Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

March 29, 2010
By aceofspades13 BRONZE, Canfield, Ohio
aceofspades13 BRONZE, Canfield, Ohio
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

All in a Blink:
A Review of Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

It takes the average person roughly two seconds to formulate an opinion. Which leads to the question, “Aren’t you curious about what happened in those two seconds?” (13). The book Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, tries to answer just that. As humans, our unconscious minds a directly responsible for formulating our opinions. Blink is a wonderful read because it provides an interesting and compelling in-depth analysis of a simple underappreciated element of everyday life and further allows the reader to unlock the door to their unconscious mind.

Many people wonder why a first impression lasts in the mind of the beholder. The answer is simple (after reading Blink). First impressions are not all based on what appears to be seen. Much of our first impressions are based on information gathered by the unconscious part of the mind. The trouble is that no one exactly knows what the unconscious mind notices. Rather than a clear-cut opinion based off this fact, the unconscious mind leaves behind a feeling. This feeling is actually derived from “the ability to extract an enormous amount of meaningful information from the very thinnest slice of experience” (241). With these thin slices more information can be extracted from the many different situations we find our unconscious minds taking control (or losing control) including: high stress situations, unjustified prejudice, and mind games.

The reader is drawn into the style of Gladwell as he chooses one interesting topic, elaborates fully on it, and then connects it into a web of examples relating to the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is complicated, and it notices the subtle changes in movements and tones. By correlating a United States government war game to improvisation comedy to brain teaser questions into the same component of the unconscious mind, Gladwell is able to justify his idea that someone does his or her best when allowed to act rather than logic through a situation: “That’s what makes it so compelling…” as Gladwell makes the connection that stimulates the reader’s attention as he or she is then motivated to continue through to the next passage (113). As readers explore Blink, and its detail about the unconscious mind, they are able to see the need to use their senses rather than relying on facts all of the time.

The unconscious mind is concealed behind a locked door, which one can never enter. Only by changing our rational decision making process can someone effectively solve a problem, and that thinking must begin to come from the only part of our thinking we cannot understand. Problems solving becomes an issue “If you get too caught up in the production of information, you drown in the data” (144). Gladwell further explains people do not rely enough on the judgment to formulate solutions. As prime example “…say you are looking at a chess board. Is there anything you can’t see? No. But are you guaranteed to win? Not at all, because you can’t see what the other guy is thinking” (144). Sometimes trusting a sense or feeling is more effective (and correct) in the end. Gladwell takes these ideas to compound a deeper understanding of what goes behind the locked door in order to persuade the reader to trust this understanding in a much brighter light.

As Blink is merely a gateway which allows the reader to look deeper into their own mind to create a new sense of judgment by sparking interest for the subject and enlightening him or her on the different aspects of a complex daily phenomenon of the inner workings of the unconscious mind. Blink is a good choice for any reader trying to expand his or her understanding of their feelings as well as anyone looking for entertainment. This book holds the reader to the very end as all points and perspectives compile into a better understanding our each and every Blink.

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