Sunday, January 11, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell



ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

In his landmark bestseller The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell redefined how we understand the world around us. Now, in Blink, he revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant-in the blink of an eye-that actually aren't as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work-in the office, in the classroom, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others? In Blink we meet the psychologist who has learned to predict whether a marriage will last, based on a few minutes of observing a couple; the tennis coach who knows when a player will double-fault before the racket even makes contact with the ball; the antiquities experts who recognize a fake at a glance. Here, too, are great failures of "blink": the election of Warren Harding; "New Coke"; and the shooting of Amadou Diallo by police. Blink reveals that great decision makers aren't those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of "thin-slicing"-filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables.

MY REVIEW:

I found this book fascinating -- an incredible amount of information in just 250-ish pages.  It is worth reading just for that.  Basically, Gladwell talks about how our unconscious mind knows what we are thinking/feeling long before we can even verbalize what is going on inside of our head.  He tells a number of stories that illustrate this phenomenon, including an experiment with gamblers, a true situation with art curators and a number of stories about police officers.

Overall, I feel the delivery is lacking in that Gladwell never really discusses what we can do to overcome our unconscious biases and make better decisions?  The final chapter discusses this, kind of, but I don't feel that it lives up to what the synopsis implies the book is really about.

Regardless, it is a fascinating read, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about how our minds work.