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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Paperback – April 3, 2007
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About the Author
Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1996. He is the host of the podcast Revisionist History and the author of The Tipping Point, Outliers, and What the Dog Saw. Prior to joining The New Yorker, he was a reporter at the Washington Post. Gladwell was born in England and grew up in rural Ontario. He now lives in New York.
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Gladwell had made a chunk of change telling us we can "blink" and know the truest of truths... that our guts are inherently correct (well, except the many times he points out how incorrect they are, due to racism (except when he back pedals and says maybe the people in that example aren't racist, actually), sexism (except when he says it's possible sexism was not, in fact, a factor in such and such examples), and other biases (which the book both promises to teach us to control and says we have *no ability* to control), and that by "thin-slicing" (making use of the "adaptive unconscious" of our mind, which, incidentally, he says repeatedly can never be unlocked) we can be better people, fight wars "better", and solve the problems of the world.
It's a book for the casual reader, so the stories he uses to back up his arguments are often terribly irresponsible anecdotes. The studies he references are rarely detailed sufficiently so that the reader could know whether they'd had any controls, had been repeated and peer reviewed, etc. They're riddled with opinion and assumptions about results, and we're left to assume the lens from which he makes these statements is pure and holy.
The best take away from this self help quickie is that some people will, as a result of spending a dozen or so hours reading it and thinking about their minds and how they work, will be, going forward, more introspective, which is not a bad thing. The worst take away is that some (and I fear most) people will glean only the basest concept from his promises: that their guts are always right, leaving them less introspective and more irrationally bold and self-satisfied.
I'm a bottom-line kind of person and I don't read for fun; I read to gain applicable knowledge. Gladwell proved his concept in the first 30-50 pages and that was good enough for me. He then proceeded to continue proving the concept for another 200 pages. I hardly learned how to actually apply the concepts of rapid-cognition from this book and I'm annoyed at how much of my time was wasted. I wish he proved the concept in 30-50 pages and followed it up with actual ways to take advantage of that concept.
This book verified something that I believed to be true (rapid-cognition) without providing ways to practically exploit the theory. I'm not buying anything else of Gladwell's, but I would recommend looking up the sparknotes/summary of this book.
This book covers that state of mind in a fun and thorough fashion with examples of how we can act under various scenarios and also be satisfied with what we did when we look back on an event.
However, the trick to be able to operate that way comes from much deeper - you have to have the right personality - or develop one - that is calm, self-reliant and self-trusting. Being the type that is 'sorry' for this and that, or complaining about anything at all, is not one that can generate good 'blink speed' decisions.