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Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking [Paperback]

Malcolm Gladwell
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 April 2007
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.


Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1 edition (3 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316010669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316010665
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 887,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer with The New Yorker magazine since 1996. In 2005 he was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. He is the author of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005) and most recently, Outliers (2008) all three of which were number one New York Times bestsellers.

Product Description

Amazon Review

: For Blink, Malcolm Gladwell, author of the bestselling The Tipping Point explores the extraordinarily perceptive and deceptive power of the sub-conscious mind. Gladwell’s major claim is that decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as a decision made cautiously and deliberately. What we are actually doing is what Gladwell calls ‘thin-slicing’. When we leap to a decision or have a hunch our unconscious is sifting through the situation in front of us looking for a pattern, throwing out the irrelevant information and zeroing in on what really matters. Our unconscious mind is so good at this that it often delivers a better answer than more deliberate and protracted ways of thinking. Much of this is utterly mysterious but some of the most astonishing and useful examples of thin-slicing can be learned.

 

Gladwell hopes to convince us that our snap judgements and first impressions can be educated and controlled so instead of merely praising the mysterious process of instinct and intuition he is interested in those moments when our instincts betray us, the situations where our powers of rapid cognition can go awry, where we fail to read the signs. Most disturbing of all is the degree to which culturally determined preconceptions and prejudices control us. Without reducing matters to racism and sexism Gladwell shows us that there are facts about people’s appearance—their size or shape or color or sex—that can trigger a very similar set of powerful associations which explains why utter mediocrities (such as U.S. President Warren Harding) can sometimes end up in positions of enormous responsibility; or why tall people earn substantially more than their shorter colleagues; or why car salesmen unconsciously charge prices according to race and gender.

 

Gladwell’s conversational prose style is concise, informative, accessible and entertaining. The stories, scientific findings and psychological tests are consistently surprising whether he is dealing with speed-dating, record promotions, police shoot-outs, the human face, or the reasons doctors get sued. --Larry Brown END --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Brilliant (OBSERVER )

For Blink, Malcolm Gladwell, author of the bestselling The Tipping Point explores the extraordinarily perceptive and deceptive power of the sub-conscious mind. Gladwell's major claim is that decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as a decis (Gladwell hopes to convince us that our snap judgements and first impressions can be educated and controlled so instead of merely praising the mysterious process of instinct and intuition he is interested in those moments when our instincts betray us, the ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
127 of 132 people found the following review helpful
By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Gladwell certainly writes well and entertainingly about an interesting subject - but as each new chapter started I began by thinking 'right, NOW we are going to have some advances, NOW the arguments are going to be explored and developed,' and basically, they never were. The book said what it had to say really within the first couple of chapters, with examples of where 'thin-slicing' worked, and examples of where it didn't.

In the end, what it came down to was 'well here are situations whereby 'intuition' or a snap response as opposed to an overload of information wins out' - and whoops, 'here we have situations where people have made some very serious errors of judgement because they have worked from gut feelings that are actually prejudiced, and their 'unconcious biases' have been lethal.' And here are some more examples of these situations. And here are even more examples. And - well here are a few more.

But the book as a whole didn't really go anywhere.
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85 of 91 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This book seems unfinished 14 Feb 2005
Format:Hardcover
I am slightly disappointed with this book. As a reader who really enjoyed Gladwell's previous book 'The Tipping Point' I had looked forward to his new book. In some respects the book is like I hoped it would be: the topic choice is very interesting, the writing style is smooth and entertaining, the many anecdotes are very enjoyable and there are some interesting descriptions of experiments. Anyone should be able to pick up some interesting stories, points, facts and views from this book.
What disappoints me though is that the book does not really deliver what it promises. In the introduction chapter the author promises to answer three questions: 1) Can Blink-descisions be as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately, 2) When should we trust our instincts and when should we be wary of them?, 3) (how) can our snap judgments and first impressions be educated and controlled? Although the many stories in the book certainly imply many clues to answers to these questions, explicit answers to these three questions are not clearly given. In fact, when I finished reading I felt like the author had forgotten to include an concluding and integrating chapter in which he would explicitly answer these questions and summarize and conclude. But that chapter is really missing. Due to that the book really lacks clarity.
Although this book is disappointing I won't stop following Gladwell's writings. His previous book was better than this one and I'll bethis next one will be better too.
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69 of 74 people found the following review helpful
By Nelkin
Format:Paperback
Blink is well-written with a fluent, enjoyable style, and is full of amusing vignettes to catch your interest. By the end, though, I was a little confused as to when it's okay to 'thin-slice', and when the author thinks we shouldn't. Gladwell introduces us to experts who can marshal their knowledge and experience of their subject to make reliable snap judgements in the blink of an eye. Then we meet other experts whose immense knowledge actually becomes clutter that gets in the way of reliable quick decision-making. And then we have anti-experts whose disdain for academic and theoretical knowledge enables them to come out tops in the thin-slicing stakes. And then we have the complete know-nothings of our world who, not surprisingly, guess wrongly about more or less everything.

And so the roundabout turns, all through the book. If you're seeing a pattern in all of it, then you're doing better than me.

I was particularly irritated by a section in chapter six where Gladwell toys with a concept he calls "temporary autism." He is examining the question of why, in extreme life-threatening situations, sometimes 'thin-slicing' works and sometimes it has disastrous consequences. Sometimes a police officer fires a gun at an armed criminal and saves the lives of innocent people; other times they shoot an innocent person and end up in court on a murder charge. In such fight-or-flight situations, an increase in heart-rate sends our bodies into a kind of survival mode -- that is, our nervous systems basically close down anything that isn't essential to dealing with the immediate crisis.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blink - and you'll miss it. 8 Mar 2005
By I. Curry VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
I suppose it all depends on the requirements of the audience. As a piece of science/psychology writing for the uninitiated it makes for some interesting reading. It is well written, grippingly interspersed with anecdotes and stories. Any one who enjoys popular science will find interest in the book.
Anyone who is looking for a more coherent and developed scientific statement may be disappointed. The various stories and experiences do not seem to mesh into an overly convincing thesis. The whole is not made any more convincing by the sprinkling of academic findings.
But it remains an interesting work, potentially much more groundbreaking, but needing a more comprehensive and unified theory at the heart.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Blink and you'll miss it 20 Jan 2006
Format:Hardcover
I don't exaggerate when I tell you that there's a ground-breaking two-page essay in there struggling to get out. Some day a book will be really written about this topic, and will cover such ideas as what fast cognition is, how it relates to thought, how to do it, how to make it conscious, how to recognize when you're doing it wrong, with practical lessons. Unfortunately, this 200-page pile of belaboured anecdotes is not that book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and entertaining read, but would have been better as an...
This was the first book I have read from Malcolm Gladwell.

While it is an interesting and entertaining book, by the end of it I could not help but think it would have... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Dr. Onuseit
5.0 out of 5 stars The Auto Pilot in your head, explained
Looking at things from a different angle and explaining why we should in a very conciece way. A good well put together read.
Published 23 days ago by Jack K
4.0 out of 5 stars An insightful book
I bought the ebook version and found this book full of insightful experiences by the author to demonstrate how we should not be thinking things through to much. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Daniel Jenkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Blink is another great Malcolm Gladwell book
Blink is another great Malcolm Gladwell book. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking. It looks at the choices we seem to be made in an instant but how in fact they are... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Christopher J. Cowen
5.0 out of 5 stars Gladwell is a genius
Really interesting read. I keep re reading it. There is so much in there and so much you can apply to your own life. Malcolm Gladwell is a genius
Published 1 month ago by Annabel
5.0 out of 5 stars as expected great book
As expected from Gladwell, he delivers another great book. Full of life changing example. A great book for all times.
Published 1 month ago by haleemmod
3.0 out of 5 stars Just the basics
An interesting read but nothing ground-breaking. Lot's of stories and examples but never managing to get to the roots of the subject. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Poohbarr
5.0 out of 5 stars Style meets substance
Gladwell makes politics and business entertaining. I'm an Irish guy and this New Yorker taught me a few things about my own country that I didn't know. Thank you. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Darren Kelly
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read.
Well written and very readable. The writer wamrs to his subject as he moves on. A very fascinating read indeed.
Published 2 months ago by Stevieboy
2.0 out of 5 stars So obvious was it worth writing a book about this?
I kept waiting for the big revelation but it never comes. Yes sometimes an instant intuitive response is the right one and sometimes it isn't. O-kay... Read more
Published 2 months ago by UK Screenwriter
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