©2005 Malcolm Gladwell; (P)2005 Hachette Audio
"Astonishing." (Daily Mail)
"Compelling." (Evening Standard)
I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!
This is the third Malcolm Gladwell book I have listened to (or read), and like the other two, it is really interesting, but just a little bit unconvincing in parts. He is a brilliant storyteller, drawing you in with interesting anecdotes about a man who can pick winning horses by observing their body language and a rogue soldier who outwits the entire US army in a war game scenario. But towards the end of the book his argument loses its way.
As the book progresses he gradually builds a convincing theory about how our minds are adept at making accurate instantaneous judgements and how, in many cases, the more information we are given the less likely we are to judge well.
But then he starts to make some slightly dubious claims and even to contradict himself somewhat. He tells the story of 4 policemen who kill an African American in a bad neighbourhood at night because they think he has a gun. He says that the stress of the situation gives them ‘temporary autism’ which robs them of their normal powers to make ‘blink’ judgements. But you just don’t need this theory to explain why they misjudged the situation. It was dark, and the inability of the men to detect the innocence and terror on the victim’s face could be explained by this alone.
Later on he describes another policeman, who had received training in controlling this kind of panic reaction in dangerous and stressful situations, and because of this training, when faced with an armed youngster, he waited a little longer and gathered more information and decided not to shoot. But this contradicts the main idea of the book, which is that we make better decisions when we allow our intuition to do it in a blink.
So, by the end of the book, you have been entertained and have also been persuaded that humans often make better judgements when they ‘thin slice’, i.e. they make quick unconscious decisions based on very limited information. But, in my opinion, he tries to over-elaborate his theory in the later chapters, and I felt myself disagreeing with him, which spoilt the book a bit.
“As you know, madness is like gravity...all it takes is a little push.” The Joker
If you happened to like any of Malcolm Gladwell's books, you will surely like this one. For me , it is even better than the previous ones. I think negative reviews might have been influenced by exceedingly high expectations.
Excellent and inspiring book - of the matter of intuition as well as actual issues concerning us all - such as police shootings or effective markting of products.
A minor but unusual and very nice detail: this audiobook is actually modified slightly from the written edition, so it consistently makes sense to a listener as oposed to a reader.
I loved how Gladwell explains how much information we can gather in a blink of an eye. He goes on to show his findings through research and stories.
I feel wiser and love re-quoting the stories to other people.
Great audio - and well read.
Never thought about the concept of 'thin slicing' experience in this way and the impact of stereotypes, and the difference time makes! Gladwell
Is a really inspiring read, as always.
Good book, gives you insight into how the subconscious works.
The war game of 2002 scenario was interesting.
Great to hear the author in an audiobook.
This text should be on the university reading lists in all faculties. Its applications and insights are without borders.
Yes, the fact that it is author read gives it a feel of authenticity. I don't have to judge emphasis or pronunciation (not a native English speaker)
The book confronts one with everyday realities which is presented from a new perspective.
He does himself rather convincingly :-)
It held my attention, but not to the point where I could not pause. I liked it - binding enough to hold me yet autonomous enough in its coherence that the interruptions inevitable in my life did not significantly detract from the value even though I can only listen for ~40 minutes at a time
Outliers spoiled it for us as this is somewhat less wow but by any other standard it is great. Sometimes I got the feeling the point was belabored as it was already stated yet only paraphrased later, but there were also times when the extra angle added more insight.
All n all a valuable listen!
"Enjoyable, but goes in an unexpected direction"
I enjoyed listening to this. Gladwell interweaves gripping stories with interesting psychological information very effectively. Like another reviewer, however, I was a bit surprised with the direction this took. It started out being about the powers of the unconscious and how experts can make very complicated judgements almost instantaneously. It seemed to promise to tell the reader how to harness the power of the unconsious. But then it swerved much more into exploring how snap judgements can be bad, and ended up being about the nature of prejudice. This was very interesting (possibly more interesting than the direction it had been heading in), but definitely a bit unexpected.
"Not quite what I expected"
Enjoyed lisening to the various stories but kept hearing myself say - and your point is?
I love this kind of book. If you are even mildly interested in why people do what they do, this book is another must (as well as Predictably Irrational*). It's all in plain English, and it's all fascinating.
I would recommend this book. In fact, I have to many friends.
Blink is a very successful book which covers the subject of intuition. I expected great things from this and the audiobook got off to a flying start with Gladwell's playful and confident reading style. I kept expecting the audiobook to then ramp up past what was fast becoming a very long-winded introduction...except it wasn't and by now I was onto the third chapter. Whilst providing some interesting examples, this book does little else than state the obvious...again and again and again....it feels like a lot of newspaper clippings all pulled together (which some say is exactly what it is). For such a successful book I had such high expectations and for the most part this book failed to deliver...I found myself becoming increasingly bored.
Opportunist crap. This guy doesn't have any theory, ideas, nothing. He just wanted to make money with this.
Mr Gladwell has collected an interesting set of anecdotes loosely connected to short time spans and pulls them together without much logic or structure and with many internal contradictions. Sometimes experts are people who have analysed their topic (e.g. food) so that they have access to their sub-conscious whereas non-experts flounder around with holistic impressions, sometimes experts have such finely tuned intuitions that they can instantly say that, for example, a statue is fake, but they have no access to the (highly trained) sub-conscious that tells them this. Ignore pedants like me, Mr Gladwell's amiable muddle-through will provide entertainment and food for thought (especially about prejudice) for any reader.
"Fascinating and Compelling"
Excellent. I am sure I will listen to this again and again.
"Missing anything about neural networks."
This book could've been more informative about how the subconscious brain works as a neural network which is very good at pattern recognition. Instead it becomes a series of anecdotes about conscious bias and prejudice. It's still informative but not very helpful to improve ones subconscious brain other than external management.
"Great concept, easy to follow"
The concept behind blink is very compelling. I listened to the audio book that was easy to follow and the examples were all relevant . Interesting to see the analogy once the body was excited or in a high stress situation. Many types of face movement were categorised and mentioned. It would be interesting to see if these are expanded with pictures in the actual book. Very thought provoking book that makes you want to look at the subject in even greater detail . Recommended.
"some great Gladwell stuff but..."
I love Malcolm Gladwell but after reading Outliers, which I loved, , this one didn't keep my interest to the end. a little too much detail that lost the relevance for me.
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