52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read... until the ending doesn't materialize
Extremely interesting book with insightful theories on why and how we make decisions. Unfortunately, you don't find out until the disappointing end that the "chapters" were independent essays. As with most books, I looked forward to finding out how the author will wrap everything up and tie the stories together in the end. Apparently, Gladwell either didn't feel...
Published on Jun 23 2005
62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informed Intuition Beats Analysis and Knee-Jerk Prejudices
Like The Tipping Point, Blink has a very simple point which it elaborates from a variety of perspectives. In this case, the point is that our subconscious mind can integrate small, subtle clues to very quickly make great decisions . . . as long as we have been trained to know what clues to focus on.
In developing that simple idea, Mr. Gladwell makes the case...
Published on July 15 2006 by Donald Mitchell
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I highly recommend this book.,
This book is a must read as it clearly presents the role that your unconscious mind plays in decision making. A role that is often discounted and replaced by detailed analytical analysis. In the blink of an eye, your unconscious mind is able to give you insights about a specific situation or object. You may not be able to articulate these insights or justify them to others. However, they are often correct. The author describes a psychologist who can predict whether a marriage will last based on a few minutes observing the couple. This analysis is based on what is called "thin slicing" - focusing on the few factors that are critical, without over analyzing. Indeed, great decision makers are often those who have perfected the art of "thin slicing".
However, the author also points out situations where your unconscious mind can lead you astray. For example when you have been culturally conditioned to believe in a certain way or where you have been conditioned to make certain associations. The author illustrates how people who are not racist, including blacks, can be unconsciously biased (slightly, but enough to make a difference) against blacks.
If you are a police officer, thinking of becoming one or know someone who is, you will find Chapter Six: The Delicate Art of Mind Reading very interesting.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give Blink More Than Just a Quick Glance.,
The author teaches how to get in touch with what our unconscious may have perceived, so that we can make more reliable decisions about whether to go ahead into certain situations, or whom and what to trust. He shares case studies, such that you can see that this is not some random untested theory of his, but rather, that his conclusions are based on reliable, reproducible data.
Blink has helped me to identify and trust my instincts more, freeing me from the paralysis of ever-waffling decision-making. I feel more confident in my decisions now, and find myself happier with the choices I am making.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the most fascinating books I have read.,
The concept of "thin slicing" is dissected and explained. What I found fascinating, and also common sense, is that we process information on a subconscious level, "behind the door", and process so holistically that to over analyze can actually hinder our ability to make decisions.
Several key points are applicable in business. One of the in depth studies looked at a military leader who was particularly successful. One of his more poignant observations was that a great leader needs to let the people do their work. When deciding how often to follow up "you are diverting them, now they are looking upward instead of downward. You are preventing them from resolving the situation". (Page 118) Further "allowing people to operate without having to explain themselves constantly ... enables rapid cognition" (Page 119). It seems that most micro-management actually prevents people from successful decision making.
Another strange phenomenon occurs when we try and explain how we come to some conclusions. It seems that the more we try to analyze how we come to some conclusions the less reliable they become.
The ability to absorb and detect minute changes in facial expressions allows us to essentially "read minds" if we pay attention. There are several chapters on how reliable we can be in predicting behavior with very little information.
Overall, this book is so well written that I had a hard time putting it down. My only compliant, and it is a minor one, is that the book just ends. No summary or wrap up, just "boom", it's over. However, that is more a testament to how engaging the book is I suppose. Another book worth looking at is " The Quest " by Giorgio Kostantinos. Highly recommended!
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Engaging, and Genuinely Eye opening. Typical Gladwell.,
This review is from: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (Paperback)Years ago, Legendary NBA Coach (recently retired) Phil Jackson started handing out books to his players, to rectify any flaws or hone any mental aspects of the game in the offseason. If a player had a problem with his jumpshot or defense, that could be rectified in practice, but if a player had an overarching attitude problem, or consistency problem, maybe that would have to be rectified with reading, and contemplation. And so, as far back as the Chicago Bulls era, Phil was handing out what he thought were great books, each one suited for each unique player's game, personality and weaknesses.
A few years ago, I remember hearing he gave 'Blink' to Kobe Bryant. Kobe, more than anything, has been known for these insane last second buzzer beater shots. He's taken tons of them. And if you factor in all the shots he missed, frankly, his hit/miss ratio isn't even that good. As the leader and captain on the team, he keeps finding himself with the ball in his hands at the end of games, and usually, he can get a shot off. Phil knew that Kobe was under incredible pressure late in games, in moments where every millisecond counts, and that's why he gave Kobe this book. If Kobe could just stop thinking altogether, he'd know exactly what to do. What could you improve if you could switch off your mind in the clutch?
This review is going to sound like a Coda to the Steve Jobs book from last week. It just turned out that way. Steve, time and time again, relied on his intuition, laying waste to months and months of work, design, coding, budgets etc. What is our Intuition, really, and why is it so damn smart (at some things), if our senses and hunches seem, at first, so vague?
First, let's go back to early stages of Man's evolution. We know that at some point, we were moving around, we were mobile, and we probably travelled in packs and tribes. How did early Man communicate? I can only speculate that there were a lot of visual signals (pointing, imitating large animals, etc), sniffing, tasting, yelling, whimpering, and so on. In other words, even if you toss the spoken word completely, you're still left with 5 senses, and those can still be employed to communicate (as a modern analogue, pro sports works, as does Improv Theatre, as Gladwell highlights in the book). Just look at a baby: the baby doesn't know what's going on, but instinctually does certain things to get what she wants. She's communicating at primitive levels. And we humans, in the modern era, do a weird thing: We teach ourselves to talk, to read, to study. We even learn thousands of very specific words to describe the world around us. Many of us even learn multiple languages. But if you really think about it, from Shakespeare to Stephen King, writing, at its best, is attempting to describe indescribable things. Writing and speaking, are, by their very nature, bastardizations, muddled, rough, approximations of pure thought and feeling. Verbal and written communication is inherently unclear and abstracted. So where am I going with this? Body language and instinctive forms of communication are pure, and it's that 'language' we have to relearn, if we want to read systems and situations holistically. There is holistic communication going on, whether we like or not, it's just a matter of understanding the signals.
Kobe Bryant dribbling up the floor with 11 seconds on the clock, down by three, isn't thinking (we hope) logically, but watching the floor for the tiniest of gaps, perhaps even noticing which of the opposing players is breathing heavily, or limping slightly. Where is the weak point?
Why do some electronics companies spend so much time trying to design beautiful packaging, that seems to cradle the device like a precious jewel? Ultimately the packaging is going to be thrown out, right? The answer is that more companies are realizing that the whole experience of using a product contributes to the 'Customer Satisfaction Rating' and if you push up that rating high enough, you get a sense of what kind of high price you can charge. That's perceived value. Visual, auditory, olifactory (eg. New Car Smell); it's obvious that all senses contribute, but perhaps those senses about a product, about a person, about a situation, are the most important of all.
Over and over again, we chastize ourselves for 'judging' people who dress like hoodlums, or look a little rough around the edges, but ultimately, aren't we just battling our own inner intuition? When we sit down to lunch with our high school friends, and one of them is wearing a beautiful gold watch, we subconsciously attribute positive traits to him, suddenly our minds start turning: 'How did he afford that?', 'What did he say he did for a living? Something financial?' We intuitively know everything we need to know about this person in just a few seconds, as long as we ignore everything we think we know, and listen to what our senses are telling us. Yes it's tricky. It's tricky because people often lie to us to improve their outward image/appearance. Toss out the company line, read the body, and the truth is right there, staring you in the face.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff,
This review is from: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (Paperback)Brand new book, fairly price, got the book two weeks after I paid for it, little slower than I expected but everything else is perfect.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Storytelling - Less applicable than Outliers,
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Detailed Look at Quick Thinking,
This review is from: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (Paperback)Everyone makes snap judgments about people, places, and events. Sometimes those judgments are correct, other times not. But what if you're forced to make a big decision in a matter of seconds? What processes in your brain help you make that decision, and how do you prevent bad decisions from happening?
Through fascinating studies and real life examples, Malcom Gladwell explores these concepts and much more in this book. As Gladwell states, there are three purposes to the book. First, to show that quick decisions can be just as good as decisions made after slow, careful deliberation. Second, to identify when we should trust our instincts and when we should be wary of them; and third, to persuade the reader that snap judgments and first impressions can be educated and controlled.
To demonstrate Gladwell's points, plenty of pages are devoted to studies and examples that made the book sound like a marketing textbook at times. Descriptions of the many types of facial expressions were so detailed that it became monotonous. Also, I would have liked more tips about how to control snap decisions, but the book certainly gave me a better understanding of why and how first impressions are made. Having said this, Blink is a worthwhile read, and the concepts will compel you to reevaluate those snap decisions you make in your life.
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas, fun to read and what not,
This review is from: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (Paperback)I found out about this book after reading one of Seth Godin's Books (All marketers are liars). In the afterword he mentions how Gladwell is quite interesting. Having enjoyed 4 Godin books I thought I'd read this.
It was an interesting book, with many fun to read "case studies" as I'd like to call them.
If you are at all into psychology or enjoy marketing, then this books is for you
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doh!,
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last! a twist to the old marketing idea (and other human topics)!,
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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell (Paperback - Dec 4 2006)
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