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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
by Malcolm Gladwell

How do art curators and handwriting experts know, at a glance, whether an object is authentic or a fake? Where does an expert's “gut feeling” come from? In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell examines snap decisions, made in the blink of an eye. There's a marriage coach who can tell whether a marriage will last or fail after watching a couple for only a few minutes – how can he tell? A tennis coach can predict a player's movements before the ball hits the racket. Gladwell proposes that through a process he calls thin-slicing, people can filter out a few important factors from the vast sea of variables to make fast, intelligent decisions.

The stories that Gladwell has curated are quite interesting, and he writes in such a breezy, colloquial manner that they're quite entertaining, too. He explained the mystery of why Pepsi does better than Coke in taste tests, yet doesn't outsell it – I've heard that line many times before but I never knew the reason for it. He also highlights a few of the failures of thin-slicing, like the election of Warren G. Harding as President. He seemed to have the characteristics of a great leader, but in office he was pretty bad. Again, it's very engaging and informative.

But there's no overarching thesis uniting these stories. I mean, Gladwell seems to be leaning toward thin-slicing is a positive development, but he doesn't really explain how to avoid falling into Warren G. Harding traps. He's selling intuition as an excellent decision-making tool, but...not really? He backs down from making any definitive statement. I guess that's not a bad thing, since it leaves it up to the reader to draw his own conclusion, but I think the book is definitely weaker for not having a strong argument tying it all together.

3.5 out of 5 stars

To read more about Blink, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Flavorwire: 10 Literary Authors Who Illustrated Their Own Work
2011: The Shakespeare Thefts: In Search of the First Folios by Eric Rasmussen
2010: News: Used Booksellers on Impact of e-Books
2009: Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
2008: The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis


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