The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Book - 2005
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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.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316172325
Branch Call Number: 153 .44 GLA
Characteristics: viii, 277 p. ;,22 cm


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Aug 22, 2018

Overall the book is pretty interesting and there are some good stories in it. Reading about how quickly you can determine if a doctor will get sued is interesting, but reading all the small details in the stories that don't need to be there can get tiresome. Sometimes the book feels like it repeats itself, which can get a bit boring. The part about the researchers practicing moving every muscle in the face was a little much, I almost stopped reading at that point, but I am glad I carried on to finish the book. Other than that, there is a lot of interesting information, and Malcolm Gladwell does a good job at telling the stories.

Jul 11, 2018

"Blink" and "Tipping Point" provide useful, interesting information which most of us learned in high school or early college. The basic information is still relevant, but the author could make this much more interesting by updating the supporting true stories with current ones. I skipped through prolonged descriptions, as the point was already clear.

Andrew Kyle Bacon
Jun 02, 2018

Blink is an extraordinary book that deals with the millisecond between you first seeing something and consciously deciding what you think about it. Reading other reviews I find that some, mostly those in this particular field of unconscious decision making, find the book overly simple. I think that largely misses the point. Gladwell does not intend to educate someone, nor to make them an expert in the field of snap-judgements. The whole purpose of the book is to make us think about something we never think about: not thinking. The book gets tied up in Gladwell's personal opinions on the subject matter, but how can it not? He's an author trying to sort through something he isn't an expert on and he makes that known. The point is to introduce us to this world, to something we've never considered, and allow us to then go through the same journey he experienced.

I have a funny story about this admittedly. I'm currently enrolled in Gladwell's MasterClass, and I signed up for it without having read any of his work. I had watched a TEDTalk video of his, but never read anything he had written. As I sorted through his books, I struggled to find one that grabbed my attention. This one seemed interesting, but the subtitle, "The Power of Thinking Without Thinking," made the book seem like one of those ridiculous self-help books. But I decided to give it a shot and read it. I'm glad I did. The reason I say that story is funny is because it is the very thing this book is about. I looked at the book, read what it was about, and my gut-reaction said that I wanted to read it. It was also after going introspective and pondering over the book, after looking at the subtitle, that I had second thoughts and reconsidered.

Thank fully the millisecond, gut-reaction won out and I picked the book up, because it was well worth the read. Is it overly simple at times? Probably although I certainly can't say for certain. But is it endlessly fascinating and filled with factoids that will have your mind racing about their possibilities? Absolutely.

Apr 01, 2018

This book reveals a number of fascinating facts about the unconscious mind and how it influences our decisions. Gladwell postulates that sometimes having too much information can lead to making the wrong decisions. Gladwell also covers how we can "prime" our minds to become more successful at tasks and how to improve our ability to make quick decisions.

Feb 18, 2018

I had fun reading this thoughtful book, and enjoyed Gladwell’s informal style of stories and anecdotes to demonstrate the quirks of human thinking. The importance of intuition and gut hunches as an information gathering tool was negated during the era of scientific proof through measurable sensing only, but is now being recognized as a necessary part of the whole. It resonated with me.

Feb 18, 2017

Interesting stories about science, psychology, and how we as humans make split-second decisions.

Sep 19, 2016

An interesting and articulate perspective on the complexities of decision making and the marvels of intuition. A great read.

Jul 02, 2016

Ever wondered why you can make split-second decisions? This book delves into the details of our subconscious decision making. Interesting read!

Jun 22, 2016

Audio CD is a great way to appreciate this work, as it is a bit redundant. However, Gladwell provides interesting insight into human action and provides a wide range of examples to reach a wide audience.

Dec 03, 2015

I like Malcolm Gladwell's work in general but I had a hard time getting to the end of this book. I thought the material was kind of interesting, but did not warrant over 8 hours of audio. A lot of the anecdotes got into excruciating but irrelevant detail (e.g. the ages of the 4 cops in New York, who was sitting where in the car), and the narrative wasn't compelling enough for me.
The other annoying part of this book was also the very preachy and presumptive tone. There was a lot of assertions like "this is what you would do" where I'm reading and thinking, "No, I wouldn't do that".

As far as the core message of this books goes: The basic premise is that we all have the ability to make instantaneous, good, instinctive judgments. I have been a big intrinsic believer about being able to train your gut or your instincts to take good decisions, and a lot of more recent books (e.g Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath) seem to back up that concept. However in this book I didn't see any mentions of training your gut - a lot of it seemed to just be taken for granted. Also, the contexts where it works vs. fails and not explained well.

Like any book review, these views are my own and any reader is clearly welcome to disagree as well as form their own.

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Nov 21, 2017

SFPL202 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Oct 03, 2012

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Jul 30, 2012

My favorite subtitle in the book (and there were a few contenders), had to be, "A man, a woman and a lightswitch"

May 25, 2011

"the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog"


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May 25, 2011

what an incredibly interesting read!


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