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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  334,309 Ratings  ·  11,671 Reviews
Blink is about the first two seconds of looking--the decisive glance that knows in an instant. Gladwell, the best-selling author of The Tipping Point, campaigns for snap judgments and mind reading with a gift for translating research into splendid storytelling. Building his case with scenes from a marriage, heart attack triage, speed dating, choking on the golf course, sel ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 11th 2005 by Gardners Books (first published 2005)
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Navi Singh Bhati It's long because he tried to compile facts not fiction. The research part is what makes it a bit heavy read. It does require a lot of patience but in…moreIt's long because he tried to compile facts not fiction. The research part is what makes it a bit heavy read. It does require a lot of patience but in the end, it's worth it.(less)
Nuno I wouldn't say it's boring, but a bit repetitive. Like a lot of "business / non-fiction" type books I read, I think the book could be distilled to…moreI wouldn't say it's boring, but a bit repetitive. Like a lot of "business / non-fiction" type books I read, I think the book could be distilled to half, if not more than it's size. I.e., you get the point the author is trying to make by then end of chapter 2 or 3. I actually didn't finish reading because I didn't think I would get a lot more from it.(less)

Community Reviews

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Matt Kosinski
Here's Blink in a nutshell:

Split decisions can be good; better than decisions where we take a lot of time to carefully weigh our options and use scientific evidence.

Except when they're not.

Rapid cognition is an exciting and powerful way to use your brain's quick, intuitive capabilities to make stunningly accurate decisions, and can even lead you to have better success in sports, business and politics.

Except when it won't.

We should learn to trust our snap judgments, even in seemingly complex si
Jul 17, 2007 Nina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For anyone who is thinking about reading this book, I highly recommend it. However, I also recommend reading it as a series of fascinating, well-told stories. It is really nothing more and nothing less.

One of the criticisms I heard about this book before I read it is that Gladwell lays out his theory in the first chapter, and the rest of the book is just example after example supporting his theory. I agree, however it would be a serious mistake to only read the first chapter. The pleasure of rea
Sanjay Gautam
Blink is- what all the stories, case studies, and arguments add up to- an attempt to understand the magical and mysterious thing called Judgement. Its basic premise is: split second decisions (snap judgements); how they can be good and bad.

Gladwell suggests split-seconds decisions are better than the decisions where we take considerable time to weigh our choices and options. He points out that our mind figure things, people, et al. in a blink of an eye. And it is often that these snap judgeme
Doc Opp
Apr 29, 2007 Doc Opp rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As an empirical psychologist by training, I get very annoyed at journalists who simplify things to the point that its no longer even remotely accurate. Such is the case for Blink. This is especially annoying to me, because the book describes my area of research specialization. If you're interested in a fun read, Gladwell is certainly an engaging author. If you're looking for something that accurately describes the research, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.

For example, Scott Plous's "the psychol
Margaret Ross
I think this book wins my prize for Most Easily Misinterpreted to Serve Personal Agendas. Gladwell gets so into the interesting details of the case he's building, he really doesn't emphasize the final conclusions of the book at all, leaving people to think that the interesting details are the whole point, which is unfortunate. But then again, I'm not 100% sure I got the whole point.

Most of the folks I know think that this book is about how a person's gut instincts can be a better read of a situa
May 31, 2009 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I would put this book in the category of "Freakonomics" and "The Tipping Point." By the same author as the latter title, Malcolm Gladwell, the purpose of this book is to weigh the advantages as well as the disadvantages of the power of the mind's ability to unconsciously leap to conclusions based on what is seen in the proverbial blink of an eye.

While I have read some negative reviews of Gladwell's book, mostly citing that he fails to inform the reader how to know when to go with your gut and w
Jun 19, 2015 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O, to have the writing career of Malcolm Gladwell. The man pulls interesting case studies from academic research and news headlines, spins it into a book under a general theme, and blammo! He has a bestseller. This formula worked for him with The Tipping Point and then Blink.

Blink is a compelling read, despite its weak overall theme, which is that sometimes split-second decisions are good and sometimes they're bad, and we need to learn when to trust our first impressions and when to discount th
Aug 23, 2013 seak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2013
Much like the reason behind my majoring in Economics, I like Gladwell because he opens my mind to new ideas and new ways to think. Much like Economics, I believe he's far from perfect, but I really enjoy viewing the world through his lens.

In just about anything, when people start acting as if there is only one way to do something, I stop listening to them. This goes for many things, but especially politics. If you DO, however, find someone who is omniscient and knows exactly how every policy wi
Will Byrnes
This was a big best-seller for Gladwell. He posits that much of the time we make decisions, reach conclusions in a sort of pre-conscious manner that he calls “thin-slicing.” That means taking a very small sample, a thin slice, and making a decision immediately based on that information. However, it is the case that the ability to evaluate that slice is fed by a lifetime of experience. It is not simply, as some, including President Bush the second, might believe, that using one’s gut, in the abse ...more
I generally distrust anyone who says that they ‘go-with-their-gut’. But when the company I work for announced a major decision a few years back, I instantly said, “This is going to be a huge mistake.” Smart people had examined the deal backwards and forwards for months and thought it was a great idea. I had a bad feeling about it that I could only later explain, and I was far from the only one. And we were right. The entire thing turned out to be a huge disaster.

I kept thinking about that incid
Sep 20, 2007 MacKenzie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bored travelers and people who think WAY too much.
so i bought this book in boston's logan airport about 10 minutes before i had to board a flight to seattle. the bookstore was limited; i didn't want to have to work to get interested. and the first 100 pages or so did the trick... until i realized that gladwell wasn't so much building an argument as telling stories about a certain topic. don't get me wrong, i finished the book. later. back in boston, on the T. and it did cover some interesting studies, or i wouldn't have done so. but i suspect t ...more
Aug 22, 2009 Ed rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pop Psychology Fans
I didn't learn much from this book that I did not already know. I am beginning to suspect that Malcolm Gladwell is not writing books that uncover valuable facts that we should know, but rather is writing books that restate facts we already know but in an interesting way.

I like his anecdotal stories very much which is why I finished the book - hoping for more stories. When he lays out the facts, though, his writing is no more interesting than any other scientific author.

So, in summary, what we h
Equally as fascinating as Gladwell's other book The Tipping Point. Really makes you think, consider your decisions differently.

But in the end it comes down to a matter of respect, and the simplest way that respect is communicated is through tone of voice.

Of the tens of millions of American men below five foot six, a grand total of ten in my sample have reached the level of CEO, which says that being short is probably as much of a handicap to corporate success as being a woman or an Afric
Riku Sayuj
Aug 26, 2016 Riku Sayuj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Probably the best among Gladwell's books. He still stands true to his success mantra - "Gladwell - The Power of Inductive Reasoning." But, it was still a well researched and informative book. Blink.
Aug 07, 2014 Ms.pegasus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in an entertaining book about psychology
Gladwell continues his exploration of counter-intuitive ideas about decision-making in BLINK! He opens with a 1983 incident at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The Museum acquired a rare statue from the Greek archaic period. To this day, the Museum maintains that the authenticity of the statue is uncertain. At the time, however, the Museum was certain enough to acquire the piece for just under $10 million. Documentation, and scientific analysis had been relied on as support. However, numerous experts i ...more
Apr 05, 2009 Snezan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with an interest in human interaction
This work is worth a read, if not more than one. I hesitate to say too much, since I believe the conclusions it reaches are explored in the very beginning and will immediately inform the reader of its relevance. I don't know why that came out so long winded, the reader will find out how interested they are by the first or second chapter.

I found the book fascinating for its close look into social interactions, particularly between two people, and for explaining why i sometimes I think the way tha
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I find this book to say very little in the end, at least, little that is useful or that I can apply. We make split-second judgements. Some people more accurately than others. This does not always mean what we think it means.


I guess when the subtitle of a book has the words "power" and "thinking" in it ("The Power of Thinking Without Thinking"), I expect to gain something from it. Instead I feel like the author explains all the reasons why we should not be relying on snap judgements, desp
Otis Chandler
Oct 17, 2006 Otis Chandler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, nonfiction
A must read - really interesting stories about how people process things unconsciously.
- for instance, you can't hide your feeling about race from your unconscious - take the Race Test ( It said I (and 13% of test-takers) have a 'moderate automatic preference for European American compared to African American'. It also said 48% of test-takers have a "Strong automatic preference for White people" - crazy!
- I loved the bit about President Warren Harding
Jan 20, 2009 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elsewhere, in one of my other recent reviews, a GoodReads friend (Richard) told me that he had become less infatuated with this book after reading a review by a specialist in the field who gave it a drubbing. I was worried that knowing this might ruin this book for me – but it has not. I really enjoyed this one too. This is the third of Gladwell’s books I’ve read in quick succession and this contained lots of information about things that have made me think and sparked my interest to learn more. ...more
Feb 21, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blink is an elegant 5 Star piece of science writing, dealing with how we think and chose in an instant. We make snap decisions based on experience or some other basis. Sometimes that is good and sometimes not. There are many good reviews so I am not going to spend more time on a review. What I will point out are two examples of how this book remains relevant today.

First example is the recent campaign by Coca-Cola to sell specially colored white/silver cans of Coke over the 2011-2012 winter seaso
Jan 05, 2009 Zinta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where does it all go, after you are done experiencing the experience, thinking the thought, feeling the feeling? Nothing is ever lost. The subconscious is like a vast warehouse, limitless, in fact, and as Malcolm Gladwell illustrates in Blink, we access all that is stored in that warehouse with every blinking and waking moment.

Usually, we call this instant access - gut instinct. Or, the inner voice of wisdom. Instinct, however, is nothing magical or mysterious. It is simply our accumulated and s
Jul 16, 2007 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This book was really interesting. It discusses the way in which people can "thin-slice" a situation in a matter of seconds and make a judgement. This is where pre-conceived notions such as stereotypes can affect the way we react to something under a time constraint. It's about how our unconscious mind figures things out and affects how we feel or affects our actions before we even realize what is happening. Even if you aren't a racist, you can be programmed to act as a racist by the things you a ...more
Jun 09, 2014 Greg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was really expecting more from this book. I've heard mostly good things about Gladwell, and he had a pretty interesting TED talk, and I enjoy almost anything to do with the brain, so...why not?

The book certainly brought up a lot of interesting ideas and did a good job of discussing the different elements that go into the snap decisions that we make every day. And it's probably worth a read for many of the stories and experiments related. But for the most part this book really failed to impress
May 31, 2009 Mahlon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Mahlon by: Kate McAnaney
Shelves: read-2009
Malcolm Gladwell has written yet another thought-provoking book. In Blink he postulates that often our first impressions or gut instincts are more likely to lead us to the the correct decision than if we spent a long time gathering information and weighing out the pros and cons of the particular situation. In other words, you should "trust your gut" In trademark Gladwell fashion he uses many entertaining stories and case studies to illustrate his points, while at the same time cautioning against ...more
Mar 13, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVED this book. I read "The Tipping Point" awhile ago and found both books equally fascinating. The short subject studies that the author uses are interesting, easy to follow, and compelling evidence of his "theory" or study in first impressions. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys sociology, psychology, or who spends a lot of time interacting with people. You will learn how and when to trust your "gut feeling" or first impressions of people, situations, and products. A grea ...more
Jan 05, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book! I would describe Blink as promoting self-awareness more than self-help. It's a captivating exploration of the ability of our unconscious minds to accurately(much of the time)read the world around us. The psychological studies featured offered refreshing evidence that it isn't always in our best interest to slow down and think rationally. I wouldn't base an investment strategy on Gladwell's "thin-slicing" methods, but when it comes to matters of life and death, love, trust and m ...more
Paul  Perry
In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell explores the phenomenon he calls 'thin slicing'; the human ability to winnow out, in fractions of a second, salient facts from a mass of information and make a decision based on them. Something most of us do all the time without giving it much conscious thought – reading the facial expressions and body language of the people with whom we interact, walking down a busy street (or a quiet street late at night), our subconscious minds processing hundreds or even thousands ...more
Caron St. Onge
Mar 24, 2010 Caron St. Onge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people fascinated with the topic of intuition or first impressions
Malcolm Gladwell has written a book about the power of first impressions (aka intuition/ your gut feeling). He provides a series of anecdotes about the process of first reactions including a tale about a forged ancient Greek statue at the Getty that some experts deemed as authentic and others classified as a fake upon sight. In another anecdote, he scrutinizes a "couples lab" where psychologist John Gottman determines if a matched pair will last the test of time by studying their conversation fo ...more
Audiobook read by the author. I'm going to keep this review short but I'm going to say it is an easy read and definitely worth reading. Basically, it is about the information our brains and subconscious process in the 'blink' of an eye. It's surprising how our subconscious knows what is happening in a scenario before we do. Gladwell provided many different scenarios and anecdotal stories throughout the book that were fascinating and eye-opening. It's sad to learn that we all are quick to judge a ...more
Sep 21, 2014 Dorothy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in how the mind works
Shelves: pop-science
I seem to be destined to be disappointed by every book that I pick up these days. Perhaps I am just in a reading funk, but this book, too, left me a bit unsatisfied. I'm not quite sure what I expected, but the book was essentially a series of anecdotes about instinct. Gladwell may call it "thin-slicing" but the book is really about making snap judgments, stereotyping, if you will. It's the judgment that we make in the first few seconds of an interaction, a judgment made in the "blink" of an eye. ...more
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Malcolm Gladwell is a United Kingdom-born, Canadian-raised journalist now based in New York City. He is a former business and science writer at the Washington Post. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996. He is best known as the author of the books The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), Outliers ...more
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“The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.” 528 likes
“We have, as human beings, a storytelling problem. We're a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things we don't really have an explanation for.” 448 likes
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