Doc Opp's Reviews > Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
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Apr 29, 2007

did not like it

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 psychology of judgment and decision making" (which, despite the title, is not textbook like), or the Heath brothers' "Made to stick".
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03/17/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Graham (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:38AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Graham agreed.


message 2: by Richard (last edited Nov 19, 2008 07:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Richard I hate it when I read a book, think I've learned a lot, then am told later that everything I've learned is wrong. Krugman did it to me too, and Galbreath even earlier.

Ah, well, what am I to think regarding Gilovich's How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life? Or Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational?

After all, you haven't written any Pop Cog books yet. However, congrats on the Ig Nobel, and thanks for making that paper and the one on the Recognition Heuristic available as PDFs.


message 3: by Anthony (new) - added it

Anthony Glass Can you suggest an an alternative? What is the point of invoking your professional opinion if not to enlighten? Perhaps this is why charlatans are so adept at misleading the public. They win by default because the "experts" stand by and keep silent--or merely complain.


Doc Opp I believe I recommended two alternatives in my review (the Plous book and the Heath book). These days, I'd recommend Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow (which wasn't out at the time of my review, but is very accurate and trustworthy).


message 5: by Anthony (new) - added it

Anthony Glass For some reason I didn't see that last paragraph the first time--device glitch. Will follow up, thanks!


Allan Engle Made to Stick, funny enough, references Gladwell's "Tipping Point" as their inspiration. Must be something in Gladwell's writing after all.


Chloe Chong I can't help but to think that if Gladwell was to come from a psychology background from some Ivy League colleges or had won some internationally recognized awards (like the ultimatum: The Nobel Prize), would most of the reviews here been any different. When Gladwell is "just" a journalist, then he's "only" a storyteller. It must be challenging for a PhD to read thru Gladwell's work. I come from no massive academic background, I don't own any pre-set standards from where I come from, I get to enjoy the book, sparkle my mind a little bit and it gets me thinking from some new angles.


message 8: by Adam (new)

Adam Morva Hello Doc Opp, thanks for saving me from this book.

I read Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow, and was looking for books of similar quality. I'll rummage through your book list, and already added the two books you recommended in your review, but I was wondering if you have any other books or textbooks in mind for people who have a serious interest in psychology / decision making / epistemology and such. I was familiar with most of the things in Thinking Fast and Slow, so don't be afraid to hit me with the serious stuff.

Thanks a lot!


Allan Laal hey Doc, has anything good been published in your field the last 2 years after your last recommendation? :)


Ðorin Agreed.

I read 'Made to Stick' and it doesn't compare wth 'Blink'.


Dibyadeep Paul Agree. would love to know about any recommendations to improve decision making.. published in the last few years.. its been a decade since you published your comment :)


message 12: by Lena (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lena Nechet Thank you for the book recommendation.


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