Your browser is out of date. Some of the content on this site will not work properly as a result.
Upgrade your browser for a faster, better, and safer web experience.

Best of Slow Journalism: On instant gratification

Where would be we without Delayed Gratification? Not in a very good place, thinks Paul Roberts.

His essay ‘Instant gratification‘, which is the cover story of this quarter’s The American Scholar, warns us of the ‘Impulse Society’, focused on immediate fulfilment of self-serving needs and not so much on the far future.

As we get used to getting personalised solutions to real and imagined discomforts, and getting them at ever-increasing speed, we move away from the long-term thinking which ensured survival in less affluent times. “It was only by enduring adversity, disappointment, and delayed gratification that humans gained strength, knowledge, and perspective that are essential to sustainable mastery,” Roberts writes.

This short-termist thinking, Roberts thinks, has crept into the way we handle business and allowed for “a credit binge that nearly sank the global economy.” It’s also affecting politics, making us less inclined to look for compromise.

If you’re looking for something to read over the weekend, we recommend you skip the listicles and sit down for this interesting think piece on how controlling our impulses could benefit us in the long haul.

The piece is available online here.


A slower, more reflective type of journalism”
Creative Review

Jam-packed with information... a counterpoint to the speedy news feeds we've grown accustomed to”
Creative Review

A leisurely (and contrary) look backwards over the previous three months”
The Telegraph

Quality, intelligence and inspiration: the trilogy that drives the makers of Delayed Gratification”
El Mundo

Refreshing... parries the rush of 24-hour news with 'slow journalism'”
The Telegraph

A very cool magazine... It's like if Greenland Sharks made a newspaper”
Qi podcast

The UK's second-best magazine” Ian Hislop
Editor, Private Eye
Private Eye Magazine

Perhaps we could all get used to this Delayed idea...”
BBC Radio 4 - Today Programme