Blinkenread

Gladwell, M. (2005). Blink. London, Penguin.

Sometimes you make the right decision in two seconds, because intuition tells you so. This book is about those two seconds.

Snap judgments work because we use our unconscious to look for small cues that we don’t know that we know. If we try to rationalize the process and explain why we reaced a decision, it will bear little relationship to reality: They are different decision-making processes.

Many interesting examples: Art experts instantly spotting fakes, analytically oriented strategies losing to quick improvisation in war games, police making fatal mistakes (such as the Amadou shooting), experts being able to tell when someone is lying by looking for millisecond facial expressions. The skill of snap judgements can be trained (and many police forces do.)

This is a light read, but well researched. I picked it up before a long plane ride, and did not regret it. (Looked at it in 2005, but I had overdosed on these kinds of books after reading The Wisdom of Crowds, which isn’t nearly as good.)

Recommended.

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