Decisions, decisions. We make them every day, all day long. Big ones and little ones, applying (intentionally and thoughtfully, or instinctively and subconsciously) all sorts of ideas for how good decisions are made. Well, Malcom Gladwell, as usual, throws a pretty big monkey wrench into the works and makes a persuasive argument that will get you to rethink some tried and true principles of decision making in his book Blink.
In Blink, Gladwell explores the amazing world of snap judgements. He looks closely at instantaneously drawn conclusions from different angles, revealing some startling truths. Often, we are much better served by making judgements based on gut instinct with seemingly little information and almost no contemplation. But not always. The book explores both cases.
Through compelling stories and a plethora of scientific research on “thin slicing” – making well-informed, thoughtful and proper judgements based on extremely limited data, Gladwell brings this black box of the human decision making engine under the spotlight. And though we can never see inside this black box, he provides some useful tools for understanding when to trust the answers it provides and when to be wary of them. Careful understanding of the inputs and outputs, of context and circumstance, reveal some useful answers. Gladwell demonstrates this through examining applications as varied as validating museum artifacts, US government war games, presidential elections, and police gun battles.
If you’re at all interested in the human decision making process and exploring ways to improve it, you will be well served by giving this book a read. I think that would be a good decision.