Author: Malcolm Gladwell
blink is a very intriguing book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wasn’t exactly blown away by what it really leaves you with though in the sense of what you can learn from it. I guess my thoughts are because the whole book was so focused on such a narrow topic that while there is much to learn about that, it isn’t very broad at all. There are however, some important things to learn from the book and there is much to realize about the many excellent examples that Gladwell uses in his research and convincing arguments. To me, the way that some of the content was questioned and studied very much reminded me of Freakonomics, which I felt a bit similar about as far as what can be learned from it.
The whole idea behind blink is that there is power in the immediate response that occurs in that first blink of an experience. These quick, impulsive responses are both valuable and accurate, yet at the same time jaded and devastating. Also, every person seems to make decisions differently, where some seem able to make instant great decisions and others need time to process all the facts and information before wanting to make a decision. Gladwell gives examples of many decisions and the people making them. He introduces his idea of “thin slicing” which is essentially taking a very short slice of time and having a decision based on just a few pieces of important information filtered out of what seems to be an infinite set of variables.
A number of examples are explored that describe examples of thin slicing such as gambling, military decisions, singles speed dating, emergency officers, music, tastes, and even predicting divorce. Gladwell clever story telling easier keeps you interest throughout the book and he uses these to explore the many angles and possibilities of using that blink of a moment. Learning to use these moments is obviously a theme throughout the book and one of the main ideas is about finding and using ONLY the critical and important pieces of information, while being able to complete avoid or ignore the additional information that just confuses and complicates the decision. Using the right judgments that are simplified with minimal information generally improve decisions, the trick is separating the useful from the noise.
The book jumps into a few other seemingly unrelated areas. He covers some areas of leadership and micromanaging that are oddly out of place for the book and do nothing to help support the theory of blink.
I love exploring topics that really involve the subconscious mind, which is exactly where this blink moment comes from. You’re learn about research that shows just how much our subconscious mind affects your decisions, some of which shows up in prejudices, sexism, and even racism. These are difficult things to accept but much evidence shows how truly wired we are to being affected by those things. Knowing that requires new methods to eliminate it to ensure our decisions are unbiased.
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