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Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

The fact that you picked up this magazine and are reading this review goes to show that you are an avid reader. Chances are, you are also a thinker.

'Blink - The Power of Thinking without Thinking' by Malcolm Gladwell Your mind is perpetually abuzz with activity throughout your waking consciousness. You love to ponder and to reflect on the meaning of life and other various topics that are close to your heart. In this information age, we are constantly inundated with data on which we based our daily decisions upon.

We live in a society that teaches us from a young age that it is always more advisable to gather as much information as possible before making any decisions. Hence age old adages such as "haste makes waste", "look before you leap" or "stop and think". If we get too caught up in the processing of information, we will surely drown in all that excess data.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking is essentially about rapid cognition and is written as a series of stories about people that used or were affected by the use (or perhaps misuse) of relying on their ability to make quick decisions. Drawing on both cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, Gladwell shows how decisions made in a split second can be every bit as good as decisions that are deliberated cautiously over lengthy periods of time.

He reveals that the best decision makers are not always those who process the most information or who spend the most amount of time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of "thin-slicing". The key is to rely on our "adaptive unconscious", which is basically a mental valet consisting of past experiences that provides us with instant information that helps us to react to a new idea or that could warn of impending danger ahead.

Gladwell begins this follow-up to his best seller, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by taking pains to fully explain his concept of thin slices, which simply involves filtering the few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of available variables. Basically, the information we process and the decisions that we make can be broken down into sequential slices.

Very often, the most important information and the best decisions come from the first slice. The author discusses his thoughts on why he believes that most people distrust their initial opinions and first impressions about things.

He claims that people often are misled or confused by all the useless extraneous information around us. When people look at slices of information, which are filled with unnecessary extra details, they find themselves basing their decisions on facts and opinion that have no bearings on the reality of the situation. Gladwell shows us just how easy it is to influence our subconscious mind with extra information. He finishes the book with several lengthy examples of both good and bad snap decisions, followed by a brief conclusion.

Blink is a brilliant book about how we think without ever thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant, literally "in the blink of an eye". This book challenges you to rethink and change the way you understand every decision you ever made and will make in the future. The simplistic format and conversational style that the author adopts makes this psychology based book an easy one to read and absorb. Never again will you think about thinking the same way.


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