Gladwell's first book, The Tipping Point, was a bestseller, and Blink has also sold well and has generally received positive reviews. Most critics view Gladwell as a science-mixed-with-culture writer because The Tipping Point; Blink;and Gladwell's newer book, The Outliers, rely on the blend of scientific research and social issues.
Many readers respond positively to Gladwell's subject and his anecdotal style. Blink has been deemed a sort of self-help book by some critics. David Brooks's January 2005 review of Blink for The New York Times argues that Blink almost seems to offer humans the ability to train a magic power (intuition) that lies dormant within them. Brooks praises Gladwell's use of interesting studies and anecdotes, but he finds himself questioning which bestseller is correct (Blink or other recent books that tout the pop culture use of statistics). He asks, "What is the relationship between self-conscious reason and backstage intuition? Which one is right more often?"—a question that he believes Gladwell leaves unanswered.
Howard Gardner's review of Blink for The Washington Post (a newspaper for which Gladwell previously wrote) echoes much of Brooks' sentiment. He appreciates Gladwell's writing style and his ability to synthesize numerous studies, but he questions whether Gladwell's work could be used in a psychology classroom because some of the author's examples "seem stretched simply to fit under the blink-of-an-eye umbrella." He suggests that Blink is more fitting for a journalism class.
Much of the debate about Blink is not over its entertainment value: it received high praise from most entertainment-driven critics. Rather, the debate centers on the value of the book as a whole. For the novice psychology student, Blink is a rather brief synthesis of many groundbreaking studies and could certainly motivate a student to dig deeper into various psychological theories. For the aspiring writer, Blink provides a model of witty, relevant writing and demonstrates how an author can effectively draw support from seemingly unconnected areas of life to prove a thesis.
The book Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell is one of the most famous books which combines in itself both psychological concepts and statistical data. This book explores area of fast decisions or personal blinks and our feelings about one or another object, person, etc. on the base of first seconds of the contact with the object or person. It means that the book opens to the reader mysterious world of the human unconscious, where many important decisions are made. Moreover, the main book’s idea is to prove the fact that all people can work out the ability not only to feel everything by the adaptive unconscious, but also to make a right decision on their base.
To begin, it is necessary to mention that the book consists of different chapters, where each chapter adds the previous one, and engrosses the readers’ attention up to the last page. There is no boring information in the book, while every presented fact has a logical explanation, and is made by real professionals in one or another area. Moreover, in his fascinating book, Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, author analyzes the decision-making process. As it was previously stated, the analysis is made on rich material from the fields of art, science, design, medicine, politics and business, and the author reveals the patterns of unconscious decisions in very simple and understandable way, while he also analyzes the factors that distort the process.
Making a thorough analysis of the book, it was found that author presents a balanced view on all events that take their place in our world, in combination with personal reactions on them. It is necessary to highlight the fact that Gladwell demonstrates both the results of research in psychology and behavioral economics in the scientific and popular format. It means that the author reveals many details of the adaptive unconscious – a thought process that is triggered automatically when w have relatively little relevant information for decision making. In such a way, Blink has a good look at the strong sides of the adaptive unconscious, for example, expertise, and its pitfalls such as stereotypes (Andreassi, 2000).
Examining the content of the book with more details, we can see that in the first part of the book the author describes the main subject of Blink as “thin slice”: our ability to determine what is really important, even if we have a minimum experience. In other words, spontaneous decisions are usually the most loyal and the more correct than carefully planned and deliberate. Malcolm Gladwell cites examples from science, advertising, sales, medicine and pop music as a confirmation of his ideas (Gladwell, 2007). He also uses the most significant examples of the lives of ordinary people.
To continue, the information presented in the book not only explains how the ability of experts to make “thin slice” can be distorted depending on their preferences, prejudices and stereotypes (even unconscious) or because of information overload. He argues that the best solutions are often a hasty judgment, and do not appear as a result of a comprehensive analysis. For instance, Blink shows the ways how the psychologist, basing on a few minutes of analyzing a type of communication of a couple has learned several ways to predict whether a marriage will be destroyed in future or will last for a long time. Or another example, the mechanism of blink work is also very good described in a case of the tennis coach, who really knows when a player will do the mistake on the name double-fault before his racket even has a contact with the ball. And of course, the most remarkable example is made on the base of the antiques experts because these people recognized a fake only by the first glance. According to Norton, “Decisions may even have to be made in less time than is available consciously to weigh the alternatives and select a course of action” (Norton, 2006). And it means that our unconscious works much faster than we even can imagine.
In this abstract, it is necessary to note not only positive part of “blinks”, but on the negative side of the issue, and here the speech is going about the most great failures of “blink” made on the election of Warren Harding; the shooting of such a person as Amadou Diallo by police, and a case of “New Coke”. It means that sometimes people can be attracted by personal charisma of a person as it had a place in the case of Warren Harding, and of course it can lead to very many mistakes and problems in future.
One more accent can be made on the area in our brain that has a title of ventromedial area which plays a critical role in decision-making. This part of our brain is involved in the analysis of emergency situations, relationships; it also filters the information coming from the external world, sets priorities, noting all the aspects which need the immediate turn of our attention. For instance, people with damaged ventromedial section are fully reasonable by their nature. They can be educated and quite professional, but they have a lack of the ability to make decisions. Unfortunately, some damages in the ventromedial area of the brain disconnect the contact between what a person knows and his possible actions.
Thus, taking everything into consideration, we can come to the conclusion that every person who has no problems with ventromedial area is able to make very fast decisions on the base of “blinks”, while in these cases redundant information is not an advantage because it is enough to know a very little amount of information to distinguish the main feature of a phenomenon. For the purpose to explain that all people should be attentive to their “blinks” we have used different examples in all areas of human life beginning with ordinary life, in a case of marriage prognoses, and ending with sport, as we stated in the example of the tennis coach. Moreover, I need to state that I like the book because it gave me a kind of new vision of surrounding reality, giving an instrument of “blink” into my hands, vividly illustrating the fact that information overload of decision-makers, complicates rather than facilitates the establishment of the main characters. In order to successfully make the decisions, people need to learn how to cut of unnecessary details. So, the book can be recommended not only to professionals, but also to all people who wants to know themselves better because producing “thin slices”, recognizing patterns, and taking instant decisions, we are able to cut off all unnecessary things unconsciously.
June 29, 2015 |Free Essay Sample Papers|Tags: book Blink