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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Paperback – April 3, 2007
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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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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What’s better: long, thought out decisions or quick, snap judgments? We have always been told not to judge a book by its cover, but at times our unconscious conclusions are more accurate. Malcolm Gladwell carefully investigates the power (both good and bad) of quick thinking. This is an extremely interesting book that will challenge the way you think – and don’t think.
What can I say about Malcolm Gladwell that I haven’t said before? He takes the simplest topics, he digs down deep to find amazing complexity, simplifies the finding, all while entertaining us. From the moment I picked up this book, I didn’t want to put it down.
'Blink' is a book about snap judgments, first impressions, and thin-slicing experiences. It challenges the conventional wisdom of distrusting our first impressions, and brings up several examples where first impressions are actually the right ones. It shows real-world situations in which having all the information at one's fingertips was actually less useful than working from limited information.
From examples of military trials to art forgeries, from police procedures to music performance, Gladwell brings example after example about how our reaction in the first two seconds of encountering something new can tell us as much as our reaction after knowing everything there is to know...and sometimes more.
There are times in 'Blink' when the point is overstated and the generalization doesn't work - but Gladwell tells his stories so well that it doesn't matter. And what matters in 'Blink' isn't really the conclusions Gladwell makes...what matter is the stories of the people he talked to and the things they experienced. In Gladwell's hands these experiences feel real and tangible, and for the most part they work.
Exaggerated claims or not, the stories in 'Blink' made me think about experiences in my own life. Among other things, I remembered a time when I was a teenager, spending time on my uncle's farm, and I ran out of books to read. We went to the bookstore and I didn't see anything new from my favorite standbys - but there was this book I'd never seen before, by an author I'd never heard of. I had no idea what story was in store between its pages, but I loved the cover. LOVED it. I bought it and discovered a new favorite author, one who I still read today, after more than twenty years and through a dozen books.
We're told that judging a book by its cover is a bad idea. But if that's the case, would I ever have discovered one of my favorite writers? If that's the case, how are we meant to judge a book we've never read at all?
'Blink' reinforces for us something we already knew - sometimes it's OK to judge a book by its cover.