lawyer and an investment banker.

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    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

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    Wait FAQs 

    What is the main message of Wait?

    The main message of Wait is that pausing and taking the time to make decisions can lead to better outcomes.

    How long does it take to read Wait?

    The reading time for Wait varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is Wait a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Wait is worth reading because it provides insights on effective decision-making and its impact on our lives.

    Who is the author of Wait?

    The author of Wait is Frank Partnoy.

    What to read after Wait?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Wait, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard
    • Power Hour by Adrienne Herbert
    • Extreme Productivity by Robert C. Pozen
    • Making Habits, Breaking Habits by Jeremy Dean
    • Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend