Nina's Reviews > Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
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Jul 17, 07

Read in July, 2007

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 reading this book is in those stories- he talks about interesting psychological experiments and unbelievable examples of where snap judgement trumped long and careful research and analysis, and where snap judgement failed because of unconscious prejudices. The problem with this book is that his argument is not cohesive.

I kept reading on and on expecting his argument to become clear, but that never happens. Instead, one story after another contradicts his original theory, and he keeps changing his mind about what that theory is. For example, a point he makes is that someone's intuition can lead to the right conclusion, while deliberate analysis by experts considering all information available can be completely off. However, in all his stories where someone made a good snap judgement, that person was an expert and was able to use his judgement under a high-stress situation precisely because of his long career of careful study or of many experiences in that situation. Another problem is that he seems to think that one can know ahead of time when to use their snap judgement or when to carefully research something and consider all information available. The problem with that part of his argument is that, in all the examples where the person's snap judgement failed, that person was not aware of his subconscious prejudices because they were, obviously, subconscious. In the afterward he wrote after the book was published, he tried to reconcile these contraditions, but it was still not convincing.

Regardless, his examples really are fascinating, and he really is a great story-teller. I think if you read this book without the expections that I had, and without trying to mentally place each example in a larger framework of what you think his argument is, you would very much enjoy it.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Geoffrey (new)

Geoffrey Kriston One of the other comments mentions that he doesn't specify when snap judgement is good or bad. Good call that it's useful when you're an expert in that field!


Brianna "A series of fascinating, well-told stories. It is really nothing more and nothing less." I totally agree.


Charmedheart Lorezca where can i read this for free? can you guys help me? thanks


Ms.pegasus Agree with your observation that this book is interesting because Gladwell is such a great storyteller.


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