Books & manga

August 02, 2020

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

So, I decided that the blog is worth posting all sorts of reviews on books/movies and so on. In general, reviews on everything that I was interested in.

Today will be a review of a book I recently read. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell.

Firstly, a description

In his landmark bestseller The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell redefined how we understand the world around us. Now, in Blink, he revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant-in the blink of an eye-that actually aren’t as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work-in the office, in the classroom, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others? In Blink we meet the psychologist who has learned to predict whether a marriage will last, based on a few minutes of observing a couple; the tennis coach who knows when a player will double-fault before the racket even makes contact with the ball; the antiquities experts who recognize a fake at a glance. Here, too, are great failures of “blink”: the election of Warren Harding; “New Coke”; and the shooting of Amadou Diallo by police. Blink reveals that great decision makers aren’t those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of “thin-slicing”-filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables. ©Amazon

And now let’s move on to my impressions of the book.

The book helps to understand how our intuition works. Not even to understand, but just to get new knowledge, make a brief excursion into the theory of the unconscious and expand your horizons.

One of the most important areas of research in modern psychology is the adaptive unconscious, the part of our brain that is responsible for intuition. However, since childhood we have been taught to think with our heads, not with our hearts or with simple solutions – spontaneous solutions are evil! So maybe it is more reasonable to trust balanced decisions, rather than some spontaneous impulse? The author of the book believes that everything is not so clear and gives several available examples of how the unconscious helped people in critical as well as scientific and professional situations. And each of us can probably remember a case when the first impression – intuitive – was more accurate than all the arguments of reason and facts. The most important thing is to be able to distinguish situations: when to think and then to do, and when to do it, as it is necessary now, and we will think later.

When I read the stories described in this book, I often catch myself thinking that with me too! The first thought is usually the most correct one. I still follow this rule and in 70-80% of cases it helps me.

Based on the research described by the author of the book, it is easier to unlock the potential of the unconscious when we analyze the behavior of others. It is always easier for us to give advice than to follow it ourselves, all for the same reason – we see situations from the outside – in general, we read other people’s emotions and reactions, noticing small things that can easily escape from the person. An intuition in such a situation is our friend, and we should rely on it.

But with all the advantages, there are disadvantages. Our brain is a biological computer, and for all its uniqueness, like any computer, it can be programmed. To inspire our unconscious with something that does not really exist. This suggestion is called the “priming effect”. When watching TV or reading the news summary, our mood spoils if we see some unpleasant things there, even if they don’t concern us (excellent examples are the current situation with coronavirus, protests in Belarus, BLM movement in the U.S.), plus people are often inspired by stereotypes that are very difficult to overcome (for example, for many foreigners Russia continues to be associated with vodka, bears and Putin), even if there are obvious, disproving facts. So, it turns out that we can become slaves of other people’s desires?! Dangerous thing is unconscious.

But the author does not urge to go to extremes and give up intuition, because we still need it very much. We need businessmen, firefighters, doctors and many other people, whose decisions often have to be taken very quickly, because the delay of death is similar (and sometimes not figuratively expressed). We just need to develop our unconscious. As they say – everything comes with experience.

In general, the book does not open huge secrets about the psychology of spontaneous solutions, does not give practical skills for the formation of intuition, but about the various examples and studies in this field, personally I was very interested to learn. And for the development of your horizons, I strongly recommend this book.

Profile picture

Written by Max Basev. I start at the bottom. I create IT projects, take pictures of the city and try to do self-development. You should follow them on Twitter