Blink: the Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

February 9, 2009
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Snap judgments and first impressions. Those are just some of the ideas that Malcolm Gladwell offers in his book, Blink: the Power of Thinking without Thinking. This riveting book explains the phenomenon that is still a mystery to even the most celebrated of experts'how do people react to external stimulus in the blink of an eye and the effects of that reaction.

Gladwell has yet again showcased his real genius following his national bestseller, The Tipping Point. Blink exhibits his incredible ability to connect real world facts to scientific data to ease the complexity of the subject he chose to explain. He tackles ideas such as thin-slicing, stereotyping and biases, the frugality of information that enables us to make snap judgments, the conflict between our percepted thought and our inner thought, and temporary autism or mind-reading failure. He explains all of this through anecdotes and witty comments.

Another interesting aspect to this work is the wide-ranging examples. These included, but were not limited to, speed-dating, the Pepsi Challenge, selling cars, improvisational comedy, and the power of facial expressions. It's hard not to ask yourself 'how did he come up with this?' It's easy to research about speed-dating, facial expressions, etc., but to come up with those as examples is a feat that I think is exceptional. Of all the phenomena in the world, why did he choose those to relate to the power of unconscious cognition? However, these examples tend to distract the reader from the topic being discussed as they bombard the reader with informations that are seemingly unrelated. Because every chapter incorporates many anecdotes, it is easy to forget about what is being talked about in that chapter until the very end where he ties them all up.

Overall, though, Blink proves to be a successful tool in encouraging the ability to rely on snap decisions, to recognize when to trust them, and to understand that they can be educated and controlled. This is an engrossing book that will surely get you hooked at the first page and you won't even know why'that's the wonder of your unconscious.

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