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"In the first two seconds of looking –in a single glance – they were able to understand more about the essence of the statue than the team at the Getty was able to understand after fourteen months . . . Blink is a book about those first two seconds."
Gladwell begins his introduction with the story of a kouros – an ancient Greek sculpture of a young naked male – that was acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1983. Kouroi are very rare. As a result this particular kouros was being sold for $10 million. Because of the hefty price tag, the Getty Museum was very careful when testing to see if the kouros was a forgery. However, after 14 months of analysis, the Getty determined that the kouros was in fact real, and bought the statue.

Many scholars did not agree that the kouros was real. To them, something about the statue didn’t look right. When Thomas Hoving, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, looked at the statue the first word that came to his mind was “fresh”. When Angelos Delivorrias, director of the Benaki Museum in Athens, first laid eyes upon the statue he felt a wave of immediate disgust.

For a long time the validity of the kouros was hotly debated. Finally, the Getty’s case began to fall apart. As it turned out, a lot of the documents used to prove the statue’s authenticity were forged. Also, as experts began to examine the statue in great detail, they came to the realization that it used a hodgepodge of styles from many different places and time periods. Today, the statue is widely considered to be a fake.
Fast And Frugal
A few years back, a group of scientists at the University of Iowa discovered that human beings experience subconscious reactions (sweaty palms etc…) to negative situations five times faster than it takes our brains to consciously process the same information. Gladwell addresses this experiment by arguing that the human brain uses two different strategies to understand situations:
A. The conscious strategy in which we think about what we’ve learned, and eventually we come up with the answer.

B. The subconscious strategy in which our brain sends messages through odd channels like sweat glands. “It’s a system in which our brain reaches conclusions without immediately telling us that it’s reaching conclusions.” This strategy was used by Thomas Hoving and the rest of the scholars that had kneejerk reactions to the kouros. They looked at the statue, made some unconscious calculations and, before any conscious thoughts entered their minds, felt that something was off.

Gladwell continues to note that the scholars’ thinking was what a psychologist named Gerd Gigerenzer calls "fast and frugal."
The Internal Computer
The part of our brain that jumps to these quick conclusions is called the adaptive unconscious. “The adaptive unconscious,” Gladwell clarifies, “is thought of, instead, as a kind of computer that quickly and quietly processes a lot of the data we need in order to keep functioning as human beings.” As it turns out, we humans use this part of our brain on a regular basis. Whether we are reacting to a new pair of sneakers, interviewing a babysitter, or making any other decision both quickly and under stress, we are using our adaptive unconscious.

Gladwell thinks, however, that we don’t trust this part of our brains because we are told from a young age to take our time when making a decision: “Haste makes waste. Look before you leap. Stop and think. Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Yet Gladwell argues that quick decisions can be just as reliable as decisions made after much consideration.

Gladwell ends this section by listing the three objectives of this book:

1. To convince the reader that decisions made quickly are just as reliable as deliberate ones.

2. To help the reader recognize when to listen to his or her instincts, and when to be wary of them.

3. To convince the reader that snap judgments can be educated and controlled.
A Different And Better World
To summarize his introduction, Gladwell says that the world would be a better place if we put more weight into our kneejerk reactions, and less emphasis on our planned decisions, “the task of making sense of ourselves and our behavior requires that we acknowledge there can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.”

“When we leap to decisions or have a hunch, our unconscious is doing what John Gottman does. It’s sifting through the situation in front of us, throwing out all that is irrelevant while we zero in on what really matters.”
The beginning of this chapter discusses a study done by psychologist John Gottman at the University of Washington. The Love Lab
Gottman has created a system – called SPAFF – in which he can analyze an hour-long conversation between a married couple and predict whether or not they will be divorced in 15 years. Incredibly, Gottman’s predictions are as high as 95% accurate.

Gladwell explains that Gottman is doing something called thin-slicing. Thin-slicing happens when our instincts find patterns in situations and behaviors based on short-lived experiences. This, in essence, is what our subconscious does, only at a much faster pace.

“Can a marriage really be understood in one sitting? Yes it can, and so can lots of other seemingly complex situations.”
Marriage and Morse Code
Gladwell then turns the discussion to Morse code. Morse code uses a series of dashes and dots to communicate a message. Each dash and dot is supposed to be held for a certain amount of time. However, the spacing varies depending on who is sending the message. "Morse code is like speech. Everyone has a different voice. Each personal 'voice' is called a fist."

“What Gottman is saying is that a relationship between two people has a fist as well: a distinctive signature that arises naturally and automatically.” Gladwell continues to say that all human activity – from Morse code to marital interactions – have patterns. When we analyze these patterns we can predict the future . . . to a certain extent.
The Importance of Contempt
Gladwell sat down and tried to predict the future of certain relationships, much like Gottman, but with little success. The problem for Gladwell was that he found himself overwhelmed with the large amount of emotions displayed by the couples throughout their conversations.

Gottman, on the other hand, has found that there are four emotions that indicate a troubled relationship: defensiveness, criticism, contempt, and stonewalling. Gottman tends to focus on these four emotions when analyzing a clip. This is what our subconscious does when making a snap decision. It sifts through the information and makes a decision based on the most important factors.
Secrets of the Bedroom
This section deals with the Thick-Slice vs. Thin-Slice debate. Samuel Gosling created an experiment in which he asked 80 students to take a personality exam. Gosling first wanted to know how accurate a student’s friends would be when guessing the student’s answers (thick-slice). Then, Gosling asked strangers – who had never met the students – to take 15 minutes in the students’ rooms while answering the same set of questions (thin-slice). In the end, the strangers’ answers were more in-line with the students’ than their friends’ were. Here we see that the thin-slice technique can be just as effective, if not more so, than the thick-slice technique.
Listening to Doctors
In this section Gladwell tells us that insurance specialists are able to tell if a doctor is likely to get sued for malpractice, strictly based on the doctor’s interactions with his or her clients. It turns out that people don’t sue their doctors based on the quality of care, but on how well the doctor treats them personally. A person who feels ignored is much more likely to sue the doctor than someone who has a good relationship with a physician, “. . . in the end it comes down to a matter of respect . . .”
The Power of the Glance
Gladwell concludes this chapter by stating that we humans thin-slice on a regular basis, “We thin-slice whenever we meet a new person or have to make sense of something quickly or encounter a novel situation.”
“. . .if we are to learn to improve the quality of the decisions we make, we need to accept the mysterious nature of our snap judgments.”
In the beginning of this chapter, Gladwell says that there are two important facts about snap judgments:

A. They are very quick.

B. They are unconscious.

The second of these characteristics leads to some very confusing behavior. Because snap judgments are not conscious decisions, we have a hard time explaining how we formed them. Gladwell believes that this inability to rationalize our quick decisions is the reason that we are hesitant to believe them. “It’s one thing to acknowledge the enormous power of snap judgments and thin slices but quite another to place our trust in something so seemingly mysterious."

Gladwell says that this was the problem with the Getty Museum. He explains that it was easier for the Getty to put faith in scientists and lawyers who provided documented proof of their theories, than experts who claimed to have inexplicable gut feelings. Gladwell argues that we need to accept the mystery of our snap judgments and pursue them anyway. “We need to respect the fact that it is possible to know without knowing why we know and accept that – sometimes – we’re better off that way."
Primed for Action
In this section Gladwell introduces what is known as a priming experiment. A priming experiment uses subconscious techniques to affect the physical actions of a given test group. For example, a scrambled word test asks its taker to quickly rearrange the words provided into a four word sentence. Below are a couple of sentences used by Gladwell in his sample test:

1. "from are Florida oranges temperature"

2. "shoes give replace old the"

3. "be will sweat lonely"

4. "sky the seamless gray is"

This seems pretty direct, but there is another factor at play. By using the terms “Florida”, “old”, “lonely” and “gray”, the test forced your big computer (adaptive unconscious) to think about the state being old. Thus, after talking the test, your actions would have slowed noticeably. This is called priming. After examining a few priming experiments, Gladwell argues that “. . . what we think of as free will is largely an illusion . . .” as we typically operate through our subconscious.

However Gladwell argues that the adaptive unconscious’ power over us is also a benefit. If we were busy looking for hidden clues in everything that crossed our paths, we would never get anything accomplished. Gladwell, when discussing priming experiments, says that “Your unconscious, in this sense…was taking care of all the minor mental details in your life…leaving you free to concentrate on the main problem at hand."
The Story Telling Problem
After highlighting how our 'big computers' work without our conscious knowledge, Gladwell continues to argue that we rarely understand why our adaptive unconscious works the way that it does. Gladwell uses the example of Ted Williams, one of Major League Baseball’s all-time greatest hitters. When asked about the key to his success at the plate, Williams historically claimed that he watched the ball until it hit the bat. Unfortunately science does not agree. It has been proven that, as a result of the ball’s speed and closeness to the batter, it is impossible for a batter to see the baseball during its final five feet of flight. When confronted with this information Williams simply replied "Well I guess it just seemed like I could do that."

The point is that we, as humans, are quick to explain things that we can’t really explain. This is what Gladwell calls a “story telling problem”. He concludes that “…people are ignorant of the things that affect their actions, yet they rarely feel ignorant. We need to accept our ignorance and say ‘I don’t know’ more often."
Taking rapid cognition seriously – acknowledging the incredible power, for good and ill, that first impressions play in our lives – requires that we take active steps to manage and control those impressions.”
In Chapter 3, Gladwell highlights the downsides of thin-slicing. He uses Warren Harding, America’s 29th President, as an example. Warren Harding was a notoriously handsome man, but he was never known to be a good politician. However, Harding’s demeanor, physique, and voice portrayed an aura of powerful leadership that people fell in love with. Harding was elected president, as Gladwell argues, based mainly on his physical appearance. In the end, Harding became “…one of the worst presidents in American history.
The Dark Side of Thin-Slicing
The Warren Harding error is a disadvantage of thin-slicing. “I think that there are facts about people’s appearance – their size or shape or color or sex – that can trigger a very similar set of powerful associations." Gladwell believes that people can be primed by both words – as we saw in Chapter 2 – and people’s appearances. Warren Harding’s election to the presidency proves Gladwell’s point. People thought that Harding would make a great leader because he was distinguished and handsome. This was not the case.
Blink in Black and White
Often times our unconscious attitudes may not correspond with our beliefs (conscious values). Gladwell highlights this fact by using the Implicit Association Test (IAT) as an example. The IAT is a test in which the subjects are asked to take a list of items and rapidly place them into one of two columns. Here is an example of an IAT:
Male Female or or
Career Family
The test taker is then asked to move down the list as quick as possible; putting checkmarks in the column that corresponds to each word. For most people this test is easy because they have strong mental associations between “Male” and “Career”, as well as “Female” and “Family.”

A problem arises, however, when the terms Career and Family switch columns. When presented with this new test, the majority of subjects take longer to move through the list. The reason for this delay is that most people don’t have strong mental associations linking “Male” with “Family” and “Female” with “Career”. While most would say that they don’t associate men solely with careers and women solely with the familial unit, the fact that they take longer – be it in milliseconds – to go through the second list, shows that their big computer does make these associations.
Taking Care of the Customer
In this section Gladwell tells the story of Bob Golomb, a successful car salesman in Flemington, New Jersey. Golomb attributes his success to the fact that he resists the Warren Harding error, and treats every potential customer equally.
Spotting a Sucker
This section of the chapter talks about an experiment conducted in the early 1990’s by Ian Ayers. Ayers found that, on average, women and African-Americans are quoted higher prices at car dealerships than white men. Gladwell argues that this is a result of the salesmen’s subconscious reaction to these particular types of customers. In the end, the visual priming costs the salesmen money as they are not considered fair or honest.
Think About Dr. King
At the end of the chapter Gladwell asserts that you can affect the outcome of the IAT by looking at images that defy stereotypes. For example, if one were to look at images of female CEOs before taking the second test above, reaction time would decrease. “Our first impressions are generated by our experiences and our environment, which means that we can change our first impressions – we can alter the way we thin-slice – by changing the experiences that compromise those impressions."
“Snap judgments can be made in a snap because they are frugal, and if we want to protect our snap judgments, we have to take steps to protect that frugality.”
In 2002 the Pentagon staged one of the largest war games in history. They called it the Millennium Challenge. The scenario it enacted was very similar to our situation with Saddam Hussein at that time - a rebel military commander in the Persian Gulf was harboring terrorists and spewing Anti-American propaganda.

In Millennium Challenge the rogue commander was played by a former Marine commander named Paul Van Riper.
One Morning in the Gulf
The Pentagon’s goal for Millennium Challenge was to experiment with different ways to affect their enemy’s environment – military, economic, cultural, etc. The Blue Team (the American side) “…were given an unprecedented amount of information and intelligence…They had every toy in the Pentagon’s arsenal." Ultimately the Pentagon wanted to verify that the use of super-computers, satellites and sensors would help the U.S. predict their enemy’s actions.

Van Riper, as it turns out, was the perfect man to lead Red Team (the rogue government). He believed that war was unpredictable. Van Riper also felt the rational analysis that the Blue Team was charged with using didn’t work under the uncertainties and time pressures that the state of war provided.

At the outset of the challenge, Van Riper proved that more information does not equal more clarity. Acting in an unforeseen way – much as rogue dictators do – Van Riper went on an offensive push, sinking 16 of Blue Team’s most important ships in one attack. Blue Team, with all of their information, did not see it coming.
The Structure of Spontaneity
Spontaneity is not as random as people think. To prove this, Gladwell uses the example of improvisational actors: “Improvisation comedy is a wonderful example of the kind of thinking that Blink is about. It involves people making very sophisticated decisions on the spur of the moment, without the benefit of any kind of script or plot." When talking to a teacher, Gladwell finds out that improv acting only works if you follow a golden rule: agree with everything. You can’t create a believable scene if each actor is fighting to direct it in a preferred direction. This rule is practiced repeatedly so that, when the performance arrives, the actors are well equipped to act “spontaneously”. Improv actors are able to make quick, informed decisions only after they have learned the rules, and practiced them repeatedly.
The Perils of Introspection
In this section Gladwell explains that when trying to break a problem down – when trying to analyze every piece of a situation – you can overwhelm your decision making powers. This was Blue Team’s mistake. ”They had a system in place that forced their commanders to stop and talk things over and figure out what was going on. That would have been fine if the problem in front of them demanded logic. But instead, Van Riper presented them with something different."

Some answers come to us in a flash of insight. If we constantly worry about solving problems logically, we can miss the obvious answers. “In the act of tearing something apart, you lose its meaning."

A Crisis in the ER

The doctors at Cook County ER in Chicago were overwhelmed with the number of patients complaining of chest pains. To make matters worse, the doctors had trouble diagnosing the patients because they were stuck considering a wide variety of information like health history, ECB readings, blood pressure and more. Needless to say it was a very imprecise system.

Eventually the Chairman of the Department of Medicine streamlined the process. He put a system in place that required the doctors to only use a few defined symptoms in their analysis. This simplified way of treating patients increased the doctors’ accuracy by 70 percent.
When Less Is More
The Cook County experiment shows that the presence of more information does not lead to better decisions. All of the extra information – health history, ECG, etc. – does occasionally help, but more often than not it complicates things. This is what happened to Blue Team in Millennium Challenge.

Gladwell says that there are two important lessons here:

A. Good decision making requires a balance between thoughtful and instinctive thinking.

B. Frugality matters when making good decisions.

Gladwell goes on to say that a good decision maker is able to edit. “If you get too caught up in the production of information, you drown in the data."

Millennium Challenge, Part Two

After the first day of Millennium Challenge, the table was set. Blue Team was given its ships back, and Van Riper’s hands were essentially tied behind his back. He couldn’t use radar and his missiles had been shot down. Blue Team won the game in a rout, because Van Riper had to play by their script. Soon after Millennium Challenge, the Pentagon turned its attention to Saddam Hussein, who did not play by its script.

“Their thinking was that music lovers can thin-slice a new song in a matter of seconds, and there is nothing wrong with that idea in principle. But thin-slicing has to be done in context.”
Kenna is a promising musician who defies categorization. People in the music industry loved his music. Unfortunately for Kenna, focus groups did not. His music was tested with listeners and given unfavorable scores. As a result, Kenna’s career stalled.
A Second Look at First Impressions
This section of Chapter Five opens with the introduction of Dick Morris, the man who brought focus groups to politics. Gladwell highlights that, while some people thought his motives to be a problem, Morris was simply trying to do what people in other industries have been doing for awhile: …”to capture the mysterious and powerful reactions we have to the world around us."

Gladwell continues to say that we should not put too much weight into the gut reactions of a focus group because, as previously discussed, people are not good at explaining the thought process behind their gut reactions.
Pepsi’s Challenge
In the early 1980’s Pepsi began a marketing campaign that challenged Coca-Cola in a series of blind taste tests. The results indicated that people like the taste of Pepsi significantly more than Coca-Cola. In response, Coca-Cola created a new recipe that tested well in blind taste tests. The executives at Coke were very happy with these results and put the new recipe on the market.

How did it do? Horribly. People didn’t like the new Coca-Cola, in spite of its high test scores.
The Blind Leading the Blind
The reason behind New Coke’s poor performance is the difference between having a sip of cola, and having an entire bottle. While people enjoyed small sips of the overly sweet New Coke, they did not enjoy drinking an entire bottle. This proves that thin-slicing is not always accurate.

Gladwell argues that thin-slicing has to be done in context. We need to drink an entire bottle of soda to know how we feel about it. Just as our perception of a person’s appearance can affect the way we treat them. This was one of the problems affecting Kenna and his music. The people in the industry had seen him perform, or knew someone who had, while the focus groups strictly heard his songs. “Judging Kenna without that additional information is like making people choose between Pepsi and Coke in a blind taste test."
The Chair of Death
In this section Gladwell uses the Aeron chair to highlight how we misinterpret our first impressions. In spite of its incredible back support, the Aeron did not test well due to its odd appearance. The company continued with the chair’s production anyway, and today the Aeron is the best selling chair in the company’s history. “[The testers] said that they hated it. But what they really meant was that the chair was so new and unusual that they weren’t used to it." As it turns out the Aeron received bad reviews because it was revolutionary, not because it was a bad product.

This was another one of the problems facing Kenna: “His music was new and different, and it is the new and different that is always most vulnerable to market research."
The Gift of Expertise
In this section Gladwell argues that experts, through their countless experiences with a certain subject, are much better at looking behind the locked door than people with less experience. “Our unconscious reactions come out of a locked room…But with experience we become expert at using our behavior and our training to interpret – and decode – what lies behind our snap judgments and first impressions."

Gladwell points out that we aren’t necessarily wrong when we form instant opinions outside our areas of expertise. These reactions are simply shallow and hard to explain. Gladwell argues that these opinions are not based on real understanding because we have not been taught how to understand. Just because people drink a lot of cola does not mean they can tell you that Coke has a raisin and vanilla taste, while Pepsi is known for its citrus taste. They were never trained to do so, just as the folks in Kenna’s focus groups were never taught to listen to music.
“It Sucks What the Record Companies are Doing to You”
Gladwell ends this chapter by summing up Kenna’s current situation. Radio stations won’t play his music without proof that people will like it (positive reviews from focus groups). While experts and live audiences love Kenna, he is yet to make it big due to his poorly contextualized test scores.

“…packed inside those few seconds were enough steps and decisions to fill a lifetime.” To start the chapter Gladwell recounts the well known story of Amadou Diallo – a Guinean immigrant who was shot 41 times by police officers as he reached for his wallet in the hallway of his Brooklyn apartment building.

Just before midnight on February 3, 1999, the four officers spotted Diallo standing outside of his apartment building and thought he was up to no good. As they backed the car up to investigate, Diallo stared at them inquisitively. The officers stopped the car, got out and addressed Diallo. Diallo did not reply. He was terrified because his friends were recently robbed by a group of armed men. Diallo turned and ran into the building, with the officers chasing after him. As Diallo reached the door he pulled his wallet out of his pocket. The officers, thinking the wallet was a gun, opened fire and killed Diallo. The officers were put on trial for murder.
Three Fatal Mistakes
Gladwell says that the officers made three major mistakes in handling the situation:

1) Their instincts told them that Diallo was suspicious, when in reality he was getting some fresh air.

2) The officers interpreted Diallo’s curiosity to be boldness.

3) They decided Diallo was dangerous when he reached for his wallet, when he clearly was not.

Gladwell continues by introducing the most common form of rapid cognition – reading people’s facial expressions. He refers to this type of quick judgment as mind-reading, “…what happened on Wheeler Avenue is a powerful example of how mind-reading works – and how it sometimes goes terribly awry."

The Theory Of Mind Reading

In this section Gladwell tells the story of Silvan Tomkins and Paul Ekman, two scientists who catalogued every possible facial expression and the emotions they portray. In essence, the men created a guide to mind-reading.
The Naked Face
Gladwell argues that our facial expressions and our emotions are irreversibly linked. “Whenever we experience a basic emotion, that emotion is automatically expressed by the muscles of the face." This strong connection means that we often wear expressions without our knowledge. These micro-expressions, as Ekman puts it, betray our true feelings. Because we display our innermost thoughts on our faces, it is not hard for others to read our minds, and vice-versa.
A Man, a Woman, and a Light Switch
“The classic model for understanding what it means to lose ability to mind-read is the condition of autism." People with autism have an incredibly hard time understanding non-verbal signals like facial expressions and hand gestures. As a result, they find it very difficult to understand someone’s intentions unless they are relayed verbally. Gladwell argues that, when our mind-reading abilities fail, we see the world in this manner.
Arguing with a Dog
In this section Gladwell tells us that when our heart rate goes over 175 beats per minute, our ability to reason breaks down. “The forebrain shuts down, and the mid-brain – the part that is the same as your dog’s (all mammals have that part of the brain) – reaches up and hijacks the forebrain." In other words, when our heart rate reaches a certain point we have the reasoning skills of a dog.
Running Out of White Space
Gladwell also makes the argument that we become “temporarily autistic” when we don’t have enough time. When our subconscious is forced to make a decision in the course of milliseconds, its ability to make well-informed decisions suffers. “Our powers of thin-slicing and snap judgments are extraordinary. But even the giant computer in our unconscious needs a moment to do its work."
“Something in My Mind Just Told Me I Didn’t Have to Shoot Yet”
In this section Gladwell highlights the benefits of training our instincts. He tells the story of a veteran officer who – when face to face with a suspect pulling a gun from his pants – chose not to fire. The suspect dropped the gun to the ground and was arrested without incident. The Tragedy on Wheeler Avenue
With all of this new information Gladwell retells the story of Amadou Diallo’s death. This time Gladwell points out that the officers were thrown into a situation that caused them to make terrible decisions: they were not aware of their super-computer’s miscalculation, they were unable to read Diallo’s mind because he turned and ran as they approached, they did not have enough time to make an informed decision and they were hindered by the negative effects of a racing heart.
Why, for so many years, were conductors so oblivious to the corruption of their snap judgments? Because we are often careless with our powers of rapid cognition.”
Up until the late 20th Century, the world of classical music had been dominated by men. At the root of this unfair practice was the false perception that women did not have the physical strength and lung capacity to play as well as men. This was particularly the case, it was thought, with brass instruments.

Nowadays most orchestral auditions are done blind, with the musician playing behind a screen. This allows the judges to listen to the music without their supercomputers affecting the experience.

When Abbie Conant, a trombonist living in Italy, did a blind audition for the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in 1980, she ran into some problems. Conant wowed the judges. The Music Director, Sergiu Celibidache, proclaimed after Conant’s audition, “That’s who we want!" However Celibidache had no idea that Conant was a woman. Celibidache did hire Conant, but he refused to allow her to become first chair trombone – a post that she deserved. Most of Celibidache’s arguments hinged on the fact that Conant did not have the same physical abilities as her male counterparts. Conant went through a series of tests to prove that her lung strength was every bit as good as a man’s. In the end Conant made first chair trombone.
A Revolution in Classical Music
This section discusses the origins of blind auditions. In the mid 20th Century, classical musicians in the U.S. organized themselves politically. This led to health benefits, better contracts and a clearer hiring and firing process. The musicians felt that the conductors used their power to play favorites, which was true. Once blind auditions became the norm, orchestras around the country began hiring women at a faster rate.

It turned out that the conductors were allowing their snap judgments to affect the way they heard the music. If a woman walked into an audition for a brass instrument, the interviewer would inevitably say that she didn’t play with enough power. However, with the invention of the blind audition, these preconceived ideas never crept into the conductors’ minds. Once the conductors began to listen to the music objectively, they began to hire more women.
A Small Miracle
Gladwell says that the conductors did not realize that their snap judgments were corrupted because “…we are often careless with our powers of rapid cognitions." He continues to say that if we are to take the power of our snap judgments seriously, we need to recognize the small factors that can influence them.

One of the main lessons of Blink is that we have the power to affect our unconsciousness. The conductors put a screen up so they could hear the music better. This had an effect not only on the women who were hired, but on the quality of music produced. Unbiased interviews led to better musicians, and better musicians led to better music. This is a perfect example of how understanding the tendencies of rapid cognition has positively affected our world.
It is not enough simply to explore the hidden recesses of our unconscious. Once we know about how the mind works – and about the strengths and weaknesses of human judgment – it is our responsibility to act.”
The Lesson of Chancellorsville
In the Civil War battle of Chancellorsville, Confederate general Robert E. Lee was surrounded and outnumbered by Union general Joe Hooker. Hooker had more men, more weapons, better positioning and better information. He was even using hot air balloons to spy on his enemies.

Yet, when the time came for battle, Lee – much like Paul Van Riper – did not act in a predictable manner. No, Lee acted as if he had the advantage, which made Hooker second-guess himself. In the end, in spite of their favorable situation, the Union turned and ran.
Paul Van Riper’s War
Paul Van Riper, a student of military history, was very interested in the battle for Chancellorsville.

Van Riper taught Gladwell that it is only possible to act quickly and intelligently after one has attained an immense amount of experience and education. This was evident in the battle of Chancellorsville. “Chancellorsville came down to some ineffable, magical decision-making ability that Lee possessed and Hooker did not…It’s the kind of wisdom that someone acquires after a lifetime of learning and watching and doing." This echoes Gladwell’s earlier point that with expertise comes better snap judgments.

Hooker’s other problem was that he had too much information. He knew that Lee was outnumbered, surrounded and in a bad position. So, when Lee did not act like a man on the brink of defeat, Hooker out-thought himself and decided that there was something he was missing. If Hooker did not know that Lee was in trouble, he would have fought the battle and won.

Gladwell argues that Hooker had a lot of knowledge, but was lacking in understanding – something that happens too often in today’s information-rich world.
When to Blink – And When to Think
According to Gladwell, we should not rely only on our instincts or our rational analysis of situations. We need to find a balance between the two. Here Gladwell offers a “partial answer”: “On straightforward choices, deliberate analysis is best. When questions of analysis and personal choice start to get complicated – when we have to juggle many different variables – then our unconscious thought process may be superior." In other words, for small decisions think the answer through rationally. But, when making a large, complicated decision, use your instincts. A Call to Action
The most powerful story from this book, in Gladwell’s opinion, is the story of Abbie Conant and the Munich Philharmonic. “I’m drawn to it for a very simple reason: the classical music world had a problem – and they fixed it." This is the final point of Blink: we have the power to change – for the better – the ways in which our snap judgments are affected. Gladwell believes that we have a responsibility to act on this power and, if we do, the world can be a better place.…...

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Eye Blink Sensor

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Eye Blink Sensor

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Life Changes in a Blink of an Eye

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Blink - the Power of Thinking Without Thinking

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Creating a Program That Blinks the Leds on the Board

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Blink and You Miss It Analyse

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Courage Is Both a Moral and a Practical Matter for Leaders.

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Blink: the Power of Thinking Without Thinking

...Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking is a book written by Malcolm Gladwell. This book introduces the concept of “thin slicing”. The concept refers to how in a split second or blink of an eye people can make an unconscious and accurate assessment of someone. Using the concept of thin slicing we can determine what is really important within the first few seconds when meeting someone. Malcolm Gladwell explained that first impressions or spontaneous decisions can be just as important as decisions that are made carefully and planned out. According to Gladwell, people make better decisions with quick judgments than they do with a lot of analysis. Gladwell believes that the power of thin slicing is not just something certain gifted people can do, it is something that everyone has the ability do. Gladwell also explains that our first decisions or first impressions can be easily corrupted by our likes, dislikes, prejudices, and stereotypes. We are thin slicing all the time according to Gladwell. Throughout the book Gladwell gives us many examples and experiments that support his concept of “thin Slicing”. Some of these examples include; predicting divorce, speed dating, gambling, malpractice suits, movies, military war games, and music. One of the important things that I have learned from reading this book is how important the process of decision making can be as a leader in business. As a business leader......

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