Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

Blink

May 17, 2008


I’ve been meaning to read Blink for awhile, and finally grabbed it at the library. My snarky reading plan was based on my thumbnail sketch of the book, and my own tendency toward speed-reading. I reasoned that if I have the gift, I should hardly need to read the book at all. If I don’t have the gift, then reading it won’t help me, anyway. But my own ‘blink’ about Blink was flawed, for in reading it I found that everyone has the gift in some degree, and once I started reading, I was really interested in the many examples of ‘thin slicing’ and ‘selective sampling’ and ‘intuition’ that Gladwell cites. The genius of this volume is that he finds a way to describe the point of the book on the first page, but he writes well enough, and with enough interesting examples, to keep the reader’s attention all the way through the book.

Sure, I ‘blinked’ over whole chapters that seemed tedious, and did some ‘thin slicing’ of the stuff I did read (I don’t like to take quizzes or perform thought experiments, preferring to skim past them to see the point of the exercise). And I appreciated Gladwell’s intellectual honesty in exploring the dark side of selective sampling in cases like police brutality and unnecessary shootings. But even with my quick read, I was amazed at the promise and danger of the human ability to find shortcuts in perception and judgment.

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2 Responses to “Blink”

  1. Anonymous says:

    HUH!!!???

    I wasn’t going to comment, but Yvonne insisted. :)
    Tom D.M.

  2. P3T3RK3Y5 says:

    another good review – i’ve never quite understood how malcolm was able to make a carear out of writting books about their title – without adding any new information to it.

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