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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Paperback – April 3, 2007
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Blink is about the first two seconds of looking--the decisive glance that knows in an instant. Gladwell, the best-selling author of The Tipping Point, campaigns for snap judgments and mind reading with a gift for translating research into splendid storytelling. Building his case with scenes from a marriage, heart attack triage, speed dating, choking on the golf course, selling cars, and military maneuvers, he persuades readers to think small and focus on the meaning of "thin slices" of behavior. The key is to rely on our "adaptive unconscious"--a 24/7 mental valet--that provides us with instant and sophisticated information to warn of danger, read a stranger, or react to a new idea.
Gladwell includes caveats about leaping to conclusions: marketers can manipulate our first impressions, high arousal moments make us "mind blind," focusing on the wrong cue leaves us vulnerable to "the Warren Harding Effect" (i.e., voting for a handsome but hapless president). In a provocative chapter that exposes the "dark side of blink," he illuminates the failure of rapid cognition in the tragic stakeout and murder of Amadou Diallo in the Bronx. He underlines studies about autism, facial reading and cardio uptick to urge training that enhances high-stakes decision-making. In this brilliant, cage-rattling book, one can only wish for a thicker slice of Gladwell's ideas about what Blink Camp might look like. --Barbara Mackoff --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Best-selling author Gladwell (The Tipping Point) has a dazzling ability to find commonality in disparate fields of study. As he displays again in this entertaining and illuminating look at how we make snap judgments—about people's intentions, the authenticity of a work of art, even military strategy—he can parse for general readers the intricacies of fascinating but little-known fields like professional food tasting (why does Coke taste different from Pepsi?). Gladwell's conclusion, after studying how people make instant decisions in a wide range of fields from psychology to police work, is that we can make better instant judgments by training our mind and senses to focus on the most relevant facts—and that less input (as long as it's the right input) is better than more. Perhaps the most stunning example he gives of this counterintuitive truth is the most expensive war game ever conducted by the Pentagon, in which a wily marine officer, playing "a rogue military commander" in the Persian Gulf and unencumbered by hierarchy, bureaucracy and too much technology, humiliated American forces whose chiefs were bogged down in matrixes, systems for decision making and information overload. But if one sets aside Gladwell's dazzle, some questions and apparent inconsistencies emerge. If doctors are given an algorithm, or formula, in which only four facts are needed to determine if a patient is having a heart attack, is that really educating the doctor's decision-making ability—or is it taking the decision out of the doctor's hands altogether and handing it over to the algorithm? Still, each case study is satisfying, and Gladwell imparts his own evident pleasure in delving into a wide range of fields and seeking an underlying truth.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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The Power of Adaptive Unconscious of Human Mind.
Author states that human mind works through two strategies, the conscious strategy and through adaptive unconscious. First strategy is when use data, information and analysis to draw a conclusion and make decision, whereas second is when we make decisions on basis of that "gut feeling". This is when we act instantly on a thought which flashes in our mind and forces us to make a decision. The question now is: Is the accuracy or quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort spent into making it? Per Gladwell, "Decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately."
Author has used technique of "thin slicing" i.e. power of our unconscious (the internal computer) to create a subjective impression using very little information., to explain this kind of decision-making. He has also cited some erroneous decisions (Warren Harding Error & an encounter in Bronx) and some great decisions from medical and military, (Cook County Hospital in Chicago & Van Riper, respectively).
In my opinion, our brain certainly has that great power of making a split-second decision, but it is upto us, how we develop and tap that unusual potential. We can use these techniques like mid reading, facial expression recognition etc but it certainly requires practice and a certain level of expertise to utilize them for our benefit. I would recommend reading this book with an unbiased mind and think, don't just blink.
--- Another book I highly recommend if you like this one, is "Stumbling on Happiness" by Daniel Gilbert!
Bravo Malcome Gladwell, for taking something we all intuitively Know to the realm of our conscious knowledge so we can use it intentionally.
Of course, many times we don’t have a choice. We must make quick decisions without complete information, and under extreme stress. Gladwell gives numerous examples of how snap decisions can often be the best decisions we can make. He also gives a wealth of examples on how they can lead to our doom.
But equally, gathering too much information can foul up decision making. Gladwell gives examples of such occurrences, and also positive examples of fully informed decisions.
So, Gladwell walks the tight rope in Blink. He wants to prove a point: that very often, our first impressions about people, events, ideas, are the correct one. Gathering more information only fouls up that initial, correct assessment. Yet this can go wrong as well, and he gives a wealth examples of how we carry our prejudices with us during our quick, uninformed decisions.
This will leave a casual reader a bit confused about Gladwell’s point, because his point his subtle. Sometimes deliberation is in order; sometimes we must make decisions in the blink of any eye. A great deal depends upon context.