Every day, often without even realizing it, people “blink”that is, make quick decisions, snap judgments, or follow their intuition. Indeed, it would be impossible to drive a car, cross a street, or engage in myriad other daily activities without accessing such rapid and usually unconscious thought processes. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking examines and celebrates this seemingly mundane mode of cognition.
Oddly, as Malcolm Gladwell, the best-selling author of The Tipping Point (2000), points out, despite the ubiquity of these moments of “rapid cognition,” individuals are suspicious of them for several reasons. For one thing, Gladwell rightly states that people assume that “the quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort that went into making it.” For another thing, individuals do not know how they arrive at these quick decisions, which just seem to come, almost unbidden. They are fleeting and evanescent. In sum, “we really only trust conscious decision making.”
In his introduction, Gladwell sets out three purposes of this book. The first is to demonstrate that these quick, unconscious decisions are good, valid, and, in some cases, superior in quality to decisions reached by more methodical deliberation. The second purpose is to acknowledge the reverse proposition. Sometimes these quick decisions turn out to be bad or erroneous. Gladwell believes that when the latter outcome...
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