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As an empirical psychologist by training, I get very annoyed at journalists who simplify things to the point that its no longer even remotely accurate Such is the case for Blink This is especially annoying to me, because the book describes my area of research specialization If you re interested in a fun read, Gladwell is certainly an engaging author If you re looking for something that accurately describes the research, I d recommend looking elsewhere For example, Scott Plous s the psychology of judgment and decision making which, despite the title, is not textbook like , or the Heath brothers Made to stick. I would put this book in the category of Freakonomics and The Tipping Point By the same author as the latter title, Malcolm Gladwell, the purpose of this book is to weigh the advantages as well as the disadvantages of the power of the mind s ability to unconsciously leap to conclusions based on what is seen in the proverbial blink of an eye While I have read some negative reviews of Gladwell s book, mostly citing that he fails to inform the reader how to know when to go with your gut and when not to, as well as arguments that he urges readers not to follow their gut when the gut instincts are politically incorrect, I have to disagree with many of them I think that Gladwell s objective in Blink is to make the reader simply aware of their gut instincts and to urge them to consider trusting it frequently than we do People tend to make decisions that are supported by a litany of rationalizations and explanations, but do we always really have reasons for why we do or think what we do Gladwell is arguing that we don t, and that sometimes it takes the unconscious mind to make those decisions for us On the flip side, he also argues that sometimes we unconsciously make negative decisions based on that same quick judgment and our predetermined stereotypes, such as with people of other sexes or other races than ourselves Blink was a very complicated book with many facets and it s hard to explain all of them or review them all without writing an essay In the end, I think the main goal isn t perfect knowledge of the subject of thinking without thinking, but rather consideration of it and how it can benefit us or hinder us both individually and as a society.
Blink is what all the stories, case studies, and arguments add up to an attempt to understand the magical and mysterious thing called Judgement Its basic premise is split second decisions snap judgements how they can be good and bad Gladwell suggests split seconds decisions are better than the decisions where we take considerable time to weigh our choices and options He points out that our mind figure things, people, et al in a blink of an eye And it is often that these snap judgements are much trustworthy than judgements arrived at rationally But he does not stop here and goes on further snap judgements can be misleading, too he termed it Warren Harding error He suggested that there are some instinctive processes that prevent us to see clearly and hence cloud our judgements Blink is an interesting read It is very well written, and at the same time engages your attention from the start And writing is reader friendly, perfectly suitable for a layman..I bought this book because I was intrigued by the subtitle of the book The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking This subtitle was something Zen like, I felt And when I read it initially, three years ago, I found it resembling with Zen teachings and koans Following are two quotes that mainly convey the spiritThey were so focused on the mechanics and the process that they never looked at the problem holistically In the act of tearing something apart, you lose its meaning When making a decision of minor importance its advantageous to consider all the pros and cons In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves In the important decisions of personal life , we should be governed by the deep inner needs of our nature I think this book wins my prize for Most Easily Misinterpreted to Serve Personal Agendas Gladwell gets so into the interesting details of the case he s building, he really doesn t emphasize the final conclusions of the book at all, leaving people to think that the interesting details are the whole point, which is unfortunate But then again, I m not 100% sure I got the whole point.Most of the folks I know think that this book is about how a person s gut instincts can be a better read of a situation than a read based on thorough study Which is an idea that most people love, since they don t want to have to do all that boring study anyhow What s missing from that analysis is that Gladwell later insists but only at the very end of the book, and almost in passing that it s the thorough active training and study of a subject that allow a person to have true or correct gut reads The guy who can tell who s getting divorced after 60 seconds of hearing them talk spent years coding verbal and physical cues in couples, studying them intensely for years before he was able to give his 60 second analysis The art historians were drawing on a vast body of knowledge when they made their judgment about the statue The cop who read fear instead of aggression and didn t shoot couldn t name what he was seeing, but he d seen it before Then he also says that our gut reactions can be easily colored by training we don t even know is there our prejudices, whether unknown or unacknowledged influence or reads of a situation as well.Ultimately, I saw this book as a reaction to and analysis of the Amadou Diallo killing in 1999, with some tips for how to avoid such future tragedies In that light, I thought it was interesting and even constructive, but only if you pay close attention to the last chapter. Much like the reason behind my majoring in Economics, I like Gladwell because he opens my mind to new ideas and new ways to think Much like Economics, I believe he s far from perfect, but I really enjoy viewing the world through his lens In just about anything, when people start acting as if there is only one way to do something, I stop listening to them This goes for many things, but especially politics If you DO, however, find someone who is omniscient and knows exactly how every policy will turn out in the end, please let me know I may listen to their one way of seeing the world Otherwise What I got from Blink is that there is a lot to our instant thoughts and feelings and many times much than we give them credit The traditional wisdom is to plan and make huge weighty decisions based on every single bit of information that we have at our fingertips which is just about everything, google This is actually a big reason my wife and I get into disagreements we ll go with that She likes to plan everything down to the last detail and I like to be a bit relaxed.So it would seem that this book is a big proponent of my way of doing things, but it turns out it s not so much.We should trust our gut instinct, says Blink, if we have many hours of experience in said realm of understanding because we have developed the skills to make sense of those small details and because we have the ability to thin slice Gladwell also makes the point that not always can we trust our gut intinct, however, because our gut instinct tends to be racist, even when we are not in fact consciously racist Also, our instincts can get overwhelmed by heightened arousal, such as when people can t even dial 911 in an emergency because their senses are overloaded.But then again, you can practice and have these types of unconscious reactions mitigated.The interesting story telling style of introducing these topics is, of course, what really gets me It s the stories that are often unbelievable that have me clamoring for , just like in Outliers although I think Outliers was a little better written and I would assume his other books He goes into why The Getty art museum spent millions on a fake kouros Greek statue and why cops probably aren t racial profiling when they beat people like Rodney King, but because of a few key mistakes such as allowing their unconscious to get overwhelmed and also because they were a group of officers instead of just one.He talks about people who can listen to a couple and tell when they should start talking to their lawyers and people who have developed the actual abilities that are shown in the TV show Lie to Me How looking at a person s room for 5 minutes may give a complete stranger a better picture of a person than a good friend I ve always loved these types of explanations for things There s the old wisdom we have and the wisdom we assume when we don t have any other way to describe a particular event and which is completely wrong I love thinking new ideas, even when it s old news and that s why I ll keep coming back to Gladwell. O, to have the writing career of Malcolm Gladwell The man pulls interesting case studies from academic research and news headlines, spins it into a book under a general theme, and blammo He has a bestseller This formula worked for him with The Tipping Point and then Blink. Blink is a compelling read, despite its weak overall theme, which is that sometimes split second decisions are good and sometimes they re bad, and we need to learn when to trust our first impressions and when to discount them except there s no real way to make that distinction The book is a pleasure to read simply because of its case studies Gladwell throws in so many topics art, politics, marriage, consumer testing, athletes, war, police shootings, music that there is bound to be something engaging for everyone After reading another one of Gladwell s peppy articles in The New Yorker, my husband joked, Gladwell thinks he can make ANYTHING seem interesting After finishing Blink, I feel like I ve learned something important, but I m not sure exactly what, other than that Gladwell has a very charmed career.My rating 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 I generally distrust anyone who says that they go with their gut But when the company I work for announced a major decision a few years back, I instantly said, This is going to be a huge mistake Smart people had examined the deal backwards and forwards for months and thought it was a great idea I had a bad feeling about it that I could only later explain, and I was far from the only one And we were right The entire thing turned out to be a huge disaster I kept thinking about that incident when I read Blink The book has a pretty obvious point People make snap decisions that they can t consciously explain Sometimes these decisions are correct and amazing based on the limited amount of information available Art experts who instantly know a statue is fake despite scientific tests indicating otherwise A fireman who appears to be fighting a routine small fire suddenly orders his men out without really knowing why and the floor collapses a second later And sometimes these decisions can be wrong and have tragic consequences Four cops think a guy has a gun when he s pulling his wallet out and shoot him multiple times.We ve all made quick decisions and later been amazed at how good or bad they turned out, but what makes Blink interesting is that Gladwell does some examination of the science behind how we arrive at these conclusions, and his thoughts on how the data we re processing can either give us incredible insight or lead us horribly wrong.Thankfully, Gladwell is not making an argument against logical thinking or analyzing a problem What he is doing is pointing out that instinct or intuition can be a powerful tool IF the people involved have trained themselves to make good decisions, and if we know when to trust it He s got a lot of great examples of doctors, military officers and police officers who often have to make life or death decisions in a matter of seconds with limited information They have to trust their instincts, and Gladwell makes some common sense points that the right kind of training and education can make a huge difference He contrasts the story of the four New York cops who killed the guy with a wallet versus a patrolman who did not fire on someone who actually had a gun but was attempting to surrender it.What made this book fun to read was the variety of examples that Gladwell uses and the scientific research done with them Art dealers, doctors, marriage counselors, cops, military officers, car salesmen, a tennis coach, and classical musicians are all used as examples of the strengths and weaknesses of snap decisions There s also some simple experiments included that let you play along at home This is a book that will make you think about the way you think. This was a big best seller for Gladwell He posits that much of the time we make decisions, reach conclusions in a sort of pre conscious manner that he calls thin slicing That means taking a very small sample, a thin slice, and making a decision immediately based on that information However, it is the case that the ability to evaluate that slice is fed by a lifetime of experience It is not simply, as some, including President Bush the second, might believe, that using one s gut, in the absence of years and years of preparation, is as valid a way of reaching decisions as taking the longer route of careful analysis of available data No, no, no. (FREE PDF) ë Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking õ Drawing On Cutting Edge Neuroscience And Psychology And Displaying All Of The Brilliance That Made The Tipping Point A Classic, Blink Changes The Way You Ll Understand Every Decision You Make Never Again Will You Think About Thinking The Same WayMalcolm 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 so i bought this book in boston s logan airport about 10 minutes before i had to board a flight to seattle the bookstore was limited i didn t want to have to work to get interested and the first 100 pages or so did the trick until i realized that gladwell wasn t so much building an argument as telling stories about a certain topic don t get me wrong, i finished the book later back in boston, on the T and it did cover some interesting studies, or i wouldn t have done so but i suspect the author might ve lacked the attention span necessary to lend this book any coherence meh it was basically a series of loosely related tidbits about snap judgments, none of which led me to conclude that instinct or intuition is significantly or less reliable than rational deliberation if a point could be gleaned and summarized, i guess it would be that with the right thin slice of information, under the right conditions, instantaneous judgements can be spot on shrug the best i can say about this book is that there were a couple of well set up digs at the bush administration and i discovered the music of kenna, who s pretty cool i also learned that when my girlfriend s eyes get even a little wider, it means she s angry.