Do you know how long it takes to blink? Less than a millisecond, this is exactly how long it takes for a person to make a judgment call, or thin slicing as Malcolm Gladwell would say. Mr. Gladwell had me sitting on the edge of my seat, eager to learn more about his theory of subconscious thinking. If anyone has ever been curious about subconscious thinking and whether it really does affect a person's actions Mr. Gladwell makes perfect sense in the twists and turns and examples he uses to explain why people act or think the way they do. Gladwell has a peculiar writing style, leaving readers sitting on their seats wanting more, although it is quite evident that his writings are intended for a mature audience, capable of higher thinking. Gladwell makes a very intellingent argument that the subconscious mind controls all actions, even though we may not realize it. He brings up many different examples and how people react and interact with each other that brings up their split second decisions driving by the subconscious mind. For example how people could tell by simply looking at a statue that it was a fake, although through extraneous studying and observation it was confirmed to be authentic, or how a simple packaging could be the determining factor to the fate of a product. Gladwell's main argument is that at first people might think that by studying or focusing on something for an enormous amount of time is the best thing to do while in reality, a first glance is all they need. This goes against the grain because almost anyone would rather go and get a particular piece or object studied to determine authenticity while it has been proven that a first glance and the subconscious signals tells more than extensive research. I found Gladwell's observation of a product when he states that 'the problem is not the product and it's not the branding. It's the package' to be extremely striking for many reasons (Gladwell 162). We've been taught for so long that looks do not matter, but Gladwell points out that it can be a major factor, especially in producing a consumer good, that a first glace can turn someone away, subconsciously. Although blink is a New York Times Best Seller, so are his other pieces, The Tipping Point (2000) and Outliers (2008). Malcolm Gladwell is the type of writer that targets a mature audience and sets to make groundbreaking observations. Just as the title, blink, would suggest, a decision takes only a millisecond. Although the introduction barely gives anything away, it leaves you wanting more and wanting to know and understand Gladwell's point. Gladwell is correct in his observing couples, taking surveys, and even following a normal person's thinking pattern, vs. an autistic person's thinking patterns, on how true the idea is that people follow their instincts, AKA, thin slicing. Gladwell's point is to show that no matter who you are, no matter what you do, and no matter what your lifestyle, that blink, a split second decision is always made that affects our social being and decisions. Out of every good point that came out of blink, I'd have to say Gladwell did the best in achieving convincing the audience that split second decisions rule our minds by how he used products and their testing and surveys to convince consumers to purchase their products. Whether any psychologist or professional wants to admit it, looks sell and sometimes everything doesn't just have to do with the product itself. Gladwell uses everything he has to pack a punch behind his theory, and although at first it may seem like a crazy idea, Gladwell will surely have you convinced at the very end.
February 9, 2009