Title: Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
The blurb promises a book that will change the way the reader thinks for evermore, taking advantage of some inner magic that the author was about to reveal about the power of the first impression.
By the author of the best-selling The Tipping Point, this attractive paperback caught my eye recently – with rave reviews and promises to “change your life”, I decided to put faith in my initial positive reaction and buy the book.
How wrong one’s initial instinct can be, was proven by the very book I think was telling me otherwise. It was quite simply a waste of my time – although thankfully it was a quick read. I suggest it will be a waste of your time also.
To save you the effort – here’s my synopsis:
Gladwell uses the book to prove a point – that humans have an unexplained – but scientifically proven – ability to react to otherwise inexplicable signals obtained during the barest of contact with situations, objects and/or people.
How does Gladwell illustrate his point? He simply refers to a great deal of other people’s scientific experiments – references include the Pepsi Challenge, to work with individuals with Autism and one incessantly long chapter on military tactics (where I found myself yelling “I get it – move on” to the book at least twenty times).
The experiments themselves, as far as I can tell, are very interesting but do nothing (in the context of this book) other than affirm that individuals are capable of reacting negatively or positively to situations without being able to explain their behaviour – that we operate intuitively and instinctively a lot of the time. The author doesn’t use this anecdotal evidence to give the reader any tips on how to take advantage of this sixth sense. In fact, towards the end of the book, Gladwell makes the point that in certain instances our sixth sense can be switched off without us realising it. Hardly rocket science, I say.
Who should read it? Students looking for a quick reference guide to experiments on human instinct and first impressions. No one who wants to learn how to be more intuitive or take advantage of these innate abilities – you definitely won’t find the answer here!
Just in case you feel inclined:
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