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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Paperback – April 3, 2007
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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.
Bottom line: By the end of very story I already knew what he was going to say about snap judgment. I REALLY had to force myself to finish reading this book, not worth my time and most importantly, it didn’t add anything to my life.
Top international reviews
Anyhow, i am only 50 or so pages in and notwithstanding it somewhat defeats the argument, i will not rush to judgement and will read the rest of the book
Some very interesting examples to get you thinking about the 'blink' reaction from different areas of the authors life and experiences. It has certainly made me think and I've found myself trusting my first thoughts more often without having to re-think things which alter our perceptions through over thinking. I've found myself googling many of the experients and tests he mentions in order rewatch them as many examples featured in a leadership workshop I went to.
Definitely worth a read to expand the way we think.
While it is an interesting and entertaining book, by the end of it I could not help but think it would have been better if "Blink" would have been published as an essay/ article in a magazine. While I do not expect (and do not want to read) an in-depth review on the topic "Blink" is dealing with, a bit more depth would have done the book a great favour.
I will, however, read some of his other books ("The Tipping Point" and "Outliers") as well, as Malcolm Gladwell clearly is a good writer.
It gives so many examples that it’s impossible to not remember at least one.
The aim of this work is to analyze how we are able to take decisions on the spot ("in a blink") and how choices made in this way can prove more accurate than those taken after a lengthy process.
The book, however, falls short in what, according to its preface, are its stated objectives. It folds out as a lengthy list of anecdotes, with no structure to hold them together.
There is neither a clear description of how instantaneous decisions are taken (except a fuzzy reference to "thin slicing") nor an explanation of when "blink thinking" makes sense that goes beyond the obvious (contexts with high complexity and limited time for decisions).
Some of the stories and evidences quoted are actually interesting, but are not used to elaborate a robust argument and seem to have limited reference to the scope of the book.
So, in a nutshell, very disappointing.