Edge

Make a decision in a Blink

Malcolm Gladwell’s latest title, Blink: The Power of Thinking, Without Thinking, is one of the most thought-provoking books yet this year. Based on the idea of split-second decision-making, Gladwell explores territory that most common readers would barely think existed.

Beginning with an anecdote about a Greek statute bought by a new California art museum that was later decided to be fake, Gladwell immediately jumps into his theories about snap judgments. Using actual research from various scientists and their specific investigations of not-so-obvious clues to the way we subconsciously think, decide and judge, Gladwell weaves a persuasive argument in favor of trusting your immediate instincts. Mainly, Gladwell points out that in a matter of a blink of an eye (hence the title of the book) we can make decisions, even important ones, that should be trusted and, in effect, are more often correct than not.

Using rather specific terms, Gladwell discusses several topics that relate to the power of thinking. The first is the idea of thin-slicing, making judgments about people or things in a matter of minutes or seconds. Gladwell talks about a psychologist who has learned to tell if marriages can last by thin-slicing, in a matter of moments. Gladwell in turn informs readers that thin-slicing happens minute-by-minute, every day. Gladwell also analyzes our storytelling habits and how our actions don’t always reflect what we say we want. Why, you ask? Essentially because our inside cognizance responds to how we feel, and not always to what we say we feel.

Using cutting-edge research and perfected evidence that decision-making is not quite as hard as it might sometimes seem, Gladwell reinvents the theory of thinking. After reading this book, those who think too much will only think about thinking more and those who think too little may think about thinking even less. Regardless, everyone is thinking. Now blink. That was a decision, most likely one about Malcolm Gladwell’s book about the power of instant thinking, Blink.

Joanna Davila can be contacted at j.davila1@umiami.edu.

April 19, 2005

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.