Book Review: Blink

June 22, 2006 § 1 Comment

Business and Marketing

Blink book cover

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

by Malcom Gladwell

In this sequel to The Tipping Point, the author continues on the concept of intuitive thinking and analyzes the often overlooked, but pivotal factors in good decision making. He looks from the outside-in and systematically examines the method in which people observe, evaluate and act.

Again defying popular beliefs, Gladwell illustrates that it is possible to make informed decisions in a matter of seconds – once we learn to observe the right clues. With interesting anecdotes and careful research citations, he shows that experienced practioners can build skills allowing them to make snap judgements that are surprisingly accurate and well-founded.

Gladwell lures you in with seemingly-unscientific examples only to surprise you with study after study supporting his thinking

In one story, a well-known museum was duped into buying a $10 million fake statue after painstakingly validating its authenticity for 14 months. Several world-renowned artists were consulted to participate in the process.

The artists were later interviewed and said to have immediately expressed concerns; they couldn’t quite put their finger on what was wrong, but they had a ‘feeling’. Following documented methods, they ignored their instincts and confirmed the item’s worth. The artists had told the procurement team something was amiss – they just didn’t piece it together until it was too late.

This is a great book with the same practical application as the first. Gladwell lures you in with seemingly-unscientific examples only to surprise you with study after study supporting his thinking. He cautions against overreacting in a prejudiced way, encouraging traditional scientific method, but then does an excellent job showing that, with practice, snap-decisions are no less scientific.

I recommend this book.


Oh, and if you’re curious what the wizard behind the curtain looks like, check out these pictures of him. I bet you’ll be as surprised as I was.

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