Blink

…by Malcolm Gladwell.

Blink – the power of thinking without thinking is a book about how, more times than not, our first impressions, gut feeling, intuition can be more accurate than the logical, rational analysis we do before making a decision. It is about the subconscious mind that helps us in processing the clues we perceive to help us make come to a conclusion. Although our gut feelings can just be as helpful as putting the time into researching and analyzing the issue, the author says, we underestimate its power because, often times, we can’t come up with a logical explanation as to why we feel the way we do.

The book has several examples and details about psychology research experiments that were conducted in the past to supports the authors claim about how the decisions we make in the blink of an eye can be much precise than the ones we take the time to provide a rational explanation. The book has stories about people in high pressure jobs – surgeons, doctors, war commanders, policemen, etc. – how their jobs can be demanding, how they are constantly required to make decisions without much time to study the problem, how these people in stressful situations depend more on their intuition to make high-level decisions than anything else. Their intuition or gut feeling is refined over time with more experience and exposure.

The book also discusses the downside of coming to a conclusion in a split second. We, as human beings, are built with prejudices and stereotypes. Even though we may strive hard to look past these, it is still present in a subconscious level and might play a big role while we are to make a decision. There are examples in the book of real life incidents to highlight this point.

Given that I don’t have much psychology or any background on how the human mind works, I found this book a pleasure to read. Every point the author makes is properly discussed with examples and experiments, which makes it an easy and enjoyable read. Also, the book is informative because it talks about how much goes on in the background when a decision is made. And, to top it all, Gladwell’s writing style is easy to comprehend and follow.

I was told by a few people that The Tipping Point, another book by the author, is a much more interesting and better read…and that compared to that book, this one didn’t stand up to the standards. But since I read this first, I’m going to say I loved reading Blink. It was though-provoking and entertaining. I’m going to start reading The Tipping Point next.

So, overall, both the author and the book are highly recommended.

My rating: 4*.

*for the rating scale, click here.

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5 comments on “Blink

  1. Sounds like an interesting book and so different from what I believe: Do not always rely on gut/feelings. In fact, one of the things we are taught in rational-emotive behaviour therapy is ’emotional reasoning’ is an irrational/unhelpful way of thinking. Will try and get my hands on this one…

    • Titaxy says:

      Well the thing is (as I understood from the book) gut feelings, intuitions are not totally “emotional” reasoning. There is a lot that goes on in the sub-conscious…with all the data that we have stored over years of experience, the stereotypes and stuff…there is a lot of behind the scene things that happen with all this data and that’s what leads to the decision we make in a blink of an eye.

      Do read the book when you get a chance and lemme know what you think.

  2. Sri says:

    Yes, both Tipping Point and Blink are 2 good thought-provoking books – I would recommend them to a Reader any day!

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