Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

By Malcolm Gladwell
Binding:Paperback
Publisher:Back Bay Books, (4/3/2007)
Language:English



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2.50 out of 5 (2 Clubie's ratings)


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In his #1 bestseller The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell redefined how we understand the world around us. In BLINK, he revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. How do we make decisions--good and bad--and why are some people so much better at it than others? That's the question Malcolm Gladwell asks and answers in BLINK. Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, examining case studies as diverse as speed dating, pop music, and the New Coke, Gladwell shows how the difference between good decision making and bad has nothing to do with how much information we can process quickly, but rather with the few particular details on which we focus. BLINK displays all of the brilliance that has made Malcolm Gladwell's journalism so popular and his books such perennial bestsellers as it reveals how all of us can become better decision makers--in our homes, our offices, and in everyday life.
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"Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking"
By Malcolm Gladwell

Average Rating:
Mildly Unleashable
2.50 out of 5 (2 Clubie's ratings)


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Amazon.com Review
Blink is about the first two seconds of looking--the decisive glance that knows in an instant. Gladwell, the best-selling author of The Tipping Point, campaigns for snap judgments and mind reading with a gift for translating research into splendid storytelling. Building his case with scenes from a marriage, heart attack triage, speed dating, choking on the golf course, selling cars, and military maneuvers, he persuades readers to think small and focus on the meaning of "thin slices" of behavior. The key is to rely on our "adaptive unconscious"--a 24/7 mental valet--that provides us with instant and sophisticated information to warn of danger, read a stranger, or react to a new idea.

Gladwell includes caveats about leaping to conclusions: marketers can manipulate our first impressions, high arousal moments make us "mind blind," focusing on the wrong cue leaves us vulnerable to "the Warren Harding Effect" (i.e., voting for a handsome but hapless president). In a provocative chapter that exposes the "dark side of blink," he illuminates the failure of rapid cognition in the tragic stakeout and murder of Amadou Diallo in the Bronx. He underlines studies about autism, facial reading and cardio uptick to urge training that enhances high-stakes decision-making. In this brilliant, cage-rattling book, one can only wish for a thicker slice of Gladwell's ideas about what Blink Camp might look like. --Barbara Mackoff --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. 

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Best-selling author Gladwell (The Tipping Point) has a dazzling ability to find commonality in disparate fields of study. As he displays again in this entertaining and illuminating look at how we make snap judgments—about people's intentions, the authenticity of a work of art, even military strategy—he can parse for general readers the intricacies of fascinating but little-known fields like professional food tasting (why does Coke taste different from Pepsi?). Gladwell's conclusion, after studying how people make instant decisions in a wide range of fields from psychology to police work, is that we can make better instant judgments by training our mind and senses to focus on the most relevant facts—and that less input (as long as it's the right input) is better than more. Perhaps the most stunning example he gives of this counterintuitive truth is the most expensive war game ever conducted by the Pentagon, in which a wily marine officer, playing "a rogue military commander" in the Persian Gulf and unencumbered by hierarchy, bureaucracy and too much technology, humiliated American forces whose chiefs were bogged down in matrixes, systems for decision making and information overload. But if one sets aside Gladwell's dazzle, some questions and apparent inconsistencies emerge. If doctors are given an algorithm, or formula, in which only four facts are needed to determine if a patient is having a heart attack, is that really educating the doctor's decision-making ability—or is it taking the decision out of the doctor's hands altogether and handing it over to the algorithm? Still, each case study is satisfying, and Gladwell imparts his own evident pleasure in delving into a wide range of fields and seeking an underlying truth. 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. 

From Bookmarks Magazine
Gladwell, the author of 2000’s The Tipping Point, reaches to create another popular intellectual phenomenon by overturning received wisdom about how we make decisions. As in his articles for The New Yorker, where he works as a staff writer, the anecdotes throughout Blink are lively and entertaining. But the sheer quantity of stories about everything from sip tasters for Coca-Cola and the Pepsi challenge to gut reactions to "fake" art overwhelms the main theme of the book; many critics feel Gladwell isn’t entirely sure what his theme is. David Brooks of The New York Times Book Review sums up the critical consensus nicely: "If you want to trust my snap judgment, buy this book: you’ll be delighted. If you want to trust my more reflective second judgment, buy it: you’ll be delighted but frustrated, troubled and left wanting more."

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. 

From Booklist
Gladwell writes about subtle yet crucial behavioral phenomena with lucidity and contagious enthusiasm. His first book, The Tipping Point(2000), became a surprise best-seller. Here he brilliantly illuminates an aspect of our mental lives that we utterly rely on yet rarely analyze, namely our ability to make snap decisions or quick judgments. Adept at bridging the gap between everyday experience and cutting-edge science, Gladwell maps the "adaptive unconscious," the facet of mind that enables us to determine things in the blink of an eye. He then cites many intriguing examples, such as art experts spontaneously recognizing forgeries; sports prodigies; and psychologist John Gottman's uncanny ability to divine the future of marriages by watching videos of couples in conversation. Such feats are based on a form of rapid cognition called "thin-slicing," during which our unconscious "draws conclusions based on very narrow 'slices' of experience." But there is a "dark side of blink," which Gladwell illuminates by analyzing the many ways in which our instincts can be thwarted, and by presenting fascinating, sometimes harrowing, accounts of skewed market research, surprising war-game results, and emergency-room diagnoses and police work gone tragically wrong. Unconscious knowledge is not the proverbial light bulb, he observes, but rather a flickering candle. Gladwell's groundbreaking explication of a key aspect of human nature is enlightening, provocative, and great fun to read. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. 

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About the Author
Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He was formerly a business and science reporter at the Washington Post


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