The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Buy it on Amazon: Book | Audiobook

Quick Summary:

Blink takes a deep dive into the research from psychology and behavioral economics on the adaptive unconscious, which is basically a study of the mental processes that happen automatically in an instant with very little information to work from. The ones that happen in a "blink" of an eye.  There are obvious strengths and weaknesses of the adaptive unconscious and Malcolm demonstrates how this can be useful for making fast, important decisions which are usually the result of years of experience, but these same split-second decisions can be formed into a negative decision-making habit in the development of stereotypes which we are more than likely going to unconsciously create. Blink looks at how our adaptive unconscious can serve us when things are optimal but in this book, he also gives examples of how it can impede our decision making due to information overload, paralysis by analysis.

Why Read It?:

The book examines how we as humans can take a small amount of data or as Malcolm calls it, a “thin-slice,” and we can draw conclusions from that "thin-slice" by using combined experience and intuition.

“Anyone who has ever scanned the bookshelves of a new girlfriend or boyfriend – or peeked inside his or her medicine cabinet – understands this implicitly; you can learn as much – or more – from one glance at a private space as you can from hours of exposure to a public face.”

In Blink, we learn how thin-slicing benefits our ability to make educated decisions from a minimal amount of information and neigh a bit of deliberation. If you can learn how to identify how and when you are thin-slicing, you may be able to make less stereotypical decisions and more informed decisions. You'll also learn that these snap-second judgments often are more accurate than what most think we should do, which is to take the time to analyze a situation and give it proper consideration, but what this usually does instead cause is paralysis by analysis. There are times when it's good to take your time, but taking too much time to make a decision can have a reverse outcome. With too much information we can't make any decision. Gladwell demonstrates the power that the subconscious has to recognize patterns and connections – it's that thing that we refer to as a “gut feeling” and how more often than not that initial feeling is the one we should go with. With Blink, you'll learn about how your subconscious makes decisions, and if you're like me, you might discover a few "instantaneous" processes that need conscious tweaking. Enjoy.

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