Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

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Malcolm Gladwell seems to be a man of tremendous intelligence. He seems to be a respectable person that I could have an engaging conversation with, maybe even make me laugh a couple of times, but the man can't write. That's about as blunt as I can be with this.

In this non-fiction work, Malcolm Gladwell explores the power of the unconscious mind and how it applies to our everyday decision making. He talks about using techniques such as 'thin slicing' in order to gather small amounts of information in a short amount of time in order to reach a conclusion and, ultimately, make a decision. He taps into the psychologist in all of us and makes us think, without really thinking.

From the very first page of this book, Gladwell hooks you on with a series of stories and anecdotes which are actually quite interesting. You can tell that he has a great passion for what he is writing and, as the reader, you get excited about it too, whatever it is that he's talking about. You read on, waiting, anticipating for an explanation of these stories, but that never really comes. Page after page, he tries to explain to you this concept of snap judgments and how making decisions in a split second is sometimes better than planning and analyzing the situation for extended periods of time. This is all great and entertaining for the first fifty pages, but after that he becomes repetitive and quite frankly, annoying.
Gladwell is a good storyteller. His diction and vocabulary combined with his use of rhetorical techniques make for enjoyable writing. If he were writing a book of short stories, then this thing wouldn't be half bad, but he is not. He is writing a non-fiction book, and is trying to convey an idea to you. This is where he fails as an author. In all of this 'story time', Gladwell loses focus on getting his main idea across. He loses you as a reader and really just makes you bored. On many occasions, I just had to put the book down and do something else for a while before I could bring myself to continue on. It didn't help. I found myself reading story after story about studies, experiments, situations of all kinds; all of which said the same thing. I understand repetition is a valuable rhetorical device and when used properly can greatly improve works of literature, but this is more than repetitive; this is redundant. There are only so many ways you can repeat yourself, Mr. Gladwell.
When I first picked up this book, I expected a psychological exploration that would make me think, and I was immediately interested before I even opened it up. However, much to my dismay, Malcolm Gladwell didn't deliver. I was let down in so many ways. I turned each page, hoping that something would change, that the writer would take a different approach or dive into a new topic. This never happened.
I hate to rag on Mr. Gladwell so much, though. I still consider him to be a very intelligent individual. And I still think that I could have an interesting discussion with him. He could probably make me laugh too. But still, the man cannot write.





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