If you have read any of Malcolm’s other books you know that he is a great story teller. I actually listened to this book on Audio while driving to and from work and more than once this week I found myself sitting in the driveway at home and parking lot at work just listening to the various stories Malcolm uses to illustrate his points. It was great entertainment, kind of like watching a documentary on PBS, but I’m not yet sure what I’m going to do with this information, if anything.
52 Weeks of Book Reviews. Week # 5 - Blink – The Power of Thinking Without Thinking – by Malcolm Gladwell
A colleague recommended this to me, he had heard great reviews. I was familiar with The Tipping Point having read it maybe 3 years ago and I was happy to pick this up for my Week 5 binge reading. The points are well laid out and the examples of “first impressions”, “gut instincts” and “thin slice” decision making skills are very entertaining. It seems that true professionals and perhaps some gifted individuals are able to tap into the subconscious to process information faster and more accurately than commonly believed. A large portion of the book describes how this can be a good thing and why sometimes our body actually shuts down and actually processes less than the normal amount of information. It’s a great summary of the science behind the physiological responses our body has to stress and common situations in life. The language could have very easily become heavy with jargon and facts, but instead I found the plain language and layman’s examples fun and engaging while still conveying the meaning, maybe in a more efficient manner.
I do struggle with what to do with this new found insight though. I wanted the book to give me a few pointers on how to actually make these decisions faster and more accurately. I wasn’t able to come away with the actionable items I was searching for, it was entertaining but not helpful. I literally just finished the book today so it could be that I haven’t yet had the time needed to ponder that practices needed and the actions I need to implement. Maybe I’m just overthinking it, the entire book seemed to be about how overthinking actually leads to bad decisions. When you take a test and the advise is to trust your first answer maybe I should just trust my first instincts and take this book for it’s entertaining value. It could be that this book is just an eye opener, the onus is on me to develop my skill and ability to the point where I can nurture my inner decision maker.
I recommend the book, but only with the right expectations. Pick up the book to learn something new and to be entertained. This isn’t a self help book or a guide to split second decision making mastery.