Wait: The useful art of procrastination

3rd Jul 2012; 13:00

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RSA Keynote

The twenty-first century is hectic. We live our lives at break-neck speed. We make snap judgements and decisions, which often harm us more than they help.

Frank Partnoy, ex Wall Street high-flying derivative trader and self-confessed procrastinator, reveals the science behind our decision-making disasters and successes at work and at home, in matters of love, on the sports pitch, and in government. He argues that decisions of all kinds, whether ‘snap’ or long-term, 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. Apologies are better received if they are not rushed; audiences listen more attentively if speakers pause first; people who can defer gratification are happier and more successful than those who must have everything now. Exploring decisions that must be made in a millisecond and those that take months and years, Partnoy demonstrates that the ability to wait is crucial to getting the right answer and that gut instincts are often wrong.

Join Frank Partnoy at the RSA as he shows how training our brains to wait can be genuinely life-changing.

Speaker: Frank Partnoy, George E. Barrett professor of law and finance and director, the Centre on Corporate and Securities Law at the University of San Diego.

Chair: Dr Jonathan Rowson, the RSA Social Brain project.

Twitter logoSuggested hashtag for Twitter users: #RSAwait

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