Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell - Review
“There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.”
Blink The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, is non-fiction pop-psychology book by New Yorker writer, Malcolm Gladwell, that explores the concept of thin-slicing – the ability of our ‘adaptive unconscious’ psyche to gain meaningful insights from short exposure to external stimulus.
As many of us would be aware, snap judgements can be both good and bad and we also have many bias’ we hold subconsciously as a result of our experiences that can impede our ability to effectively thin-slice.
“If we are to learn to improve the quality of the decisions we make, we need to accept the mysterious nature of our snap judgments.”
Gladwell looks at both sides of issue, when our intuition assists and obstructs us, to determine when it is best for us to take a ‘less is more’ intuitive approach to decision making, when it is best to undergo more rigorous analysis to come to a conclusion and how we can control the weaknesses of thin slicing.
To reinforce his ideas Gladwell draws on examples from a variety of disciplines and fields – these include:
- Getty kouros at the J.Paul Getty Museum in California
- John Gottman’s research on couples and SPAFF analysis
- Drs. Sheena Iyengar and Raymond Fisman Speed Dating
- Nailni Ambady’s research on malpractice cases
- Norman Maier Swinging Rope Experiment
- Vic Braden and his ability to pick double-faults in tennis
- Warren Harding's path to becoming president of USA
- Bob Golomb (Sales director of the Flemington Nissan) approach to sales
- IAT Test and subconscious racial prejudice
- Paul Van Riper’s unorthodox military philosophy
- Lee Goldman & Cook County’s heart attack decision tree
- Mother – the improvisation comedy group
- Kenna and his elusive record deal
- Dr Silvan Tomkins & Dr Paul Ekman’s studies on face reading
- Taste tests – Coke vs Pepsi blind tests and Civille and Heylmun (Sensory Spectrum)
- Herman Miller’s Aeron Chair
- All in The Family and Mary Tyle Moore Show
- Ronald Reagan's attempted assassination by John Hinckley Jr.
- Abbie Conant’s audition
The book is very well written with Gladwell at his story-telling best covering a variety of different situations where instinctive rapid cognition is used and abused with many an interesting anecdote and scientific review.