Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...
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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

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Overview

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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316005043
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 4/3/2007
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 8,104
  • File size: 667 KB

Meet the Author

Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He was formerly a business and science reporter at the Washington Post.

Biography

At the start of the 21st century, a new form of narrative nonfiction emerged, blending science, sociology, and pop culture into a compulsively readable hybrid genre marked by originality, accessibility, and a breezy, anecdotal style. As much as any single writer, and perhaps more than most, journalist and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell has helped to forge that genre.

Born in the U.K. and raised in rural Canada, Gladwell stumbled into journalism purely by accident. After college, he wanted to pursue a career in advertising; but when he was unable to find work in that field, he took a job with the conservative U.S. monthly The American Spectator. In 1987, he joined The Washington Post, where he reported on business and science for nearly a decade. Then, in 1996, Tina Brown hired him to work for The New Yorker. (Brown left the magazine in 1998. Gladwell is still on staff.)

Almost from the beginning, Gladwell's work for The New Yorker attracted attention. Of particular interest was a piece he wrote in June 1996 about a mysterious and dramatic drop in the New York City crime rate. Drawing its title -- and its argument -- from the field of epidemiology, "The Tipping Pont" described a single moment in time when the momentum for change becomes virtually unstoppable. The piece generated an enormous reader response, and Gladwell began to explore the applications of the principle to other sorts of changes -- ideas, behaviors, new products, etc. In 2000, he published a full-length book that reached a tipping point of its own and logged a spectacular 28 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

In subsequent books, Gladwell has delved into other thought-provoking topics, such as the role of snap judgments and intuition in decision making (Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking) and the qualities that set high achievers apart from the rest of us (Outliers: The Story of Success). Readers love these intriguing reads for their clear, accessible language and illustrations drawn from real life; but it is the business community, always anxious to spot the next big thing, that has recognized the relevance of Gladwell's ideas to sales, marketing, and public relations. As a result of his popularity with this group, he has become a much-in-demand public speaker.

Good To Know

  • Gladwell's English father is a civil engineer and his mother is a Jamaican-born psychotherapist.

  • Growing up in Canada at a time when the country was essentially a socialist nation, Gladwell was a self-professed right-wing kid. "Being a conservative was the kind of fun, radical thing to do," he told The New York Times. He notes that his politics have changed over the years.

  • When Gladwell decided to grow his formerly short and conservatively cut hair into an Afro, he began to receive special, unwanted attention (more speeding tickets, additional checks in airport security lines, etc.). These experiences got him thinking about how first impressions lead to snap judgments -- which inspired his bestseller Blink.

  • Starbucks' founder Howard Schultz publicly attributed his company's success to the tipping-point phenomenon.

  • In 2005, Time Magazine named Gladwell one of the 100 Most Influential People.

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      1. Hometown:
        New York, NY
      1. Date of Birth:
        September 3, 1963
      2. Place of Birth:
        England, U.K.
      1. Education:
        University of Toronto, History degree, 1984

    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4
    ( 645 )
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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 649 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted September 14, 2007

      Fascinating Insight in to Impressions

      Anyone looking for advanced insight into human nature will love this book. Did you realize that the first six seconds of a personal encounter 'the handshake and greeting' are 80% predictive of the outcome of the encounter? In 'Blink', Malcolm Gladwell will help you understand what happens during that first six seconds. Whether you are socially struggling or a master networker, you should check this out. Absolutely in keeping with his #1 best seller, 'The Tipping Point', now becoming a classic.

      20 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted November 11, 2009

      Good not Great

      Entertaining and interesting book but not particularly useful. It talks about thin-slicing, which is how we make decisions/judgements on a small amount of data and in the blink of an eye. These judgements are usually very accurate, however trying to analyze why you made the decision is often a waste of time. Rationalizing these decisions often causes you to erroneously come to a different conclusion.

      9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted May 10, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      I Also Recommend:

      A Stretch

      Gladwell is undoubtedly a competent writer: his charisma, seen even in his writing, and his use of seemingly unrelated examples to drive his points (no pun intended) are as consistent as they are effective, not to mention admirable. However, with this work, Gladwell treads into shaky territory, proposing his theories with his usual tone of universality within one of the most fundamentally unstable sciences of cognitive psychology -one may note that he is indeed a psychologist, but a more perceptive reader would realize that his field of study is more socially psychological, if not sociological altogether.

      Even with his charm and talent, extending empirical claims into the realm of the invisible psyche is a stretch for Gladwell. As is expected, he presents numerous samples to support his claim, but much of his research seems to lack an empirical mass that would give his abstract propositions more credible foundations; there is no doubt that Gladwell possesses the capability of formulating an intangible theory with empirical roots, but his principal error was in his attempt to do it with so few pages.....at least with such a large font he uses!

      9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted December 10, 2008

      more from this reviewer

      Less Is More?

      Gladwell is a terrific writer (one of those rare creatures who can present scientific findings for lay readers) and the thesis of Blink is fascinating. I heartily recommend it to anyone who's ever wondered what it really means when someone says, "I don't know how I know, I just do." The book is filled with intriguing case studies to demonstrate his thesis that ultimately those who can quickly weed out extraneous information make better decisions (on the whole) than those who don't. Ultimately, he's not recommending that we trust our gut exclusively, so much as we learn to be appropriately skeptical of so called "expert data." Blink is great light reading for anyone interested in trying to understand consciousness -- an activity William James once compared to "trying to turn on the lights fast enough to see how the darkness looks."

      7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted October 27, 2008

      Do we really know what we think? Maybe, maybe not.

      This book was mind opening and unsettling. After reading this book the possibilities of influencing my own choices and those of others seem endless. It was unsettling to think about how little control I may actually have over my reactions, judgements, and snap decsions about others in my life. Incredible and interesting reading. Definitely made me stop and "think".

      6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 5, 2010

      eh

      The book was ok, but tough to read at parts. It just brought awareness to the mind making split second decisions. I thought it was going to be more imformative on how to make decisions quickly, on the spot, and under pressure.

      5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted September 3, 2011

      I wouldn't recommend it.

      I personally didn't like the book Blink. Its meant for more mature readers, and it also jumps from topic to topic making it hard to fallow and understand. To read this book you need to have an more advanced way of thinking, you have to be able to think deeper than what it written on the page. If I had to reccomend this book I would suggest this to someone who likes imformative reading.

      4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted May 24, 2010

      Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

      It is about psychology. At the same time, it is also about the behavioral economic. The main idea of this book is "thin-slicing". It means that the spontaneous decisions are often better than the planned decisions. He did a lot of researches for provement. Gladwell also tells us about our instinctive ability to mind read, which is how we can get to know what emotions a person is feeling just by looking at his or her face. Moreover, he also explains that sometimes many informations interupt to make a decision. "Thin-slicing" makes us to make a decision more easily. I was pretty much enjoyed to read this book. I recommend this book to people who likes psychology

      3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted February 27, 2010

      Good read, but left me hangin'

      Blink was a very interesting book to read. I was never bored and at times I didn't want to put it down, like when it was time to go back to work. I found myself bringing up the anecdotal examples to family, and co-workers, anybody who would listen. The book points out the innate ability we all have, a kind of intuition, and how it comes into play at different times. The author, however, does not explain how you might harness and control this power. At times I felt that I didn't really know what the subject of the book was. It is not a "How To" manual. But, even with its flaws, I enjoyed this book very much. The Civil War battle strategy story made me interested in something that previously I had not been. Some of the incidents of the past that I had thought were strictly racial discrimination were suddenly more complex than that.
      I recently saw an interview of a police officer on television and was able to understand what happened on a much deeper level after reading Blink.This book opened my eyes but kind of left me looking for more answers at the end of the book, which may be just more food for thought.......

      3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted February 11, 2010

      When to lead and when to follow

      "Blink" is really an eye-opening book. It's a book about life lessons and how you should/can achieve them. Many tests are made throughout the book showing how all people have the same reactions to many differents tests and problems. "Blink" teaches us how to get through our problems and live as though nothing has happened. Happy and content. You're probably thinking "not possible", but thats only because you haven't read this book yet.

      I would recommend this book to all people. Most people have difficulties figuring out why and how things happen to them. "Blink" has the answer. I really enjoyed reading this book. It made me realize things I never even thought about or questioned. From the way that we walk to the way that we deal with our arguments.

      Similar books are "The Tipping Point" and "Tuesdays With Morrie". Both books also relate to life lessons and tell/help us how to live a more joyful and stress-free life.

      What I really liked about this book was that I was able to relate to most of the problems and obstacles that they listed. This book teaches you good morals and really leaves a mark in your personality. After finishing the book, I have become happier and notice myself doing more work and help for others. It's amazing how mush influence a 296 page book can have on one's life. Why did it take a book for me to come to my senses? I don't have an answer for that, but I do know that I will never regret reading this book. Malcom Gladwell really knows how to reach inside of you and pull out all of your problems, fix them, and move on.

      The only dislike that I have about this book is that at times it tended to be a little slow and not as attenion grabbing as the rest of it.

      READ THIS BOOK!!!

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted May 15, 2009

      One of the best novels out there...

      Blink has been one of the best novels that I have read during my high school years. The way Malcolm Gladwell incorporates past psychological experiments to correlate with his idea of "thin slicing" is easily comprehensible and interesting as well. I had always assumed that people always thought on the conscious level all the time. However, until I read this book, I had no idea at all that people were capable of thinking unconsciously without even realizing. It's simply phenomenal and mind-blowing as well.
      What really caught my interest was the way Gladwell uses the Warren Harding Error. In my history class, we had learned that some political candidates for president were chosen based on their appearances which gave the audience the impression that they best man for the job. This worked with John F. Kennedy, since he was a young, good-looking, energetic, and an upstanding gentleman. But, after reading the story of Warren Harding, I was shocked to see that that doesn't apply too well. So, looks aren't everything according to this novel. Overall, Malcolm Gladwell does an excellent job with this book.

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 15, 2009

      Amazing Stuff

      I've read very many books over my lifetime and only a handful of them had anything to do with analyzed introspection. Most of what I've read concerning these psychological issues has been relatively technical, yet what I love about Blink is that it makes seemingly complex reactions seem human. He puts everyone on an even playing field, and it's easy for the layman to understand his points. That's the sign of great writer, one who can express such complex concepts at such a rudimentary level. For that, I admire Gladwell. The whole concept behind Blink, the fact that we 'thin-slice' situations and subconsciously make very rapid, accurate decisions, amazes me. Yet personally, this is not an uncommon subject. I've always believed in making decisions with one's gut and I do it quite often, but as Gladwell clearly explains, our Snap Judgments masked by conscious thought, are often times skewed. Nevertheless, Gladwell is unparalleled in coming up with examples to support his main concept and idea. However, this is the main drawback to his book.
      Quite frankly, if I edited this book, I would have only left in the first three chapters and the last chapter, deleted everything else. What Gladwell does is present an idea, in this case 'thin-slicing', and then he spends the next 300 pages giving examples of this concept. OKAY, I GET IT. I really don't need 50 examples in order to believe him; just a couple would be ideal. It's obviously believable, but I just don't see the merit in 500 examples when he could have condensed everything to a few chapters. Alas, I guess this is how he makes money. Cheap isn't it? His was of elongating his books is not a characteristic uncommon to his other books; Outliers is structured in much the same way. In any case, this was definitely a good read and I would highly recommend this to anyone.

      3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted February 23, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      I Also Recommend:

      Don't Blink- you might miss it

      It is fairly short, but it's a great read. Gladwell is by far the best writer for his type of book out there (Morse and Gilbert are excellent too). Blink is not about missing fleeting things, though; it's about intuition and the fact that we can know some things-some very important things without really "knowing" them in a conscious way. In other words, we don't have to dwell on something or overthink it to really understand it. Basically our hunches are as good or better than our thoughts in some instances.

      Gladwell goes through a list of interesting anecdotal cases that prove his point then adds studies and interviews with scientists to back up his findings. This book is on par with the Tipping Point, but better than Outliers- his new one.

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted September 25, 2008

      Fascinating book

      In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell (a journalist who also wrote The Tipping Point) examines the process of snap decision making. He suggests that we are wrong in thinking that we make decisions rationally by absorbing extensive information and experience. In the end we make decisions unconsciously and essentially instantly. This works great for most decisions because we learn to 'thin-slice'-that is, to ignore extraneous input and concentrate on one or two cues. Sometimes, we don't even consciously know what these cues are, as in Gladwell's anecdote about a tennis coach who can predict when a player is going to make a rare sort of error but doesn't know how he knows. The book also explores how this process can go horribly wrong, as in the Amadou Diallo shooting. Gladwell gets the science facts right and has the journalistic skills to make them utterly engrossing.

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted January 30, 2008

      Thought provoking

      This is one of the best books I have read in a long long time. It addresses so many aspects of our lives, helping us view things differently while educating. I keep referring to this book and even buying this book for friends.

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted February 4, 2008

      Fun Read by a Great Writer

      This book is wonderfully written and presents ideas in engaging, practical language. It offers some research-based information in a readable format that appeals to scholarly folks, as well as the general population.

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted June 21, 2012

      I Also Recommend:

      Gladwell is the best at what he does. This is another example.

      Gladwell is the best at what he does. This is another example. great book!

      2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted August 27, 2011

      Interesting premise

      But while the author insists that we must learn when to trust our instincts and when we are operating under the influence of unconcious prejudice, he offers no suggestions or tools for doing so. Dissapointed.

      2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted November 21, 2009

      don't bother

      bologna

      2 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted March 26, 2009

      Blink

      Well another one of Malcolm Gladwell's books, this time it's Blink. It is on of those psychology books you wouldn't expect yourself to get into. This book by Gladwell is simply told by his book cover, "the power of thinking without thinking". He uses some really good examples: how we judge people based on their sex or their gender and so forth. There aren't really any complaints that I found in this book other that I had gotten lost in the Van Riper story and the very good salesman Golomb. Gladwell starts out in the first couple of pages explaining how he thinks certain couples would be able to last marriages. He even has them date different people and rate them on their appearance, how funny or interesting they are.

      Some of his were asked if they would ever go out with the person that they had a date with and some even answered yes. Moving on the IAT Test, it's basically a test for you to categorize whatever word or image appears on the screen and you have to type in the corresponding key to match it with whatever the category it belongs to. There's even a Racial IAT Test available for anyone to take; by simply going to www.implicit.harvard.edu. His book includes a couple of pages that are examples of what to expect in the IAT Test. I don't know what to expect to expect in the Racial IAT Test, but I am guessing categorize the person that appears on your screen.

      Moving on to the story that really confused me is the Van Riper. The stories in this book go from first person point of view to third person point of view, so you should expect to see a lot of "I" and "he reached for it" sentences. It begins by telling how he came about joining the military, and why he wanted to join the military service. It took me a couple of tries before I actually got what Gladwell was trying to say with the story. I really like how Gladwell has good use of examples; he had compared "the Harding Error" to what we think when see people. This is a really good book in my opinion. If you're a Gladwell fan, you should check out his other books, his previously released book The Tipping Point and, his newer book The Outliers.

      2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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