This book talks about the importance of instincts and snap judgements and how they can be a very influential moment in someone's life. Throughout the book the author argues this important concept where he states that people can make better, effective decisions based on their snap judgements instead of a more rational thought process. Everyday we are presented with opportunities to make many decisions and we can sometimes make them so quickly we don’t even realize it. In Blink, Gladwell argues the benefits of instincts and our unconscious intuition. Each chapter in the book begins with a different topic or example that illustrates the same message of the benefits of our intuition.
With each scenario presented there is always a reference to snap judgments where he mentions that “snap judgements and rapid cognition take place behind a locked door” meaning that many of our knowledge and traits are established without us really knowing about it which was the main idea proven through the entire book.
One of the primary objectives that are represented in Blink is the concept of thin slicing, when he states that people can make good decisions just based on their initial instincts. It is a concept that is used in psychology and philosophy where our minds have the ability to find patterns in small windows of our experiences. In context, an example of thin slicing that was used in the book was our perception of actors that we see on tv. Malcolm Gladwell illustrated that a very famous Hollywood producer used this same language of perception the first time he met Tom Hanks for the movie Splash released in 1983. The producer describes that he instantly knew that Tom Hanks was special and would play a really big role in the future of Hollywood all because of the initial impression he received from him before they even interacted.
Today I thought I would present in the form of a TED talk about the two biggest ideas that were represented in Blink and how it can be a very useful thing to know and observe
First it is the concept of fast and frugal thinking or rapid cognition and how that is a very natural route for the human mind to follow as there are many moments where it works better than a more careful approach. It is a common thing among people that rational and timely decisions tend to be more accurate but many scenarios in blink show that the quick instincts that flash in our minds is something to take note of as, most times it can be more useful in the long run. Body language always says a lot but the interactions between people say more. Our behavior and manners express a lot of our unconscious emotions, rapid cognition can have a lot of influence during instances that lack information.
A few ways you can test this out is being more attentive about the things around you. Rapid cognition plays a very important role in various careers around the world. It goes from fire fighters to police officers, improv performers and hair dressers. As mentioned before in the book Gladwell shows that this is an unconscious action where your brain doesn’t realize what is happening as it is almost like a sixth sense. For example if you worked as a hair stylist and have been practicing for years, you will meet lots of people each day and soon it would become an unconscious reaction when you are able to predict the hairstyle the person was looking for, all because you are paying attention to detail like their clothes or body structure while being unaware that you have made that decision.
A similar example of this is also improv performers, they are one of the most accurate examples of rapid cognition as everything that you see is all done through instinct. They are able to show accurate emotion and be specific at the right time when it is needed. It is obvious that a lot of it comes from practice, but Gladwell argues that a portion of it is based on a person's fast thinking which is done through thin slicing as they are able to associate the situation that they are present in along with any of their experiences in the past.
The next big concept in the book is that more isn’t always better, it's commonly known that accurate decisions need to be time consuming and done in a very complex manner.
As mentioned in the book, “Often a sign of expertise is noticing what doesn’t happen.”This concept again plays a big role in our lives as it leads to the question of when to trust our instincts and when you cannot. These play a very significant role in different environments.
Stress often holds us back when associated with decision making by reducing the brain's capability to look past distractions in our environment. What decision would you make if you knew there wasn’t a wrong one? Which is why it is important to know how to control these emotions and Gladwell shares that through an example of doctors, they are always in stressful situations where they need to have the confidence and the ability to make fast decisions in a limited amount of time.
In Blink, Gladwell shares that it is important for doctors to keep their mind clear during moments like these as “There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.” he writes that people make bad decisions because they have too much information, because they are unable to determine which aspects of that information are irrelevant. Knowing when to rely on our snap judgments shows the growth in a person’s character and proves that our small windows of experiences are a very big part in making decisions and and more importantly making the right one.
After reading the book and understanding the main idea of snap judgements I was able to understand the significance of our snap judgments, but the most important thing that I took away from this book was that relying on rapid cognition and thin slicing is important but I also think it is important when to question this mental process as well. After finishing the book I found myself agreeing with Gladwell as I felt that we are always known to trust our conscious decision making but I believe that snap judgments are very useful in times of stress where first impressions have the chance to offer a better sense of the world. Gladwell was able to challenge his readers and offer a new way to be a critical thinker and to see the significance in the first two seconds of our instincts.