Luigi, December 28, 2008 (view all comments by Luigi)
This popular book argues that often we should make decisions and evaluations on the basis of our gut reactions. The author supports his argument with many studies of the type that probably show up in psychology courses and MBA programs. I don't think he fully proves his argument. In many of the studies, the subjects seemingly make evaluations on gut reactions, but really make those evaluations on the basis of their past experiences and life lessons. However, the studies he cites are fascinating. The book enables us lay people to learn about them. This is the book's true value and why I recommend it.
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Cindy Figueiredo, July 24, 2008 (view all comments by Cindy Figueiredo)
When talking to people about this intriguing book, I've found that they often have a misconception about it. People seem to think that Gladwell's premise is that we must learn to respect our initial and "in the blink of an eye" reaction to a situation or person. That is half the book. The other half of the book has the premise that we must learn to be patient and see/go BEOND that initial reaction. The book is full of stories and research that support both situations. In other words, there are times where your initial gut reaction is the one to which you should pay attention. The problem is, there are times where your initial gut reaction is so far off base that you must actually LEARN to see beyond it. The title may give you the idea that this is just a catchy clever book. But, though it is written in an accessible style, it is hardly glib.
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Little Brown and Company -
Gladwell's appeal can be traced directly to his studied obsession with familiar objects and events, and his remarkable talent for synthesizing complicated ideas into compelling stories. In The Tipping Point, the author set out to describe how ideas, products, messages, and behaviors travel through culture. In Blink, he considers how effective decisions are made. "We live in a world that assumes that the quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort that went into making it," Gladwell writes. "We think we're always better off gathering as much information and spending as much time as possible in deliberation." Might we be wasting one of the most powerful tools at our disposal, our instinct? Do some circumstances dictate that an impulsive decision is best? If so, when would that be? And why?
Gladwell's appeal can be traced directly to his studied obsession with familiar objects and events, and his remarkable talent for synthesizing complicated ideas into compelling stories. In The Tipping Point, the author set out to describe how ideas, products, messages, and behaviors travel through culture. In Blink, he considers how effective decisions are made. 'We live in a world that assumes that the quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort that went into making it,' Gladwell writes. 'We think we're always better off gathering as much information and spending as much time as possible in deliberation.' Might we be wasting one of the most powerful tools at our disposal, our instinct? Do some circumstances dictate that an impulsive decision is best? If so, when would that be? And why?
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Best-selling author Gladwell (The Tipping Point) has a dazzling ability to find commonality in disparate fields of study. As he displays again in this entertaining and illuminating look at how we make snap judgments — about people's intentions, the authenticity of a work of art, even military strategy — he can parse for general readers the intricacies of fascinating but little-known fields like professional food tasting (why does Coke taste different from Pepsi?). Gladwell's conclusion, after studying how people make instant decisions in a wide range of fields from psychology to police work, is that we can make better instant judgments by training our mind and senses to focus on the most relevant facts — and that less input (as long as it's the right input) is better than more. Perhaps the most stunning example he gives of this counterintuitive truth is the most expensive war game ever conducted by the Pentagon, in which a wily marine officer, playing 'a rogue military commander' in the Persian Gulf and unencumbered by hierarchy, bureaucracy and too much technology, humiliated American forces whose chiefs were bogged down in matrixes, systems for decision making and information overload. But if one sets aside Gladwell's dazzle, some questions and apparent inconsistencies emerge. If doctors are given an algorithm, or formula, in which only four facts are needed to determine if a patient is having a heart attack, is that really educating the doctor's decision-making ability — or is it taking the decision out of the doctor's hands altogether and handing it over to the algorithm? Still, each case study is satisfying, and Gladwell imparts his own evident pleasure in delving into a wide range of fields and seeking an underlying truth." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day"
by Farhad Manjoo, Salon.com,
"Brace yourself: The release of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Gladwell's delightful new book, is sure to inspire orgies of Gladwell-mania among the with-it set, and obsessives will soon begin popping up all around you....As in the best of Gladwell's work, Blink brims with surprising insights about our world and ourselves, ideas that you'll have a hard time getting out of your head, things you'll itch to share with all your friends." (read the entire Salon.com review)
"Review A Day"
by Anna Godbersen, Esquire,
"Nearly every argument in Gladwell's book is made by example, and these are invariably topical and interesting, and often lead you to picture some societal niche that you hadn't thought of before....The anecdotal method can be less than satisfying, however, and by the end of Blink I found myself longing for a book more drawn out and philosophical, the kind of thing you couldn't digest in a single flight." (read the entire Esquire review)
by Donna Seaman, Booklist,
"Gladwell writes about subtle yet crucial behavioral phenomena with lucidity and contagious enthusiasm....[His] groundbreaking explication of a key aspect of human nature is enlightening, provocative, and great fun to read."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"The author's great strength lies in his stories, and here he crafts a number of engaging ones....Brisk, impressively done narratives that should sell very well indeed."
by Library Journal,
"Gladwell gets the science facts right and has the journalistic skills to make them utterly engrossing....[F]or once a best seller will be more than worthy."
by David Brooks, The New York Times Book Review,
"If you want to trust my snap judgment, buy this book: you'll be delighted. If you want to trust my more reflective second judgment, buy it: you'll be delighted but frustrated, troubled and left wanting more."
by Howard Gardner, The Washington Post Book World,
"Readers acquainted with Gladwell's articles and his 2000 bestseller The Tipping Point will have high anticipations for this volume; those expectations will be met."
by Dallas Morning News,
"It's unlikely that Blink, a demanding and counter-intuitive book, will become a headline-friendly, cocktail-party meme like the ubiquitous Tipping Point. But it's a rich book filled with startling, seductive ideas. Don't blink or you'll miss something."
"This absorbing little combo of pop science and self-help is indeed an easy read, like its mega-hit predecessor, The Tipping Point, but in the end it doesn't add up to much."
by Chicago Tribune,
"As with The Tipping Point, you may finish reading Blink with the vague feeling you've heard much of this before....Gladwell's true genius lies is in his ability to weave these bits into a compelling narrative."
by Seattle Times,
"An entertaining psychology book....Blink is not a glib handbook of how to think, or a guide of what to think. But it will make you think about how you think, when you think in a blink."
by The Oregonian (Portland, OR),
"Gladwell...brings the strengths of an experienced reporter to his subject. His depth of sources and clarity of language allow him to deliver compelling stories from across the spectrum of American experience....[A] convincing and powerful book."
by San Francisco Chronicle,
"Too much of Blink reads like a longish string of features from the New Yorker....Gladwell cuts corners, leaving interesting and sometimes compromising questions unexplored."
by Los Angeles Times,
"Intoxicating....Gladwell is an engaging writer and a first-rate tour guide."
by Chicago Sun-Times,
"Much of the pleasure of Blink comes from the far-flung quality of the author's choice in subjects....Some of the best writing in Blink, however, are the examples in which 'blink' thinking actually failed miserably."
by Boston Globe,
"In Blink Gladwell gives good weight to a provocative subject, the relevance of which may inspire reflection on several notable and perhaps questionable decision-making efforts of our recent history."
Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, the author shows how the difference between good decision-making and bad has nothing to do with how much information that can be processed quickly, but on the few particular details on which people focus.
The startling new science behind sudden acts of violence committed by ordinary, sane people from a leading neurobiologist
According to R. Douglas Fields, PhD, we all have a rage circuit we cant fully control once it is engaged. The daily headlines are filled with examples of otherwise rational people with no history of violence or mental illness suddenly snapping in a domestic dispute, barroom brawl, or road rage attack. We all wish to believe that we are in control of our actions, but the fact is, in certain circumstances we are not. Something in our environment can unexpectedly unleash an automatic and complex rage response.
Dr. Fields is an internationally recognized neurobiologist and authority on the brain and the cellular mechanisms of memory. He has spent years trying to understand the biological basis of rage and anomalous violence, and he has concluded that our cultures understanding of the problem is based on an erroneous assumption: that rage attacks are the product of morally or mentally defective individuals, rather than a capacity that we all possess. The sad truth is that the right trigger in the right circumstance can unleash a fit of rage in almost anyone. And as Dr. Fields reveals and details for the first time, there are precisely nine triggers.
Fields shows that violent behavior is the result of the clash between our evolutionary hardwiring and triggers in our contemporary world. Our personal space is more crowded than ever, we get less sleep, and we just aren't as fit as our ancestors. We need to understand how the hardwiring works and how to recognize the nine triggers. With a totally new perspective, engaging narrative, and practical advice, Why We Snap uncovers the biological roots of the rage response and how we can protect ourselves—and others.
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.
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