Customer Review

131 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wait! before you make your next decision, you must..., June 28, 2012
This review is from: Wait: The Art and Science of Delay (Hardcover)
I believe I can be most helpful with this review by summarizing the author's argument. His basic argument is that we think and act too quickly -- in business, in our human interactions, and in major and minor life decisions. In general, we should wait as long as possible before making a decision. The author suggests that if we have 10 seconds, we wait until the last second. If we have an hour, we wait until the 59th minute. If we have a year, we ought to wait 364 days. If we have only a second, we ought to act or make our decision in the last few milliseconds.

Why? Because that's what the top experts do in every field. It may seem that they all make split-second decisions -- but even then, they are stretching the available fractions of a second as far as possible, to give the most time for both their rational and intuitive minds to do their best work.

This book is an attempt to weave together the sprawling strands of decision research. He begins by looking at the work of Porges, a psychologist who has focused his work on the relationship between brain and heart, with the vagus nerve as the lightning-fast conduit of communication. Porges' findings? That heart rate variability in response to stimulus is the determining factor in health and success. That means the person is highly conscious of their surroundings. And it gives them more freedom, and time, in response.

Looking at professional sports, the best athletes are the ones who are able to size up all important factors in a situation within a certain time frame, and then react physically. In tennis, considered a "superfast" sport, this happens within a second. A tennis player relies on what's called "ball identification." When the ball is identified (taking a fraction of a second), the player only has the remaining fraction of a second to react. But that response has been practiced over and over, so that part is simple. The key is the ability to size up the situation, or "ball identification."

So, what's the takeaway in this book? We need to take advantage of whatever time is available to us. In the West, clock time (the arbitrary division of time into seconds, minutes, and hours) predominates. But it may be helpful, for example, to switch to event (the time it actually takes to finish a task) whenever you care about doing a good job. Skillful procrastination is another habit we might learn.

When we're interacting with others, instead of reacting immediately to what they say -- whether a positive or negative response -- we might stretch out the time we have before responding. Far too many helpful insights and thoughts are lost to hasty negative responses. This is especially true in business situations. To that end, business readers may be interested in The Practice of Creativity: A Manual for Dynamic Group Problem-Solving.

Ultimately, we must learn to maximize the time we have available to make our decision of how we respond to our environment. This is an art in itself. I hope this review was helpful.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 11, 2012 7:18:03 AM PDT
MatthewJP says:
Good review.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2014 4:36:36 AM PST
A. Vasudevan says:
Well summarized, How about STEPS to achieve this process of WAIT ?
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