Sunday, April 30, 2006

Blink (Malcolm Gladwell)

I had no idea that Chef Boyardee's first name is Hector. Yes. Hector. And apparently when consumers choose canned ravioli, they want Hector's picture on the label to look like that of a real person. If he's too cartoony, people will think the ravioli doesn't taste as good (although of course they won't realize this is the reason why they think that). In Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Gladwell explores these snap, unconscious decisions we make every day without even knowing it.

The exploration of these quick decisions are intriguing (such as in speed dating, the New Coke debacle, and what emotions politicians give away in their face) and terrifying (such as the policemen who shot Amadou Diallo). In some contexts, we can train our unconscious to make better, more-informed snap decisions, and in other cases, we need to learn not to rely on them (such as when these decisions are informed by stereotypes). Blink will definitely leave you questioning your decisions and your first impressions.

Next book up: Plan B by Anne Lammott

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