Why Does the Other Line Always Move Faster?

The Myths and Misery, Secrets and Psychology of Waiting in Line

By David Andrews

How we wait, why we wait, what we wait for—waiting in line is a daily indignity that we all experience, usually with a little anxiety thrown in (why is it that the other line always moves faster?!?). This smart, quirky, wide-ranging book (the perfect conversation starter) considers the surprising science and psychology—and the sheer misery—of the well-ordered line. On the way, it takes us from boot camp (where the first lesson is to teach recruits how to stand rigidly in line) to the underground bunker beneath Disneyland’s Cinderella Castle (home of the world’s most advanced, state-of-the-art queue management technologies); from the 2011 riots in London (where rioters were observed patiently taking their turns when looting shops), to the National Voluntary Wait-in-Line days in the People’s Republic of China (to help train their non-queuing populace to wait in line like Westerners in advance of  the 2008 Olympics).

Citing sources ranging from Harvard Business School professors to Seinfeld, the book comes back to one underlying truth: it’s not about the time you spend waiting, but how the circumstances of the wait affect your perception of time. In other words, the other line always moves faster because you’re not in it.
 

Read more

Meet the Author
David Andrews headshot

David Andrews

More about the author
Review quotes
“Line-waiters: do you know the difference between 'slips' and 'skips,' between 'balking' and 'reneging'? David Andrews has written the book you need before your next trip to the DMV. This is the Tao of traffic jams, the Bible of breadlines, the Qur'an of queuing.”
--Ken Jennings, author of Maphead and Brainiac

"Fun and fascinating . . . provides a wealth of factoids to improve your cocktail-party conversation."
--Success magazine

“A pretty delicious work of trail-mix pop social science . . . formatted to fit in a line-waiter’s jacket pocket.” 
--New York

“To queue or not to queue? And why is the queue you're not standing in always the best? David Andrews went in search of answers and unearthed a world of science, history and cultural norms about the often stressful, sometimes nonexistent and usually time-consuming act of waiting in line."
--Leanne Italie, Associated Press

“First-time author David Andrews offers up a Malcolm Gladwell-esque pastiche of social science research, history, and personal observations in “Why Does the Other Line Always Move Faster?: The Myths and Misery, Secrets and Psychology of Waiting in Line” (Workman)… Conveniently enough, Andrew’s book is small enough to throw in your bag and take out next time you’re standing in line.”
– BOSTON GLOBE
 
Product Details
Categories
Number of pages
208
Publication date
November 17, 2015
ISBN
9780761181224