I finished Blink by Malcolm Gladwell about two days ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting. This book was a nice split from my usual habit of exclusively reading fiction.
Blink got a bunch of publicity. It’s a pretty big deal. I’m sure if you haven’t read it, you’ve at least heard of it. Anyway, Gladwell writes for The New Yorker and also has three other books in stores: Outliers (this is new), The Tipping Point, and What the Dog Saw. Needless to say, he’s pretty adept at good journalistic writing.
I enjoyed Blink quite a bit, but it could have been a little shorter. You pretty much get the point by the 150th page or so.
So what is the point of the book? Well, basically it’s about what our subconscious is able to process in the blink of an eye. Our subconscious is working constantly to pick up all kinds of signals from the world around us/people around us, and our conscious doesn’t know that a lot of this is actually happening. The conscious can also complicate the signals that your subconscious is picking up–maybe that’s why people always say go with your first guess on a multiple choice test??
Gladwell uses a lot of social examples and clinical studies to back himself up. For example, there is this psychologist who has been studying marital relationships for years. He can tell in a single session whether or not a couple will stay together by reading their faces, inflections, and body language to see what’s going on under the surface of their conversation.
Psychology is so fascinating because it seems like whenever you learn new things about it, you already kind of knew them! I don’t know if that makes sense, but psych sort of opens your eyes to things that you would probably otherwise ignore. I’d suggest reading the book if you haven’t already. I might even read Outliers; it looks interesting as well.