Thursday, 21 July 2011

What makes us tick?

The Bookshop Guru

A book review of Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

What makes us tick? That’s what I was thinking when I chose to read this book. Malcolm Gladwell’s book is about ‘The power of thinking without thinking’ which delves into the psyche to explore how we make decisions. Gladwell uses vinaigrette to illustrate the different concepts discussed in the book.

Why we make instant decisions in the blink of an eye? Well, because ever since the evolution of man we have made instant decisions that govern life and death. Consider how we cross a busy road which goes back to when as cave man we had to cross the savannah without getting killed. You have to make thin-slice split second decisions, otherwise you’re road meat. The same applies then as it does today.

‘As humans we make the best least informed decisions,’ Gladwell refers to this as ‘thin-slicing’. Gladwell discusses how the tennis pro Vic Braden could instinctively know when a player was about to double fault. Gladwell states ‘those people with the clipboards were really good at making predictions. I think he should read ‘Future Babble’ where the opposite is true. Different stories are told to help reinforce the point, in my opinion, they do overstate the point. In any case, it doesn’t take much to tell a cat amongst a pack of dogs.

My grandfather said, ‘don’t believe what you read in the papers’ and what he meant was don’t take anything at face value which is what I’ve been doing most of my life. Gladwell concludes that we can learn to make better decisions by avoiding our subconscious mind with snap judgements. I think Gladwell misses the point. Snap judgements or decisions, call it what you like; it’s our bias that often rules our head not the fact that they are snap decisions or judgements.

Overall, the book is a good read with a mosaic of stories to keep you reading until you nod off.

P.S. Sponsored by Madbrokes a comedian on antidepressants.


John Newman - Love Me Again

Love and Listen

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