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27 September 2005

I know I’m probably late to the Malcolm Gladwell bandwagon, but I finished ‘The Tipping Point’ recently, and am in the middle of ‘Blink’, and this guy has a highly-tuned sense of perception. He’s a writer for the New Yorker, and has written these amazingly perceptive and insightful and well researched books about the underworkings of processes we hardly understand if not totally misunderstand. I’m just having a complete blast with ‘Blink’ — for once, someone gives a rational analysis of the effects and importance of ‘intuition’, or as he puts it ‘thin slicing’ — not a mystical power, but a normal functioning of the human brain that we should learn both to rely upon more than we do, and be more wary of.

The basic idea is that we have two different brains that work simultaneously, the thinking rational brain, and the preconscious rapid-response brain, and each has their particular strengths and weaknesses. Gladwell gives us example after example of how this mechanism works, and how research bears out that more information is not always good (and can even be harmful) to rapid decision making, and how much of our ideas and insight heavily depends on the pre-conscious actions of our brain.

It’s late, I’m tired, and I cannot do it justice, but if you’re looking for an awesome book to read that will blow your mind, go get Blink.

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