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The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
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From the #1 bestselling author of The Bomber Mafia, the landmark book that has revolutionized the way we understand leadership and decision making. In his breakthrough bestseller The Tipping Point,...
From the #1 bestselling author of The Bomber Mafia, the landmark book that has revolutionized the way we understand leadership and decision making. In his breakthrough bestseller The Tipping Point,...
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  • From the #1 bestselling author of The Bomber Mafia, the landmark book that has revolutionized the way we understand leadership and decision making.

    In his breakthrough 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.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Have you ever wondered why love at first sight, so seemingly ill-advised, sometimes works out for the long-term? Malcolm Gladwell may have the answer. In BLINK, Gladwell asserts that snap judgments can quite often be as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately. Using a wide variety of examples--an ex-Marine's victory in a war-game simulation, a museum's purchase of a bogus statue, an emergency room's method for diagnosing heart attacks--Gladwell asks us to step back from overly analytical decision-making and trust our instincts and experience. Like his previous work, THE TIPPING POINT, BLINK is a thought-provoking, category-defying book. The audio is read by the author with care and conviction. R.W.S. (c) AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 1, 2004
    Best-selling author Gladwell (The Tipping Point
    ) has a dazzling ability to find commonality in disparate fields of study. As he displays again in this entertaining and illuminating look at how we make snap judgments—about people's intentions, the authenticity of a work of art, even military strategy—he can parse for general readers the intricacies of fascinating but little-known fields like professional food tasting (why does
    Coke taste different from Pepsi?). Gladwell's conclusion, after studying how people make instant decisions in a wide range of fields from psychology to police work, is that we can make better instant judgments by training our mind and senses to focus on the most relevant facts—and that less input (as long as it's the right input) is better than more. Perhaps the most stunning example he gives of this counterintuitive truth is the most expensive war game ever conducted by the Pentagon, in which a wily marine officer, playing "a rogue military commander" in the Persian Gulf and unencumbered by hierarchy, bureaucracy and too much technology, humiliated American forces whose chiefs were bogged down in matrixes, systems for decision making and information overload. But if one sets aside Gladwell's dazzle, some questions and apparent inconsistencies emerge. If doctors are given an algorithm, or formula, in which only four facts are needed to determine if a patient is having a heart attack, is that really educating the doctor's decision-making ability—or is it taking the decision out of the doctor's hands altogether and handing it over to the algorithm? Still, each case study is satisfying, and Gladwell imparts his own evident pleasure in delving into a wide range of fields and seeking an underlying truth. Agent, Tina Bennett.
    (Jan. 13)

    Forecast:
    A 25-city tour (including several university towns) should introduce Gladwell to new readers and help sell out the 200,000-copy first printing.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from November 15, 2004
    Journalist Gladwell (The Tipping Point) examines the process of snap decision making. Contrary to the model of a rational process involving extensive information gathering and rational analysis, most decisions are made instantaneously and unconsciously. This works well for us much of the time 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. A big promo campaign is planned; for once a best seller will be more than worthy. Essential for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/04.]-Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA

    Copyright 2004 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    September 15, 2004
    After success with The Tipping Point, this New Yorker staffer considers how we make decisions in the blink of an eye. A whopping 25-city author tour.

    Copyright 2004 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    September 1, 2004
    Gladwell writes about subtle yet crucial behavioral phenomena with lucidity and contagious enthusiasm. His first book, " The Tipping Point " (2000), became a surprise best-seller. Here he brilliantly illuminates an aspect of our mental lives that we utterly rely on yet rarely analyze, namely our ability to make snap decisions or quick judgments. Adept at bridging the gap between everyday experience and cutting-edge science, Gladwell maps the "adaptive unconscious," the facet of mind that enables us to determine things in the blink of an eye. He then cites many intriguing examples, such as art experts spontaneously recognizing forgeries; sports prodigies; and psychologist John Gottman's uncanny ability to divine the future of marriages by watching videos of couples in conversation. Such feats are based on a form of rapid cognition called "thin-slicing," during which our unconscious "draws conclusions based on very narrow 'slices' of experience." But there is a "dark side of blink," which Gladwell illuminates by analyzing the many ways in which our instincts can be thwarted, and by presenting fascinating, sometimes harrowing, accounts of skewed market research, surprising war-game results, and emergency-room diagnoses and police work gone tragically wrong. Unconscious knowledge is not the proverbial light bulb, he observes, but rather a flickering candle. Gladwell's groundbreaking explication of a key aspect of human nature is enlightening, provocative, and great fun to read. (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2004, American Library Association.)

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