After a severe lack of commitment to getting this blog up and running due to various factors im feeling revitalised to kick this into gear and share my experiences with you, so i thought today i’d do another book review
Entitled Blink and authored by Malcolm Gladwell (a well renowned author of other works such as ‘Outliers’ and ‘Tipping Point’) Blink discusses an interest concept of rapid cognition and the unconscious thinking that takes place within the first few seconds of an encounter. In essence, Blink explores the idea of intuition through a key concept Gladwell has coined as ‘thin-splicing’. Thin splicing refers to our ability to gauge the importance of something by filtering information that can sometimes be dense and diluting it to the core in order to make a snap judgement. This is a process that happens very quickly and may also be something we are totally unaware of. Gladwell also goes onto explain that sometimes these decisions may be just as good or even better then a well thought out solution.
Gladwell opens the book with the story of the Getty Kouros, a story of the authenticity of a famous greek statute and the experts ill feeling upon laying their eyes on it for the first time. This initial judgement from experts ended up being correct as opposed to the museums months of background checks. From Gladwell is giving the notions that in our brains there is a process working subconsciously creating snap judgements that could be even be more reliable then our normal drawn out rational deduction. Essentially a hidden potential that we are all unaware of, ah and now you can see why this book is so well known and has sold quite a lot of copies, in the self-help world this is a golden nugget.
Many more intriguing stories are shifted through by Gladwell all providing further in sight into our own intuition. Gladwell explores the stories of the ethiopian musician Kenna and why he flopped in the market after being such a hit with the music executives, Paul Van Ripper an officer of the Marine Corp and the Millenium Challenge of 2002 that ended up costing the government a quarter of a billion dollars. The shooting of Amadou Diallo and Herman Miller’s Aeron chair just to name a few. Gladwell invites us to try activities such as the Coke and Pepsi taste test to further illustrate the associations our brain makes when making these decisions, in fact anyone interested in product marketing would be fascinated by the pages on the story of ‘new’ coke and how consumers fail to differentiate between product and packaging. On the topic of associations the brain makes, one thing that will stick with me is Gladwell’s reference to the association tests conducted by harvard, and if like me you think you hold no prejudices, you could be in for a rude shock.
Despite the fact that all these stories are wonderfully engaging, a criticism that needs to be made of the book is Gladwell’s saturation of anecdotes and lack of actual scientific evidence to support them which detract from the point he is trying to make, especially the rather bold claims he makes particularly in the chapters dedicated to mind reading at times seem straight out of the paranormal.
However all in this book is truly an interesting read and there could definitely be things to be learned from how Gladwell explores the inner workings our subconscious and because of that i say it’s definitely worth a read.
If you’d like to check it out i’ll leave a link below it’s my affiliate link, obviously you don’t have to use it but i’d definitely appreciate it: