Malcolm Gladwell's Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking is his second work. It follows his bestselling The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. First published in 2005, Blink explores the connection between cutting-edge psychological and neurological research and human intuition. Whereas The Tipping Point establishes the effect of other humans and the outside world on people's decisions and social trends, Gladwell uses Blink to demonstrate how someone's inner self or subconscious effects his or her decisions.
Introduction: The Statue That Didn't Look Right
Gladwell's introduction to Blink presents the example of the J. Paul Getty Museum's purchase of a statue that turned out to be a forgery. The Getty was approached by an art dealer in 1983 who claimed to have a sixth century B.C. Greek statue for sale—a kouros. Although officials at the museum were somewhat suspicious initially, they decided to purchase the statue after a 14-month investigation. The investigation included using core samples from the statue to test its age, background checks into the documentation of the statue's former owners, and even tests by sculpture experts in Athens. In 1986, satisfied that the kouros was an original, the Getty put it on display. Unfortunately, once the sculpture went on display, experts began expressing doubts about its authenticity. First an Italian art historian, Federico Zeri, observed that the statue's fingernails "seemed wrong to him." He could not articulate why they looked wrong, but he had a bad feeling about the kouros. After several other art experts experienced similar doubts, the Getty initiated further investigation into the sculpture's origin and discovered that it possibly could be a reproduction. Parts of the sculpture fit into different time periods, and forensic research revealed that a good forgery could pass a core sample test if the statue were soaked in potato mold. The end result is that the statue remains on display, but its placard reads, "About 350 BC, or modern forgery." Throughout the rest of Blink, Gladwell refers back to this introductory example to explain why some of the experts knew upon first glance at the statue that something was wrong.
Chapter 1: The Theory of Thin Slices: How a Little Bit of...
(The entire section contains 568 words.)
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