Monday, September 24, 2007

Blinking all night

Over the past couple of years, I've read little chunks of Malcolm Gladwell's Blink. It's one of those non-fiction books that allows for skipping around, flipping through the pages and picking up on something that interests the reader without having to sit down and read it cover-to-cover.

Well, yesterday, I did sit down to read cover-to-cover and couldn't put the thing down! So I ended up reading late into the night (i.e., wee early hours of the morning).

The subtitle of the book is "The Power of Thinking Without Thinking." Heck, yeah, I'm all for that. Who has time to think anymore, eh?

Actually, the book is about decision-making, and how the amount of information we process is less important than the first few seconds of honing in on core impressions. Finding the "fist" of the situation or person. In other words, just the opposite from what we've been taught with "Don't make snap judgments," "Haste makes waste," or "Don't judge a book by its cover." Seems we have the innate ability to sum up an object, event, or person - correctly - in a matter of seconds.

Once in a while, this "thin-slicing" gets us into trouble, especially if we have a layer of preconceived notions to crunch through. Racism and gender-bias are examples. But for the most part, our gut feelings are spot-on.

Still, I don't have to thin-slice to understand why not being able to close the book at a reasonable hour has left me blinking this morning.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Shorty:

If you haven't done so already, you need to read "The Glass Castle." Wonderful book!!

Love,

Cuz

MaryB said...

Thanks for the tip, Cuz. I googled "The Glass Castle," and it does indeed look like a good read. (And I thought you only read Mad Magazine!)

Liz said...

I am dreadful at decision-making. Maybe I need to leap in with my first instinct then.