Book Review : Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
By Malcolm Gladwell
In his landmark bestseller The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell redefined how we understand the world around us. Now, in Blink, he revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant–in the blink of an eye–that actually aren’t as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work-in the office, in the classroom, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others?
In Blink we meet the psychologist who has learned to predict whether a marriage will last, based on a few minutes of observing a couple; the tennis coach who knows when a player will double-fault before the racket even makes contact with the ball; the antiquities experts who recognize a fake at a glance. Here, too, are great failures of “blink”: the election of Warren Harding; “New Coke”; and the shooting of Amadou Diallo by police. Blink reveals that great decision makers aren’t those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of “thin-slicing”–filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables. (Summary courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
Blink is the first Gladwell book that I have read. I thoroughly enjoyed the book because it illustrates the theory of how “think-slicing”, or making decisions based on very limited information, can be extremely accurate and when this same model fails. Because Gladwell is a journalist he makes the subject matter approachable for the average reader. I have read that scientists become frustrated with his writing because they feel it doesn’t reflect the complete nature of the subject. (I don’t think I could plow through anything more detailed.)
The main reason I enjoyed Blink is because it opened up a dialogue. Sometimes the dialogue is with myself, and sometimes with my friends. I felt that I now had new information to ponder and consider how I might change how I want to see the world.
Even if you have never read anything like this it is worth giving a try for a couple of chapters to see if it offers a different perspective, possibly challenging your own beliefs.
I will definitely be reading more of Gladwell’s books.