Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Blink

So I've been reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell for the past week or so. Though I wish I spent more time on the weekends reading, well—I just don't. The 10–20 pages on the subway to and from work is about all I get. That brief time I spend reading this book has certainly changed the way I think. Here is a short paragraph in the book that really grabbed my attention.

"A person watching a silent two-second video clip of a teacher he or she has never met will reach conclusions about how good that teacher is that are very similar to those of a student who has sat in the teacher's class for an entire semester. That's the power of our adaptive unconscious.

You may have done the same thing, whether you realized it or not, when you first picked up this book. How long did you first hold it in your hands? Two seconds? And yet in that short space of time, the design of the cover, whatever associations you may have with my name and the first few sentences about the kouros all generated an impression — a flurry of thoughts and images and preconceptions — that has fundamentally shaped the way you have read this introduction so far. Aren't you curious about what happened in those two seconds? "

So yes, I was certainly curious, hence why I continued to read and why I'm writing about this now. Some of the facts that Gladwell speaks about are utter brilliance. I've never thought of things like that, and the subtitle of the book is "the power of thinking without thinking." It sure does make you think. Some of the experiments that he does almost begs you to repeat them yourself. Some of the concepts are so simple but I never thought of them because they were hidden by my preconceived notions. The main focus on the book is namely our ability to make snap judgements, also called thin-slicing. He mentions how accurate our snap judgements really are, and the ability to solve problems using that ability.

Well I'm writing as if I finished the book but—truth is, I haven't. But what I can say about the first uhhh—150 pages?...is that it's very entertaining, and quite humorous because of the relativity of each experiment is so spot on to our every day life that it's amusing. But to top line the first half of the book - it's well worth the read.

I'm off to bed. Gone are the nights at college where I only needed four hours of sleep to function. Sigh.

Goodnight.

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like a crazy book...might make me think too much. But I laughed out loud at the last sentence and could almost hear the sigh. Rock-a-bye baby :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oooo. I'll need to be reading this kinda soon.

    ReplyDelete