Margaret Ross's Reviews > Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 13, 07

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 situation than a read based on thorough study. Which is an idea that most people love, since they don't want to have to do all that boring study anyhow. What's missing from that analysis is that Gladwell later insists (but only at the very end of the book, and almost in passing) that it's the thorough active training and study of a subject that allow a person to have "true" or "correct" gut reads. The guy who can tell who's getting divorced after 60 seconds of hearing them talk spent years coding verbal and physical cues in couples, studying them intensely for years before he was able to give his 60 second analysis. The art historians were drawing on a vast body of knowledge when they made their judgment about the statue. The cop who read fear instead of aggression and didn't shoot couldn't name what he was seeing, but he'd seen it before. Then he also says that our gut reactions can be easily colored by training we don't even know is there- our prejudices, whether unknown or unacknowledged- influence or reads of a situation as well.

Ultimately, I saw this book as a reaction to and analysis of the Amadou Diallo killing in 1999, with some tips for how to avoid such future tragedies. In that light, I thought it was interesting and even constructive, but only if you pay close attention to the last chapter.
47 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Blink.
sign in »

No comments have been added yet.