Thursday, June 02, 2005

Book No. 18: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Blink reads like a management book. I don’t think I’ve ever read these sorts of chatty anecdotal-evidence books in any other genre, although I’ve never read a self-help book. The central thesis is that experts in a field (or, at least, people knowledgeable about a certain issue) internalize their expertise to the extent that their snap judgments are often more correct than a thorough analysis, even though they may not be consciously aware of the rationale for any particular snap judgment. My impression from some of the reviews I read was that Gladwell was arguing that all first impressions are more accurate than thorough analysis, but that's actually not it. He's clear that he only means this to be true for people with considerable experience in and knowledge of a particular issue.

Hmm. I don’t really have much to say about this book. My life is unchanged. Once you accept his conditions, the thesis seems almost self-evident, in a way that’s both supported by the chatty anecdotal evidence but not necessary demanded by that evidence. Gladwell is an easygoing writer, and I guess it’s a good thing that he’s interested in popularizing facially counterintuitive psychological research, but I don’t really know what to do with this knowledge now. To tell you the truth, I kept thinking of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s advice to Luke from beyond the grave in Star Wars: trust in your feelings, let go, etc. OK. I get it. Next!


Tiffany 2:22 PM, June 10, 2005  

how's it going being a stay at home daddy?

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