Malcolm Gladwell first came into my world last year when listening to my favourite podcasts and he seemed to be on every one of them discussing his latest book ‘Talking to Strangers’. I liked what I heard, was interested in hearing more and when I saw one of his books on offer in WHSmith, Exeter I bought it.
That’s how I came to read ‘Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking’ which I haven’t long finished and wanted to share some thoughts with readers of this blog. It was only just before starting this post that I checked to see when this book was first published and found that it came out in 2005. This fits in with the books I feature as they normally appear here for a review months after their release and once they are out of the bestsellers charts or away from the every day discussions. This is generally intentionally in order to help readers find books out there that they may have missed, however it would be rare for me to go so far back.
It was the blurb on the back which caught my eye in the shop when I was undecided and the phrase ‘This book is about those moments when we ‘know’ something without knowing why’ that sealed the purchase. Like many people, I do have lots of those moments and I do also follow my intuition even when it is not immediately proved to be right.
I loved the essence of thin slicing and that in a blink we have all the knowledge we need even if facts proof otherwise in that instant, there is much more to be considered around a feeling. There will be many areas of discussion where each reader will find something which appeals more to them as the book covers relationships, car dealerships, museums buying artefacts and much more. For me, there was also great learning from the explanation around how autistic people will perceive events, films and interactions etc which didn’t simply conclude that they can’t recognise or express emotions.
Although this book was published in 2005, Gladwell’s call to take out age, gender and race from all information where judgements can be made is still appealing especially from the evidence provided. ‘And I think that all evidence and testimony in a trial that tips the jury off to the age or race or gender of the defendant ought to be edited out.’
Reaching the end of the book and finding this call to arms is also a gift which is still very relevant in today’s world as we must always act whatever it is we find out and not simply assume someone else will. As Gladwell states, ‘This is the real lesson of Blink: It is not enough simply to explore the hidden recesses of our unconscious. Once we know about how the mind works – and about the strengths and weaknesses of human judgement – it is our responsibility to act.’
Have you read this book or any other of Malcolm Gladwell’s? Let us know your thoughts below: