My first book review that I blogged, was The Tipping Point. The second book that Gladwell brings us is Blink.

Blink takes a look at rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye.

I had been introduced to the idea of 'thin-slicing' previously as 'filters' your brain has for what it will and won't take notice of. I can't remember where but I suspect I've just supported the point of the book!

I believe the author's research and assessment of 'blinking' was quite balanced - both the positive and negative views on it - but in taking a look online at the commentary about the book, I marvel at how it appears so many people seem to have absorbed only half the book.

For instance: I don't agree with the Wikipedia comment: "he finds that experts often make better decisions with snap judgments than they do with volumes of analysis". I think Gladwell did suggest in some cases this can be true, but I don't think that's all he suggested, rather, that once we're aware of a situation and the influential forces acting in that situation we can leverage our experience to short-cut much of that analysis. I'd content you had to have done some of that analysis at least once (i.e. study) to fully understand the situation and therefore be able to more rapidly assess it, but I don't think you can forgo that study completely.

As Gladwell writes on his website: "It's thinking--its just thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious decision-making that we usually associate with 'thinking'".

Interestingly, in writing this blog I came across the book Think, which from the looks of things takes offence at half the argument (the positive aspects of 'blinking') and mounts the opposing argument on the 'snap judgement' front. Given my view is that Gladwell didn't really make the point that we should all just start being lazy with our brains and instead try to understand and harness this power, I'll be skipping Think. Having said that, I'm sure Gladwell is pleased that someone has taken the time to put up an opposing view (assuming they didn't merely attempt to crudely capitalise on his success).

At the very least, you should take away from this book a better understanding of the process your mind goes through when you 'judge that book by it's cover'.

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posted by Lee Gale @ 4:06 PM,


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