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February 7, 2008

Finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink a while ago. It was a good read and helped to reinforce some interesting points on an interesting subject. The subject is rapid cognition. The book is all about how we can make rapid decisions that are quite accurate in certain circumstances. The book is not about intuition or making emotional split-second decisions. Although there is a place for these emotional decisions, I really enjoyed the fact that he looked at the cognitive side of split-second decision making. It’s an area that’s not really been looked at a lot and I think that is why the book has done so well.

One point that he makes in the book is that for small uncomplicated situations it can actually make sense to go through a normal decision making process. But, for complicated decisions in areas that you have a familiarity, rapid almost unconscious decisions are often the best way to go. This is a powerful rule of thumb for people to use in their day-to-day lives.

Finally, Blink also brings up an interesting side issue that he didn’t talk about in the book. Time. Or, more appropriately, wasted time. People can waste a lot of time by over-analyzing a situation, especially a complicated one. In the book, he talks about examples where people “lost” in some manner or another when they overanalyzed a situation, but he doesn’t go into the additional factors of lost time and the additional stress incurred.

Something to think about the next time you Blink.

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