Blink was the second book written by Malcolm Gladwell but, of all his books, it is perhaps the most fascinating because it delves into an idea that isn't explored much, either in psychology or any other field. Gladwell writes that there are certain times when people make up their minds about a certain person, thing or situation within the first couple of seconds of encountering said person, thing or situation. And, contrary to what one may think, their judgment turns out to be sound.
Gladwell gives the example of a firefighter in Cleveland who was leading a group of men to put out a fire in a kitchen. As soon as they entered the kitchen, he felt that something was wrong and ordered his men out. As soon as they vacated the kitchen, the floor collapsed and it turned out that the fire was in the basement and not in the kitchen, as they had previously thought. Another example Gladwell gives is about the Getty kouros, a statue purchased by the Getty Museum, which was initially thought to be genuine, but turned out to be a fake. For some reason, many of the experts who looked at the kouros knew right away that something was off about it. They made a split second decision and it turned out to be correct.
However, there are many times when a person's rapid decision-making process can be at fault. For example, many prejudices against people of certain races or people with certain physical characteristics reveal themselves in the first few moments. Gladwell himself encountered this kind of prejudice when he started growing his hair out long and was mistaken for a rapist and detained by policemen for twenty minutes even though his facial features, his age and his weight were completely different. He also gives the example of CEOs of big companies who usually tend to be tall even though height has nothing to do with their effectiveness at their jobs. It's just that people have a tendency to think better of tall people.
So Blink is partly about learning to trust your first impression about someone or something, but it's also a book that explores what can go wrong in such a scenario. It's a fascinating idea to think that one could accurately gauge a situation without too much information, by just looking at the big picture. Sometimes, you get bogged down in the details and don't pay much attention to things that are staring you in the face.
Malcolm Gladwell is a British-Canadian author who has written four books, all of which were on the New York Times bestseller list. He was born in the UK to a Jamaican mother and a British father and was allowed to roam free at the offices of the University of Waterloo where his father worked. After graduating college, he tried to get a job in advertising and failed, so he started working as a journalist for The American Spectator in Indiana. Later, he moved to The Washington Post and finally, The New Yorker, where he continues to work.
In his landmark best seller 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.
Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology and displaying all of the brilliance that made The Tipping Point a classic, Blink changes the way you understand every decision you make. Never again will you think about thinking the same way. Download and start listening now!