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Od stycznia 2005 ta książka nie schodzi z list bestsellerów w USA! Dlaczego Malcolm Gladwell napisał Błysk!? Bo... zapuścił włosy. „W moim życiu natychmiast nastąpiły drobne, ale znaczące zmiany. Zacząłem dostawać mandaty za przekroczenie prędkości, co wcześniej nigdy mi się nie zdarzało. Zatrzymywano mnie do szczegółowej kontroli na lotniskach. A pewnego dnia, gdy szedłem F Od stycznia 2005 ta książka nie schodzi z list bestsellerów w USA! Dlaczego Malcolm Gladwell napisał Błysk!? Bo... zapuścił włosy. „W moim życiu natychmiast nastąpiły drobne, ale znaczące zmiany. Zacząłem dostawać mandaty za przekroczenie prędkości, co wcześniej nigdy mi się nie zdarzało. Zatrzymywano mnie do szczegółowej kontroli na lotniskach. A pewnego dnia, gdy szedłem Fourteenth Street na Manhattanie, do krawężnika podjechała policyjna furgonetka i wyskoczyło z niej trzech funkcjonariuszy. Jak się okazało, szukali gwałciciela, a według nich ów gwałciciel wyglądał zupełnie jak ja. Wyjęli portret pamięciowy i rysopis. Przyjrzałem się i najuprzejmiej, jak potrafiłem, zwróciłem im uwagę, że poszukiwany przestępca wcale nie jest do mnie podobny. Był wyższy, potężniej zbudowany i o kilkanaście lat ode mnie młodszy. [...] Jedyną naszą wspólną cechą była burza kręconych włosów” - mówi Gladwell. „Po prostu chcę, żeby ludzie poważnie traktowali proces natychmiastowego poznania (rapid cognition)” - tłumaczy. Błysk! opowiada o potędze pierwszego wrażenia, o czymś, co wydarza się w mgnieniu oka, często bez udziału świadomości czy rozumu. Malcolm Gladwell jest publicystą „New Yorkera” (a wcześniej „Washington Post”, gdzie pisał o nauce). Reportaże Gladwella o zachowaniu konsumentów, gwałtownych skokach przestępczości w Nowym Jorku czy testach osobowości zdradzają jego zamiłowanie do socjologii, psychologii i marketingu. W 2005 roku w Polsce ukazała się jego pierwsza książka Punkt przełomowy (The Tipping Point). Szczegółowo pokazuje w niej cykl życia oraz istotę trendu - zarówno trendu rynkowego, jak i epidemii grypy, przestępczości czy mody na buty określonej marki. W Błysku! natomiast twierdzi, że ludzie nazbyt często próbują podejmować decyzje, kierując się racjonalnymi przesłankami, podczas gdy takie same efekty przynosi zdanie się na natychmiastowe poznanie (rapid cognition). Teza ta wydaje się może zbyt rewolucyjna, jednak przyniosła Gladwellowi miano guru w środowiskach marketingowych. Jego książki nie schodzą z list bestsellerów, przez brytyjski dziennik „The Times” został uznany za jednego z pięćdziesięciu najbardziej wpływowych myślicieli w dziedzinie zarządzania. Ostatnio prawa do książki kupiła nawet wytwórnia filmowa Universal. Brawurowy, świetnie napisany i solidnie udokumentowany Błysk! czyta się z wypiekami na twarzy.


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Od stycznia 2005 ta książka nie schodzi z list bestsellerów w USA! Dlaczego Malcolm Gladwell napisał Błysk!? Bo... zapuścił włosy. „W moim życiu natychmiast nastąpiły drobne, ale znaczące zmiany. Zacząłem dostawać mandaty za przekroczenie prędkości, co wcześniej nigdy mi się nie zdarzało. Zatrzymywano mnie do szczegółowej kontroli na lotniskach. A pewnego dnia, gdy szedłem F Od stycznia 2005 ta książka nie schodzi z list bestsellerów w USA! Dlaczego Malcolm Gladwell napisał Błysk!? Bo... zapuścił włosy. „W moim życiu natychmiast nastąpiły drobne, ale znaczące zmiany. Zacząłem dostawać mandaty za przekroczenie prędkości, co wcześniej nigdy mi się nie zdarzało. Zatrzymywano mnie do szczegółowej kontroli na lotniskach. A pewnego dnia, gdy szedłem Fourteenth Street na Manhattanie, do krawężnika podjechała policyjna furgonetka i wyskoczyło z niej trzech funkcjonariuszy. Jak się okazało, szukali gwałciciela, a według nich ów gwałciciel wyglądał zupełnie jak ja. Wyjęli portret pamięciowy i rysopis. Przyjrzałem się i najuprzejmiej, jak potrafiłem, zwróciłem im uwagę, że poszukiwany przestępca wcale nie jest do mnie podobny. Był wyższy, potężniej zbudowany i o kilkanaście lat ode mnie młodszy. [...] Jedyną naszą wspólną cechą była burza kręconych włosów” - mówi Gladwell. „Po prostu chcę, żeby ludzie poważnie traktowali proces natychmiastowego poznania (rapid cognition)” - tłumaczy. Błysk! opowiada o potędze pierwszego wrażenia, o czymś, co wydarza się w mgnieniu oka, często bez udziału świadomości czy rozumu. Malcolm Gladwell jest publicystą „New Yorkera” (a wcześniej „Washington Post”, gdzie pisał o nauce). Reportaże Gladwella o zachowaniu konsumentów, gwałtownych skokach przestępczości w Nowym Jorku czy testach osobowości zdradzają jego zamiłowanie do socjologii, psychologii i marketingu. W 2005 roku w Polsce ukazała się jego pierwsza książka Punkt przełomowy (The Tipping Point). Szczegółowo pokazuje w niej cykl życia oraz istotę trendu - zarówno trendu rynkowego, jak i epidemii grypy, przestępczości czy mody na buty określonej marki. W Błysku! natomiast twierdzi, że ludzie nazbyt często próbują podejmować decyzje, kierując się racjonalnymi przesłankami, podczas gdy takie same efekty przynosi zdanie się na natychmiastowe poznanie (rapid cognition). Teza ta wydaje się może zbyt rewolucyjna, jednak przyniosła Gladwellowi miano guru w środowiskach marketingowych. Jego książki nie schodzą z list bestsellerów, przez brytyjski dziennik „The Times” został uznany za jednego z pięćdziesięciu najbardziej wpływowych myślicieli w dziedzinie zarządzania. Ostatnio prawa do książki kupiła nawet wytwórnia filmowa Universal. Brawurowy, świetnie napisany i solidnie udokumentowany Błysk! czyta się z wypiekami na twarzy.

30 review for Błysk! Potęga przeczucia

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt Kosinski

    Here's Blink in a nutshell: Split decisions can be good; better than decisions where we take a lot of time to carefully weigh our options and use scientific evidence. Except when they're not. Rapid cognition is an exciting and powerful way to use your brain's quick, intuitive capabilities to make stunningly accurate decisions, and can even lead you to have better success in sports, business and politics. Except when it won't. We should learn to trust our snap judgments, even in seemingly complex si Here's Blink in a nutshell: Split decisions can be good; better than decisions where we take a lot of time to carefully weigh our options and use scientific evidence. Except when they're not. Rapid cognition is an exciting and powerful way to use your brain's quick, intuitive capabilities to make stunningly accurate decisions, and can even lead you to have better success in sports, business and politics. Except when it won't. We should learn to trust our snap judgments, even in seemingly complex situations where we don't have a lot of information. Except not really. Basically the book gives scientific and anecdotal evidence on why rapid cognition can be both a good and bad thing, without offering us much advise on how to tell the difference between situations where we should or shouldn't trust our instincts. There are many times when I felt that Gladwell contradicted himself. To support his "rapid cognition is good" section of the book, he uses an example of a psychological test where students were able to tell whether or not a professor was good at their job by simply watching a 5 second clip of them lecturing with the sound turned off. The results basically corresponded with impressions given by other students who spent an entire class with those professors - thus proving that there is some mysterious and powerful part of our subconscious that can make accurate snap judgments. But then later on in the book, in the "rapid cognition is bad" section, Gladwell warns us that, in general, people instantly like tall, attractive white people better than short, unattractive minorities. WELL DUH! OBVIOUSLY THE STUDENTS RATING THE PROFESSORS WERE BIASED BY WHETHER OR NOT THEY WERE TALL, WHITE, OR ATTRACTIVE! Mystery solved! While Gladwell brings up some interesting concepts, his book never gels into a coherent whole. I read most of it in under a day and already my rapid cognition is telling me it's not worth finishing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Doc Opp

    As an empirical psychologist by training, I get very annoyed at journalists who simplify things to the point that its no longer even remotely accurate. Such is the case for Blink. This is especially annoying to me, because the book describes my area of research specialization. If you're interested in a fun read, Gladwell is certainly an engaging author. If you're looking for something that accurately describes the research, I'd recommend looking elsewhere. For example, Scott Plous's "the psychol As an empirical psychologist by training, I get very annoyed at journalists who simplify things to the point that its no longer even remotely accurate. Such is the case for Blink. This is especially annoying to me, because the book describes my area of research specialization. If you're interested in a fun read, Gladwell is certainly an engaging author. If you're looking for something that accurately describes the research, I'd recommend looking elsewhere. For example, Scott Plous's "the psychology of judgment and decision making" (which, despite the title, is not textbook like), or the Heath brothers' "Made to stick".

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sanjay Gautam

    Blink is- what all the stories, case studies, and arguments add up to- an attempt to understand the magical and mysterious thing called Judgement. Its basic premise is: split second decisions (snap judgements); how they can be good and bad. Gladwell suggests split-seconds decisions are better than the decisions where we take considerable time to weigh our choices and options. He points out that our mind figure things, people, et al. in a blink of an eye. And it is often that these snap judgeme Blink is- what all the stories, case studies, and arguments add up to- an attempt to understand the magical and mysterious thing called Judgement. Its basic premise is: split second decisions (snap judgements); how they can be good and bad. Gladwell suggests split-seconds decisions are better than the decisions where we take considerable time to weigh our choices and options. He points out that our mind figure things, people, et al. in a blink of an eye. And it is often that these snap judgements are much more trustworthy than judgements arrived at rationally. But he does not stop here and goes on further: snap judgements can be misleading, too; he termed it Warren Harding error. He suggested that there are some instinctive processes that prevent us to see clearly; and hence cloud our judgements. Blink is an interesting read. It is very well written, and at the same time engages your attention from the start. And writing is reader friendly, perfectly suitable for a layman. ................................................. I bought this book because I was intrigued by the subtitle of the book: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking. This subtitle was something Zen like, I felt. And when I read it initially, three years ago, I found it resembling with Zen teachings (and koans). Following are two quotes that mainly convey the spirit: "They were so focused on the mechanics and the process that they never looked at the problem holistically. In the act of tearing something apart, you lose its meaning." "When making a decision of minor importance its advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life , we should be governed by the deep inner needs of our nature."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Ross

    I think this book wins my prize for Most Easily Misinterpreted to Serve Personal Agendas. Gladwell gets so into the interesting details of the case he's building, he really doesn't emphasize the final conclusions of the book at all, leaving people to think that the interesting details are the whole point, which is unfortunate. But then again, I'm not 100% sure I got the whole point. Most of the folks I know think that this book is about how a person's gut instincts can be a better read of a situa I think this book wins my prize for Most Easily Misinterpreted to Serve Personal Agendas. Gladwell gets so into the interesting details of the case he's building, he really doesn't emphasize the final conclusions of the book at all, leaving people to think that the interesting details are the whole point, which is unfortunate. But then again, I'm not 100% sure I got the whole point. Most of the folks I know think that this book is about how a person's gut instincts can be a better read of a situation than a read based on thorough study. Which is an idea that most people love, since they don't want to have to do all that boring study anyhow. What's missing from that analysis is that Gladwell later insists (but only at the very end of the book, and almost in passing) that it's the thorough active training and study of a subject that allow a person to have "true" or "correct" gut reads. The guy who can tell who's getting divorced after 60 seconds of hearing them talk spent years coding verbal and physical cues in couples, studying them intensely for years before he was able to give his 60 second analysis. The art historians were drawing on a vast body of knowledge when they made their judgment about the statue. The cop who read fear instead of aggression and didn't shoot couldn't name what he was seeing, but he'd seen it before. Then he also says that our gut reactions can be easily colored by training we don't even know is there- our prejudices, whether unknown or unacknowledged- influence or reads of a situation as well. Ultimately, I saw this book as a reaction to and analysis of the Amadou Diallo killing in 1999, with some tips for how to avoid such future tragedies. In that light, I thought it was interesting and even constructive, but only if you pay close attention to the last chapter.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I would put this book in the category of "Freakonomics" and "The Tipping Point." By the same author as the latter title, Malcolm Gladwell, the purpose of this book is to weigh the advantages as well as the disadvantages of the power of the mind's ability to unconsciously leap to conclusions based on what is seen in the proverbial blink of an eye. While I have read some negative reviews of Gladwell's book, mostly citing that he fails to inform the reader how to know when to go with your gut and w I would put this book in the category of "Freakonomics" and "The Tipping Point." By the same author as the latter title, Malcolm Gladwell, the purpose of this book is to weigh the advantages as well as the disadvantages of the power of the mind's ability to unconsciously leap to conclusions based on what is seen in the proverbial blink of an eye. While I have read some negative reviews of Gladwell's book, mostly citing that he fails to inform the reader how to know when to go with your gut and when not to, as well as arguments that he urges readers not to follow their gut when the gut instincts are politically incorrect, I have to disagree with many of them. I think that Gladwell's objective in "Blink" is to make the reader simply aware of their gut instincts and to urge them to consider trusting it more frequently than we do. People tend to make decisions that are supported by a litany of rationalizations and explanations, but do we always really have reasons for why we do or think what we do? Gladwell is arguing that we don’t, and that sometimes it takes the unconscious mind to make those decisions for us. On the flip side, he also argues that sometimes we unconsciously make negative decisions based on that same quick judgment and our predetermined stereotypes, such as with people of other sexes or other races than ourselves. “Blink” was a very complicated book with many facets and it’s hard to explain all of them or review them all without writing an essay. In the end, I think the main goal isn’t perfect knowledge of the subject of thinking without thinking, but rather consideration of it and how it can benefit us or hinder us both individually and as a society.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    O, to have the writing career of Malcolm Gladwell. The man pulls interesting case studies from academic research and news headlines, spins it into a book under a general theme, and blammo! He has a bestseller. This formula worked for him with The Tipping Point and then Blink. Blink is a compelling read, despite its weak overall theme, which is that sometimes split-second decisions are good and sometimes they're bad, and we need to learn when to trust our first impressions and when to discount th O, to have the writing career of Malcolm Gladwell. The man pulls interesting case studies from academic research and news headlines, spins it into a book under a general theme, and blammo! He has a bestseller. This formula worked for him with The Tipping Point and then Blink. Blink is a compelling read, despite its weak overall theme, which is that sometimes split-second decisions are good and sometimes they're bad, and we need to learn when to trust our first impressions and when to discount them (except there's no real way to make that distinction). The book is a pleasure to read simply because of its case studies. Gladwell throws in so many topics — art, politics, marriage, consumer testing, athletes, war, police shootings, music — that there is bound to be something engaging for everyone. (After reading another one of Gladwell's peppy articles in The New Yorker, my husband joked, "Gladwell thinks he can make ANYTHING seem interesting.") After finishing Blink, I feel like I've learned something important, but I'm not sure exactly what, other than that Gladwell has a very charmed career. My rating: 3.5 stars rounded up to 4

  7. 5 out of 5

    seak

    Much like the reason behind my majoring in Economics, I like Gladwell because he opens my mind to new ideas and new ways to think. Much like Economics, I believe he's far from perfect, but I really enjoy viewing the world through his lens. In just about anything, when people start acting as if there is only one way to do something, I stop listening to them. This goes for many things, but especially politics. If you DO, however, find someone who is omniscient and knows exactly how every policy wi Much like the reason behind my majoring in Economics, I like Gladwell because he opens my mind to new ideas and new ways to think. Much like Economics, I believe he's far from perfect, but I really enjoy viewing the world through his lens. In just about anything, when people start acting as if there is only one way to do something, I stop listening to them. This goes for many things, but especially politics. If you DO, however, find someone who is omniscient and knows exactly how every policy will turn out in the end, please let me know. I may listen to their one way of seeing the world. Otherwise ... What I got from Blink is that there is a lot to our instant thoughts and feelings and many times much more than we give them credit. The traditional wisdom is to plan and make huge weighty decisions based on every single bit of information that we have at our fingertips (which is just about everything, google!). This is actually a big reason my wife and I get into ... disagreements (we'll go with that). She likes to plan everything down to the last detail and I like to be a bit more relaxed. So it would seem that this book is a big proponent of my way of doing things, but it turns out it's not so much. We should trust our gut-instinct, says Blink, if we have many hours of experience in said realm of understanding because we have developed the skills to make sense of those small details and because we have the ability to "thin slice." Gladwell also makes the point that not always can we trust our gut-intinct, however, because our gut-instinct tends to be racist, even when we are not in fact consciously racist. Also, our instincts can get overwhelmed by heightened arousal, such as when people can't even dial 911 in an emergency because their senses are overloaded. But then again, you can practice and have these types of unconscious reactions mitigated. The interesting story-telling style of introducing these topics is, of course, what really gets me. It's the stories that are often unbelievable that have me clamoring for more, just like in Outliers (although I think Outliers was a little better written) and I would assume his other books. He goes into why The Getty art museum spent millions on a fake kouros (Greek statue) and why cops probably aren't racial profiling when they beat people like Rodney King, but because of a few key mistakes such as allowing their unconscious to get overwhelmed and also because they were a group of officers instead of just one. He talks about people who can listen to a couple and tell when they should start talking to their lawyers and people who have developed the actual abilities that are shown in the TV show "Lie to Me." How looking at a person's room for 5 minutes may give a complete stranger a better picture of a person than a good friend. I've always loved these types of explanations for things. There's the old wisdom we have and the wisdom we assume when we don't have any other way to describe a particular event and which is completely wrong. I love thinking new ideas, even when it's old news and that's why I'll keep coming back to Gladwell.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    I generally distrust anyone who says that they ‘go-with-their-gut’. But when the company I work for announced a major decision a few years back, I instantly said, “This is going to be a huge mistake.” Smart people had examined the deal backwards and forwards for months and thought it was a great idea. I had a bad feeling about it that I could only later explain, and I was far from the only one. And we were right. The entire thing turned out to be a huge disaster. I kept thinking about that incid I generally distrust anyone who says that they ‘go-with-their-gut’. But when the company I work for announced a major decision a few years back, I instantly said, “This is going to be a huge mistake.” Smart people had examined the deal backwards and forwards for months and thought it was a great idea. I had a bad feeling about it that I could only later explain, and I was far from the only one. And we were right. The entire thing turned out to be a huge disaster. I kept thinking about that incident when I read Blink. The book has a pretty obvious point. People make snap decisions that they can’t consciously explain. Sometimes these decisions are correct and amazing based on the limited amount of information available. Art experts who instantly know a statue is fake despite scientific tests indicating otherwise. A fireman who appears to be fighting a routine small fire suddenly orders his men out without really knowing why and the floor collapses a second later. And sometimes these decisions can be wrong and have tragic consequences. Four cops think a guy has a gun when he’s pulling his wallet out and shoot him multiple times. We’ve all made quick decisions and later been amazed at how good or bad they turned out, but what makes Blink interesting is that Gladwell does some examination of the science behind how we arrive at these conclusions, and his thoughts on how the data we’re processing can either give us incredible insight or lead us horribly wrong. Thankfully, Gladwell is not making an argument against logical thinking or analyzing a problem. What he is doing is pointing out that instinct or intuition can be a powerful tool IF the people involved have trained themselves to make good decisions, and if we know when to trust it. He’s got a lot of great examples of doctors, military officers and police officers who often have to make life-or-death decisions in a matter of seconds with limited information. They have to trust their instincts, and Gladwell makes some common sense points that the right kind of training and education can make a huge difference. He contrasts the story of the four New York cops who killed the guy with a wallet versus a patrolman who did not fire on someone who actually had a gun but was attempting to surrender it. What made this book fun to read was the variety of examples that Gladwell uses and the scientific research done with them. Art dealers, doctors, marriage counselors, cops, military officers, car salesmen, a tennis coach, and classical musicians are all used as examples of the strengths and weaknesses of snap decisions. There’s also some simple experiments included that let you play along at home. This is a book that will make you think about the way you think.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    This was a big best-seller for Gladwell. He posits that much of the time we make decisions, reach conclusions in a sort of pre-conscious manner that he calls “thin-slicing.” That means taking a very small sample, a thin slice, and making a decision immediately based on that information. However, it is the case that the ability to evaluate that slice is fed by a lifetime of experience. It is not simply, as some, including President Bush the second, might believe, that using one’s gut, in the abse This was a big best-seller for Gladwell. He posits that much of the time we make decisions, reach conclusions in a sort of pre-conscious manner that he calls “thin-slicing.” That means taking a very small sample, a thin slice, and making a decision immediately based on that information. However, it is the case that the ability to evaluate that slice is fed by a lifetime of experience. It is not simply, as some, including President Bush the second, might believe, that using one’s gut, in the absence of years and years of preparation, is as valid a way of reaching decisions as taking the longer route of careful analysis of available data. No, no, no.

  10. 4 out of 5

    MacKenzie

    so i bought this book in boston's logan airport about 10 minutes before i had to board a flight to seattle. the bookstore was limited; i didn't want to have to work to get interested. and the first 100 pages or so did the trick... until i realized that gladwell wasn't so much building an argument as telling stories about a certain topic. don't get me wrong, i finished the book. later. back in boston, on the T. and it did cover some interesting studies, or i wouldn't have done so. but i suspect t so i bought this book in boston's logan airport about 10 minutes before i had to board a flight to seattle. the bookstore was limited; i didn't want to have to work to get interested. and the first 100 pages or so did the trick... until i realized that gladwell wasn't so much building an argument as telling stories about a certain topic. don't get me wrong, i finished the book. later. back in boston, on the T. and it did cover some interesting studies, or i wouldn't have done so. but i suspect the author might've lacked the attention span necessary to lend this book any coherence. meh. it was basically a series of loosely related tidbits about snap-judgments, none of which led me to conclude that instinct or intuition is significantly more or less reliable than rational deliberation. if a point could be gleaned and summarized, i guess it would be that with the right thin-slice of information, under the right conditions, instantaneous judgements can be spot-on. shrug. the best i can say about this book is that there were a couple of well-set-up digs at the bush administration and i discovered the music of kenna, who's pretty cool. i also learned that when my girlfriend's eyes get even a little wider, it means she's angry.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ashlie

    I reread this after realizing I couldn't remember enough to compare with Kahneman`s book. They are mostly aligning, only Kahneman suggests against making snap judgements and relying more on evidence whereas Gladwell gives views from both sides and stays impartial. Blink is about unconscious decision making. Our unconscious side is fascinating, because it seems to be the one that holds the strings most of the time; making very fast decisions, watching out for any threat to our existence. However w I reread this after realizing I couldn't remember enough to compare with Kahneman`s book. They are mostly aligning, only Kahneman suggests against making snap judgements and relying more on evidence whereas Gladwell gives views from both sides and stays impartial. Blink is about unconscious decision making. Our unconscious side is fascinating, because it seems to be the one that holds the strings most of the time; making very fast decisions, watching out for any threat to our existence. However when our drives (the motivators of unconscious) are in conflict, ourrational mind is quick to get in. The rational mind is also there to make corrections, and making plans. So it seems that mostly we are on autopilot for unimportant things, and also when we have to do something at lightening speed. But at other times even if there is an urge to act instinctively, one should act relying on data rather than on instinct.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    Probably the best among Gladwell's books. He still stands true to his success mantra - "Gladwell - The Power of Inductive Reasoning." But, it was still a well researched and informative book. Blink.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    Elsewhere, in one of my other recent reviews, a GoodReads friend (Richard) told me that he had become less infatuated with this book after reading a review by a specialist in the field who gave it a drubbing. I was worried that knowing this might ruin this book for me – but it has not. I really enjoyed this one too. This is the third of Gladwell’s books I’ve read in quick succession and this contained lots of information about things that have made me think and sparked my interest to learn more. Elsewhere, in one of my other recent reviews, a GoodReads friend (Richard) told me that he had become less infatuated with this book after reading a review by a specialist in the field who gave it a drubbing. I was worried that knowing this might ruin this book for me – but it has not. I really enjoyed this one too. This is the third of Gladwell’s books I’ve read in quick succession and this contained lots of information about things that have made me think and sparked my interest to learn more. It may well be that Gladwell’s style does not appeal to an expert in the field – and that is quite likely to be true, but I’ve found that it is often the case that I’ve been introduced to themes by popularisers and later went on to read more deeply on a subject. I rarely condemn those who introduce me to fascinating topics – and this is a fascinating topic. I’m not going to do a full review, but rather quickly talk about wine. While he was talking about coke and about taste tests I was thinking about wine. He makes the point that when asked to judge jam people do nearly as well as the experts if they are just asked which jam they liked the most, but do much worse than experts if asked to explain why they graded them in the order that they did. That is, if they have to talk about texture and sweetness and citrus flavours – people change how they judge jam and end up picking the worst jam rather than the best. This is because we don’t really know what ‘texture’ is and so trying to slot jams into categories that we don’t really understand means we are most likely to stuff up and confuse ourselves. Now, wine. I wonder if anyone has ever done a test at cellar doors to see what people end up buying and if they pick the nicest wine for the price, or do they buy vinegar instead? I wouldn’t mind betting that there would be something similar happening here – and if you are with someone who says things like, “Oh yes, fruity, but with a back-taste of coal tar” you might end up buying something that is quite disgusting. You know, unless you actually have some idea of what you are talking about, it might be best to shut up and drink the wine. That is the point of this book – learning when to trust your “immediate reactions” and when to question them. I think there is much in this book that is worth knowing and much that is fascinatingly interesting. (The stuff about unconscious racism is so important that everyone should be forced to read this for that alone). But with Richard, I am a little concerned that an expert in the field didn't like this book. All the same, the expert does recommend Made to Stick so I guess that can be the next book I read. There is – as is proven by Dylan Moran – only one way to pick wine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw2gGf...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    I didn't learn much from this book that I did not already know. I am beginning to suspect that Malcolm Gladwell is not writing books that uncover valuable facts that we should know, but rather is writing books that restate facts we already know but in an interesting way. I like his anecdotal stories very much which is why I finished the book - hoping for more stories. When he lays out the facts, though, his writing is no more interesting than any other scientific author. So, in summary, what we h I didn't learn much from this book that I did not already know. I am beginning to suspect that Malcolm Gladwell is not writing books that uncover valuable facts that we should know, but rather is writing books that restate facts we already know but in an interesting way. I like his anecdotal stories very much which is why I finished the book - hoping for more stories. When he lays out the facts, though, his writing is no more interesting than any other scientific author. So, in summary, what we have is a talented writer making certain scientific findings available to a much wider audience than usual. Bravo! However if you want to learn something new, this book or his previous effort, The Tipping Point, is not where to go to find it. I imagine, if I read it, I will find The Outliers, his latest effort, to be similarly constructed. Blink's content is easily summarized. First impressions are often more accurate than conclusions arrived at after much study and analysis. Be careful, though, because first impressions can be troublesome because of people's prejudices. Got it in 254 pages. He does come up with an interesting term, "thin slicing", to describe the process of taking in a first impression. Maybe learning that term made reading the whole book worthwhile. Maybe.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    A really great study on how important the first few seconds of anything can be, in any particular situation. Be it that you're an art expert who instantly knows an object is fake, or a police man who thinks that the victim is pulling a gun out of their pocket rather than a wallet, it's very clear that human beings do have this constant auto-pilot running, an unconscious "survival mode" that gives us most of the clues we might need in the "blink" of an eye, and sometimes those clues might be wron A really great study on how important the first few seconds of anything can be, in any particular situation. Be it that you're an art expert who instantly knows an object is fake, or a police man who thinks that the victim is pulling a gun out of their pocket rather than a wallet, it's very clear that human beings do have this constant auto-pilot running, an unconscious "survival mode" that gives us most of the clues we might need in the "blink" of an eye, and sometimes those clues might be wrong.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ms.pegasus

    Gladwell continues his exploration of counter-intuitive ideas about decision-making in BLINK! He opens with a 1983 incident at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The Museum acquired a rare statue from the Greek archaic period. To this day, the Museum maintains that the authenticity of the statue is uncertain. At the time, however, the Museum was certain enough to acquire the piece for just under $10 million. Documentation, and scientific analysis had been relied on as support. However, numerous experts i Gladwell continues his exploration of counter-intuitive ideas about decision-making in BLINK! He opens with a 1983 incident at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The Museum acquired a rare statue from the Greek archaic period. To this day, the Museum maintains that the authenticity of the statue is uncertain. At the time, however, the Museum was certain enough to acquire the piece for just under $10 million. Documentation, and scientific analysis had been relied on as support. However, numerous experts including Metropolitan Museum of Art director Thomas Hoving pronounced it a fake. It was an intuitive pronouncement which presaged problems later uncovered with both the documentation and scientific analysis. This is the first of many stories Gladwell uses to illustrate how an intuitive reaction can trump logic and analysis. Among the factors that cloud logic is something he calls the adaptive unconscious. It's an unrecognized emotional bias. In the Getty example, the officials wanted the piece to be authentic. It would have been a spectacular acquisition for a newly established museum. This desire diverted critical scrutiny of the supporting evidence. Such an adaptation need not even be emotion based. In an explanation of priming, Gladwell cites psychological studies that illustrate the subconscious effect of pre-conditioning through word lists. Extrapolating from these examples, one might conclude that the casual reader will be highly influenced when reviewing a book by his mood or even surroundings at the time of reading. Gladwell explores other impediments to logical thinking, logic being a type of perceptual filter. Face recognition, he points out, occurs in a completely different part of the brain, and is an integrated reaction as opposed to the kind of multi-step processing that occurs in dealing with language. Athletic and musical achievement rely on these non-verbal neural processes. His own example cites Paul Van Ripper's success against a team backed by the Pentagon's most sophisticated computers in a war games exercise. The Pentagon team was actually hampered in their decision making by information overload. Initial reaction, Gladwell points out is not always accurate. He tries to explore this downside as well by citing studies on bias. Gladwell is an entertaining storyteller as well as an energetic researcher. He draws examples from market research, Chancellorsville in the Civil War, the assessment of heart attacks at Cook County Hospital, speed dating, fire fighting, the auditioning of professional musicians, and the Diallo Incident in the Bronx to illustrate his points. By drawing from such a wide variety of experience, he insures the interest of a broad audience in this book. NOTE: It's always fun to re-encounter characters from other books. I knew of Thomas Hoving from his book, KING OF THE CONFESSORS. The idea of thin-slice thinking was also explored in HOW WE DECIDE, by Jonah Lehrer. The deconstruction of flavor is discussed from a neurophysiological standpoint in Gordon Shepherd's NEUROGASTRONOMY.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Connie G

    Malcolm Gladwell engagingly writes about how decisions made in a blink--snap judgments--can be very good. A series of entertaining anecdotes and psychological studies show that first impressions can be good in some cases, especially in areas where people have experience. He also writes about experts who analyze facial expressions, and how autistic people have trouble making certain types of judgment calls. But then he goes on to show how our unconscious mind can also be very prejudiced. Tall men Malcolm Gladwell engagingly writes about how decisions made in a blink--snap judgments--can be very good. A series of entertaining anecdotes and psychological studies show that first impressions can be good in some cases, especially in areas where people have experience. He also writes about experts who analyze facial expressions, and how autistic people have trouble making certain types of judgment calls. But then he goes on to show how our unconscious mind can also be very prejudiced. Tall men are more likely to become CEOs than short men. Using Warren Harding as an example, he shows that people may vote for a political candidate because they look presidential. Women are less likely to be offered positions in some orchestras unless the auditions are held with the competitors behind a screen, so they are just evaluated on their playing ability. He also includes stories about police officers making snap judgments, and the judicial system handing out longer sentences to minorities. There were some examples that supported decisions made quickly by the subconscious level, and other examples that showed certain decisions were better when we slowed down and consciously gave things a little more thought. Experience played a big part in having good judgment making quick decisions. Gladwell does not get into how the brain works in making decisions. The book is interesting and entertaining, but it raises as many questions as it answers. 3.5 stars.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Otis Chandler

    A must read - really interesting stories about how people process things unconsciously. - for instance, you can't hide your feeling about race from your unconscious - take the Race Test (http://www.understandingprejudice.org...). It said I (and 13% of test-takers) have a 'moderate automatic preference for European American compared to African American'. It also said 48% of test-takers have a "Strong automatic preference for White people" - crazy! - I loved the bit about President Warren Harding A must read - really interesting stories about how people process things unconsciously. - for instance, you can't hide your feeling about race from your unconscious - take the Race Test (http://www.understandingprejudice.org...). It said I (and 13% of test-takers) have a 'moderate automatic preference for European American compared to African American'. It also said 48% of test-takers have a "Strong automatic preference for White people" - crazy! - I loved the bit about President Warren Harding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_H...), who - according to the author, basically got elected because he "looked presidential". I firmly believe looks matter - hey after all I do live in CA where we have the Governator...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Equally as fascinating as Gladwell's other book The Tipping Point. Really makes you think, consider your decisions differently. Quotes: But in the end it comes down to a matter of respect, and the simplest way that respect is communicated is through tone of voice. Of the tens of millions of American men below five foot six, a grand total of ten in my sample have reached the level of CEO, which says that being short is probably as much of a handicap to corporate success as being a woman or an Afric Equally as fascinating as Gladwell's other book The Tipping Point. Really makes you think, consider your decisions differently. Quotes: But in the end it comes down to a matter of respect, and the simplest way that respect is communicated is through tone of voice. Of the tens of millions of American men below five foot six, a grand total of ten in my sample have reached the level of CEO, which says that being short is probably as much of a handicap to corporate success as being a woman or an African American. Most of us, in ways that we are not entirely aware of, automatically associate leadership ability with imposing physical stature. ...when corrected for such variables as age and gender and weight, an inch of height is worth $789 a year in salary. That means that a person who is six feet tall but otherwise identical to someone who is five foot five will make on average $5,525 more per year. Prejudging is the kiss of death...because sometimes the most unlikely person is flush. The truth is that improv isn't random and chaotic at all...it's an art form governed by a series of rules, and they want to make sure that when they're up on stage, everyone abides by those rules. One of the most important of the rules that make improv possible, for examples is the idea of agreement, the notion that a very simple way to create a story—or humor—is to have characters accept everything that happens to them. Good improvisors seem telepathic; everything looks pre-arranged. This is because they accept all offers made—which is something no normal person would do. Neither Masten nor Rhea believes that clever packaging allows a company to put out a bad-tasting product. The taste of the product itself matters a great deal. Their point is simply that when we put something in our mouth and in that blink of an eye decide whether it tastes good or not, we are reacting not only to the evidence from our taste buds and salivary glands but also to the evidence of our eyes and memories and imaginations, and it is foolish of company to service one dimension and ignore the other. Emotion can also start on the face. The face is not a secondary billboard for our internal feelings. It is an equal partner in the emotional process. Silvan Tomkins one began a lecture by bellowing, "The face is like a penis!" What he meant was that the face has, to a large extent, a mind of its own. Imagine if there were a switch that all of us had, to turn off the expressions on our face at will. If babies had that switch, we wouldn't know what they were feeling. They'd be in trouble. You could make an argument, if you wanted to, that the system evolved so that parents would be able to take care of kids. People with autism...have difficulty interpreting non-verbal cues, such as gestures and facial expressions...in anything less than a perfectly literal environment, the autistic person is lost. In the interviews with police officers who have been involved with shootings, these same details appear again and again: extreme visual clarity, tunnel vision, diminished sound, and the sense that time is slowing down. This is how the human body reacts to extreme stress, and it makes sense. Our mind, faced with a life-threatening situation, drastically limits the range and amount of information that we have to deal with. Sound and memory and broader social understanding are sacrificed in favor of heightened awareness of the threat directly in front of us.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Snezan

    This work is worth a read, if not more than one. I hesitate to say too much, since I believe the conclusions it reaches are explored in the very beginning and will immediately inform the reader of its relevance. I don't know why that came out so long winded, the reader will find out how interested they are by the first or second chapter. I found the book fascinating for its close look into social interactions, particularly between two people, and for explaining why i sometimes I think the way tha This work is worth a read, if not more than one. I hesitate to say too much, since I believe the conclusions it reaches are explored in the very beginning and will immediately inform the reader of its relevance. I don't know why that came out so long winded, the reader will find out how interested they are by the first or second chapter. I found the book fascinating for its close look into social interactions, particularly between two people, and for explaining why i sometimes I think the way that I do. The intuitive process of understanding is one that has made a lot of sense to me, and I am glad this book takes a microscope to that underpinning of society's operation. The examples in the book are relevant, timely and buttress the argument well. Especially the story about the psychologist that has a 90 percent success rate of whether a relationship would last past 7 years. The author's decision to skip a little exposition on detractors from the intuitive system of problem solving was a little disappointing, although I do understand that Blink is not, nor pretends to be a scholarly work. Instead it purports to be a lighthouse for a part of our decision-making that is often ignored in society and stays hidden from our conscious understanding. We often don't know why we like or dislike someone the way we do, and yet we allow that judgment to affect our interaction extremely or waffle endlessly over trying to deny or prove our first impression. How many times do you remember saying " really wanted to like that," that being a dress or a person or a book and how much time has it wasted. Or why it sometimes take only a moment for a person to decide whether or not an idea has merit. Gladwell explores those snap judgments in details, and writes in a readable, approachable way. He is not afraid to tackle some controversial topics.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    I was really expecting more from this book. I've heard mostly good things about Gladwell, and he had a pretty interesting TED talk, and I enjoy almost anything to do with the brain, so...why not? The book certainly brought up a lot of interesting ideas and did a good job of discussing the different elements that go into the snap decisions that we make every day. And it's probably worth a read for many of the stories and experiments related. But for the most part this book really failed to impress I was really expecting more from this book. I've heard mostly good things about Gladwell, and he had a pretty interesting TED talk, and I enjoy almost anything to do with the brain, so...why not? The book certainly brought up a lot of interesting ideas and did a good job of discussing the different elements that go into the snap decisions that we make every day. And it's probably worth a read for many of the stories and experiments related. But for the most part this book really failed to impress. More than that though, it failed at being a coherent analysis of what goes on in the human brain when we make snap judgments. Gladwell alternates between telling us to trust and accept this "mysterious phenomena" that allows us to make these unconscious snap judgments and warning us against the use of these snap judgments. One moment he advises against the idea that we need to slowly collect data and weigh options to make the most informed opinion and provides examples where too much thinking and information leads us astray, and in the next moment gives us examples of how snap judgments sometimes go horribly wrong. And he leaves us with no clear sense of how to use this new found information to make better decisions and judgments in our own lives. Do I trust my insights because my rational brain will fool me, or do I mistrust my instincts because of the inherent bias contained within them? If Gladwell knows he sure didn't tell me. One example of somewhere where I think he didn't analyze the situation enough was when he talked about the Wisconsin Card Sorting task (pick cards from one of two decks, one deck tends towards bad and the other towards good outcomes). He focused solely on how the unconscious mind was aware of the pattern (which deck was bad and which was good) long before the conscious mind was aware of it when making decisions. And this was shown by the fact that sweating occurred when choosing from the "bad" deck before the subject knew why (or was even aware of it). What he fails to mention about all this is that the reason for this is because we are designed to be "risk averse". It is not because we are making brilliant snap judgments, or that our brains have "learned" the rules before we are aware of it. From an evolutionary perspective it pays off more to learn from our mistakes than learn from our victories. Mistakes are costly. This is why bad memories are more salient than happy ones. The sweating that occurs is a physiological indicator of and means of prompting the organism to stay away. It's not even that this explanation is in contradiction to Gladwell's; it is that it IS an explanation for the phenomena Gladwell describes, one easily at Gladwells' disposal. Two other aspects of this book stuck out as major frustrations for me: 1) Gladwell spends a lot of time early on talking about the mysterious nature of our ability to thin slice (make accurate snap judgments based on very little information) and urges us to accept this. To his credit, he does attempt to demystify this somewhat later on, but not enough in my opinion. His first example is of a museum that purchased an expensive sculpture which all the data and scientists evaluated as legitimate, but which experts in the field immediately saw as a fake without being able to put into words why. It's purposefully misleading to label this as some sort of mysterious phenomena. For instance, it's important to remember that these people were experts. An amateur would not and could not make this same snap judgment because they don't have the training to. This ability didn't magically appear, it came from learning and training and synaptic change. These experts learned over time. They studied types of stone, and different styles, and everything else that goes into understanding their field. And this process created memories...synaptic change within their brains. And there exists a system (or systems) in the brain that can make decisions based on that neuronal structure without conscious awareness. Shortcuts so to speak. But these shortcuts are a product of that neuronal structure, which is a product of that synaptic change, which is a product of the learning the individual did over time. It's misleading to call this mysterious. What's important, and more interesting in my opinion, is figuring out the underlying processes that allow this to happen. 2) Towards the end of the book Gladwell discusses how our stress response leads us to make all sorts of bad decisions. He talks about autism and how autistic people can't mind read (don't have theories of other minds) and how this affects their interpretation of events around them and of the world in general. He compares what happens to people in stressful situations to this, that during these situations, because the fight or flight response has taken over, people have tunnel vision and can no longer "read minds" and thus make all sorts of mistakes and bad decisions because they are focusing on the wrong things. My issue is that he, incomprehensibly, makes a literal, as opposed to metaphorical, connection with autism. He argues that during these times we become "temporarily autistic". While it's true that one aspect of our behavior becomes similar to an aspect of an autistic individuals behavior during these times, it seems like a pretty ridiculous statement to make as a broad generalization. He spends quite a bit of time talking about this and I don't think it does anyone any good. In the end I think I was most disappointed by the fact that all the elements to create a good book WERE present here, and the failure is due in large part to how he puts it all together and his ability to analyze all the disparate ideas properly (insert irony here). Evolution has built into us shortcuts to react quickly to stimuli in our environment. Our experience, whether broadly cultural or personal, prunes, enhances, changes those built in shortcuts as we go through life. Some develop as unfair biases towards people of different races. Some develop as we become experts in a subject. Thus some can be trusted and some can't. Our brains can't tell the difference between fact and fiction, only between experience and non experience, and so it's important to be aware of what kind of decision making goes on under the surface and what factors are involved in those decisions so we can be more aware of whether to trust them or not. Other factors can affect decision making, such as our emotional state due to the physiological changes that take place during those times, and this too is important to understand because it radically alters our perception during those times. The most important thing to remember is that experience translates into instinct through synaptic change, and through work and training we can increase the effectiveness of our gut reactions and snap decisions, but due to biases and our altered states during emotional situations those instincts should not always be trusted outright. There you go Malcolm Gladwell, please feel free to use this in the next printing. No citation necessary.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I find this book to say very little in the end, at least, little that is useful or that I can apply. We make split-second judgements. Some people more accurately than others. This does not always mean what we think it means. Okay.... I guess when the subtitle of a book has the words "power" and "thinking" in it ("The Power of Thinking Without Thinking"), I expect to gain something from it. Instead I feel like the author explains all the reasons why we should not be relying on snap judgements, desp I find this book to say very little in the end, at least, little that is useful or that I can apply. We make split-second judgements. Some people more accurately than others. This does not always mean what we think it means. Okay.... I guess when the subtitle of a book has the words "power" and "thinking" in it ("The Power of Thinking Without Thinking"), I expect to gain something from it. Instead I feel like the author explains all the reasons why we should not be relying on snap judgements, despite the fact that some of the time, they are right. I don't find "some" to be very useful. If a person can't rely on first impressions, or what the author refers to as "thin slice" representations of performance or taste, what good is there in talking about it at all? Then I started thinking about why I read this book in the first place. When the new president of the university where I work started, he talked extensively about Malcolm Gladwell. He referenced this book as well as Outliers. I felt like if I read them, I would understand where he was coming from, and some of the changes he has been making. I have to admit that knowing how much of a decision people make in that first moment could have an impact on how a place is marketed. Even if first impressions don't necessarily become our opinions later on, they still have the power to make a decision in a person's mind, for better or for worse. Still, I'm not sure how you can make that work for you. Is it better to be super-sweet Pepsi that people prefer at the first sip, or more popular Coca-Cola which people are more likely to drink an entire bottle/can of, and make a repeat purchase of? I'd rather be Coke. Can you manufacture enough of a Pepsi experience and then also be Coke? That sounds dangerous to me, because I'm not sure you can be both. "People are ignorant of the things that affect their actions, yet they rarely feel ignorant. We need to accept our ignorance and say 'I don't know' more often." "How good people's decisions are under the fast-moving, high-stress conditions of rapid cognition is a function of training and rules and rehearsal." Gladwell does seem to be saying that if you understand the limitations of snap-judgments, you can train yourself to try to lessen bias, prejudice, and incorrect assumptions. It seems to me that the bigger trick is understanding when and how you are doing this to begin with. Write me a book about how to do that, Mr. Gladwell.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tasnim Dewan Orin

    From any psychologist's point of view, this book is full of contradicting psychological facts. Even as a general reader, I find this book says a lot of things but does not actually tell you what it actually wants to address. But I love this book for totally different reasons. Firstly, I love case studies with interesting results written by someone who can write in a way you will find the whole experience exhilarating. Secondly, this guy deserves a five star because he is making less known but th From any psychologist's point of view, this book is full of contradicting psychological facts. Even as a general reader, I find this book says a lot of things but does not actually tell you what it actually wants to address. But I love this book for totally different reasons. Firstly, I love case studies with interesting results written by someone who can write in a way you will find the whole experience exhilarating. Secondly, this guy deserves a five star because he is making less known but thought-provoking scientific studies to a much wider audience. Thirdly, nowhere it is mentioned in the title it is a book which teaches you how to think without thinking so it is completely understandable why it shows us both the advantages and disadvantages of snap decision making and it completely leaves to the reader to decide when to do what. Finally, I love non-fiction which uses a lot of anecdotes to state a fact rather just directly stating the fact it wants to address. I recommend it to anyone who loves to read about interesting psychological studies.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zinta

    Where does it all go, after you are done experiencing the experience, thinking the thought, feeling the feeling? Nothing is ever lost. The subconscious is like a vast warehouse, limitless, in fact, and as Malcolm Gladwell illustrates in Blink, we access all that is stored in that warehouse with every blinking and waking moment. Usually, we call this instant access - gut instinct. Or, the inner voice of wisdom. Instinct, however, is nothing magical or mysterious. It is simply our accumulated and s Where does it all go, after you are done experiencing the experience, thinking the thought, feeling the feeling? Nothing is ever lost. The subconscious is like a vast warehouse, limitless, in fact, and as Malcolm Gladwell illustrates in Blink, we access all that is stored in that warehouse with every blinking and waking moment. Usually, we call this instant access - gut instinct. Or, the inner voice of wisdom. Instinct, however, is nothing magical or mysterious. It is simply our accumulated and stored knowledge over a lifetime. If there was ever an argument for listening to those who have some serious and well-lived years under their belts, this is it. Blink illustrates with numerous and widely varied examples how life experience, the more the better, contributes to our ability to make quick, yet sound decisions. In fact, the quicker, the better. Blink is about what the author calls "thin slicing." He defines this process as the moment of time in which we all make snap judgments. Two seconds, two minutes ... and we make an assessment of a situation or a person or a circumstance. The fascinating thing is - these snap judgments are, more often than not, precise ones. It is when we begin to over analyze and rationalize that we tend to go awry. The trick is to allow the accumulated wisdom rise up and do its magic, trust in it. Then again ... Gladwell never does make a concluding statement in his book, and perhaps it is up to the reader to decide (do it quickly?), but his many fascinating examples and his reports on various studies can lead one to think these snap judgments are the way to go - or, then again, thinker beware. For all the many situations in which that moment of initial wisdom is uncannily precise, there are other times that our deeply ingrained biases muck up the clarity of that process. Gladwell cites data to illustrate how stereotypes, for instance, persist - no matter how gallant our conscious efforts to overcome them. Telling yourself you don't really think what you think simply won't work. Only exposure to experiences, or positive visualizations, will change the false ideas and images our subconscious has absorbed over time. All of which is a strong argument for "garbage in, garbage out." That is, be careful of what entertainment you choose (e.g. pornographic images, violent movies or games, etc.), because no matter how hard your conscious mind tries to guide you toward decisions and behavior that is more appropriate, your subconscious will always, but always win out. The idea of what you present to your eye is what you will later project out to the world is a convincing one, as the author finds himself unable to beat the test on stereotypes when he has to react quickly. Only exposure to more positive images over time can change his test results and dislodge his prejudices. Gladwell discusses this phenomena of instant response-true response in a manner of ways. How patients respond to their doctors (we sue the physician who has a lousy bedside manner, even if more skilled, but remain loyal to the physician who spends as little as three extra minutes talking with us); how facial expressions, when viewed on slowed down video, will without fail, always reveal deceit (there are facial movements that arise from our subconscious that we cannot control, and no matter how quickly we think we have our facial mask in place, there is always that instant that our faces tell the truth); the intricacies of marketing and advertisement and why the obvious ad, even when based on feedback of focus groups, may not be the effective choice; how military decisions by experienced military leaders are successful, but fail miserably when they are constrained by strategic analysis; how micro-managing in workplaces can only lead to mediocrity while suppressing creativity and innovation; how speed dating may be most effective in finding potential lifelong connections (we read about research that can pick out successful, longterm relationships in observing as little as two minutes of interaction between a couple - and no, it isn't the couple that argues that breaks apart); how our societal subconscious biases for certain physical characteristics, such as height or gender, often mislead us to make dangerously faulty snap judgments (Gladwell observes that most of our leaders are tall and male, and that our corporate world pays tall men higher salaries, factoring dollars down to the inch, regardless of intelligence or ability). On and on, in one fascinating example and study after another, Gladwell intrigues with his findings. And you know he's right. You know it ... in your gut. But if the author doesn't make any overall conclusion from all of this fascinating data, then the reader is left to her own wiles. Experience counts more than credentials. What we expose ourselves to on a regular basis molds who we are, how we view others, what choices we make and how we behave. Biases and prejudices are far stronger than our conscious will to overcome them; we must align our environment to align our subconscious. Our deepest self forgets nothing. All we have ever done and been and seen and observed leads to who we are today and tomorrow. All of which gives one pause. But don't pause too long. It is that initial millisecond that may matter most of all.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Zeinahuballah

    Total Waste Of Timee,BorBorBoringgg!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    1 Star - Horrible book. Against my better judgement I gave another one of Malcolm Gladwell's books a try. Oh, what precious reading time I wasted on this book! My feelings on this book are quite similar to how I felt about The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (my review) so I'll keep this review short. My first thought after finishing this was: did I really just read 200+ pages on what is essentially the good and bad of gut reactions? There was nothing new for me here an 1 Star - Horrible book. Against my better judgement I gave another one of Malcolm Gladwell's books a try. Oh, what precious reading time I wasted on this book! My feelings on this book are quite similar to how I felt about The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (my review) so I'll keep this review short. My first thought after finishing this was: did I really just read 200+ pages on what is essentially the good and bad of gut reactions? There was nothing new for me here and that may not entirely be Gladwell's fault but nevertheless I could not enjoy this book. In addition to my lack of interest in the subject matter, I cannot enjoy the author's writing style. I feel he meanders and that there are so many unfinished thoughts and ideas. It drove me crazy! By the end of the book I was frustrated and upset. I recommend this book to no one.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rohit Enghakat

    Blink is an interesting read. The book is about making decisions in the blink of an eye, to be precise. The author says that decisions which are made instantly are far more fruitful than those made with long drawn research and logical thinking. He cites many examples which are also interesting to read. For example, the description of the Amadou Diallo incident where police officers shot an unarmed black immigrant in New York with forty-one bullets was stunning. Equally interesting was the last e Blink is an interesting read. The book is about making decisions in the blink of an eye, to be precise. The author says that decisions which are made instantly are far more fruitful than those made with long drawn research and logical thinking. He cites many examples which are also interesting to read. For example, the description of the Amadou Diallo incident where police officers shot an unarmed black immigrant in New York with forty-one bullets was stunning. Equally interesting was the last example of Abbie Connant playing the trombone traditionally played by a male in the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. However, somehow the theory did not appeal to me. It is almost akin to relying on sixth sense, although the author tries to prove this scientifically. The book might appeal more to psychologists or psychiatrists.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Blink is an elegant 5 Star piece of science writing, dealing with how we think and chose in an instant. We make snap decisions based on experience or some other basis. Sometimes that is good and sometimes not. There are many good reviews so I am not going to spend more time on a review. What I will point out are two examples of how this book remains relevant today. First example is the recent campaign by Coca-Cola to sell specially colored white/silver cans of Coke over the 2011-2012 winter seaso Blink is an elegant 5 Star piece of science writing, dealing with how we think and chose in an instant. We make snap decisions based on experience or some other basis. Sometimes that is good and sometimes not. There are many good reviews so I am not going to spend more time on a review. What I will point out are two examples of how this book remains relevant today. First example is the recent campaign by Coca-Cola to sell specially colored white/silver cans of Coke over the 2011-2012 winter season to support “the plight of the polar bears.” Now, regardless of what you think about the motivation, the Cokeheads didn’t do their homework very well. In the book, Gladwell gives an example of a time 7-UP changed the shade of their green can and people complained that they had changed the taste. The 7-UP folks had simply changed the outside of the can, not the inside. Well, the very same thing happened to Coke. People started complaining the taste of regular Coke was different and sales started to go down. Well, astute businessmen that they are, the Cokies changed back to the normal red can ahead of schedule and sales went right back up, complaints went away. A simple reading of this book could have avoided this little mixup. (Coke continued the campaign to support the polar bears, or rather, the enviro’s who claim special concern over the bears plight). Another example is when I saw this principle in action. I was in the hospital recovery room after my son had an operation. A older couple was at another station as the wife was also recovering. One of the nurses offered her a soda and she asked for a Diet Coke. Well, the nurse reached into the small refrig and pulled out what looked like a Diet Coke but was really one of the special white/silver regular Coke cans. Only at the very last moment did the wife notice it wasn’t a diet drink. The thing is she is a diabetic and the sugary regular Coke would not have been good for her. Again, a brief glance resulted in a snap decision that could have been a real problem. Had the human factors folks at Coke read this book, maybe they would have noted this. I like Gladwell. He explains science simply and makes me feel smarter than I really am. Thanks dude.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hirdesh

    3.5 stars. Review to come. It wasn;t upto the mark as I had expected.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Celia

    This is a book about intuition: when it is right and when it can be fatally WRONG. I was impressed with all that was said in this book and am still thinking about why!! In the meantime, my husband stole my copy, so before I really get into why, I will have to steal it back!! I did listen to this book as well. It is narrated by the author. Malcolm Gladwell is a great speaker with a properly modulated voice and sympathetic tone.

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