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).
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Did you know the concept of waiting in line didn't occur to Englishmen (and therefore Americans) until 1837? Apparently while heads were rolling in France, those classy citizens waited in queues for their bakery orders.
The first bit of this book focuses on different types of lines from the author's experiences: boot camp (which gave me bittersweet memories if ROTC), American lines, and Jordan lines in Amman. There wasn't too much of an emphasis on the 'why' aspect of our distaste of lines
As we got more into the history of things and away from personal anecdotes, references would have been great. But a simple Google search for most of the sources won't kill anyone who really really wants to be an expert on lines.
The author explains when lines started and the different types and evolutions of lines. This is awesome information! I didn't realize I was such a fan of lines until I read this book!
So when my coworkers asked me what I was reading today, I said "it's a book about waiting in line." Naturally they thought it sounded boring, but the glory of a talented author is that even this boring, menial subject that few care about was made interesting. I liked reading this. I recommend it for doctor and dentist offices, post offices, and DMVs. Any place with a waiting room, really.