Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

by Malcolm Gladwell


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The landmark book that has revolutionized the way we understand leadership and decision making—from #1 bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell.

In his breakthrough 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316172325
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 01/11/2005
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 55,464
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: 1100L (what's this?)

About the Author

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers: The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath. He is also the co-founder of Pushkin Industries, an audio content company that produces the podcasts Revisionist History, which reconsiders things both overlooked and misunderstood, and Broken Record, where he, Rick Rubin, and Bruce Headlam interview musicians across a wide range of genres. Gladwell has been included in the Time 100 Most Influential People list and touted as one of Foreign Policy's Top Global Thinkers.


New York, NY

Date of Birth:

September 3, 1963

Place of Birth:

England, U.K.


University of Toronto, History degree, 1984

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Blink 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 782 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone looking for advanced insight into human nature will love this book. Did you realize that the first six seconds of a personal encounter 'the handshake and greeting' are 80% predictive of the outcome of the encounter? In 'Blink', Malcolm Gladwell will help you understand what happens during that first six seconds. Whether you are socially struggling or a master networker, you should check this out. Absolutely in keeping with his #1 best seller, 'The Tipping Point', now becoming a classic.
Nicholas_E_Sparks More than 1 year ago
Gladwell is undoubtedly a competent writer: his charisma, seen even in his writing, and his use of seemingly unrelated examples to drive his points (no pun intended) are as consistent as they are effective, not to mention admirable. However, with this work, Gladwell treads into shaky territory, proposing his theories with his usual tone of universality within one of the most fundamentally unstable sciences of cognitive psychology -one may note that he is indeed a psychologist, but a more perceptive reader would realize that his field of study is more socially psychological, if not sociological altogether. Even with his charm and talent, extending empirical claims into the realm of the invisible psyche is a stretch for Gladwell. As is expected, he presents numerous samples to support his claim, but much of his research seems to lack an empirical mass that would give his abstract propositions more credible foundations; there is no doubt that Gladwell possesses the capability of formulating an intangible theory with empirical roots, but his principal error was in his attempt to do it with so few least with such a large font he uses!
LonestarRx More than 1 year ago
Gladwell is a terrific writer (one of those rare creatures who can present scientific findings for lay readers) and the thesis of Blink is fascinating. I heartily recommend it to anyone who's ever wondered what it really means when someone says, "I don't know how I know, I just do." The book is filled with intriguing case studies to demonstrate his thesis that ultimately those who can quickly weed out extraneous information make better decisions (on the whole) than those who don't. Ultimately, he's not recommending that we trust our gut exclusively, so much as we learn to be appropriately skeptical of so called "expert data." Blink is great light reading for anyone interested in trying to understand consciousness -- an activity William James once compared to "trying to turn on the lights fast enough to see how the darkness looks."
RobbieMA More than 1 year ago
Entertaining and interesting book but not particularly useful. It talks about thin-slicing, which is how we make decisions/judgements on a small amount of data and in the blink of an eye. These judgements are usually very accurate, however trying to analyze why you made the decision is often a waste of time. Rationalizing these decisions often causes you to erroneously come to a different conclusion.
Doosti More than 1 year ago
This book was mind opening and unsettling. After reading this book the possibilities of influencing my own choices and those of others seem endless. It was unsettling to think about how little control I may actually have over my reactions, judgements, and snap decsions about others in my life. Incredible and interesting reading. Definitely made me stop and "think".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was ok, but tough to read at parts. It just brought awareness to the mind making split second decisions. I thought it was going to be more imformative on how to make decisions quickly, on the spot, and under pressure.
EstebanSD More than 1 year ago
Blink was a very interesting book to read. I was never bored and at times I didn't want to put it down, like when it was time to go back to work. I found myself bringing up the anecdotal examples to family, and co-workers, anybody who would listen. The book points out the innate ability we all have, a kind of intuition, and how it comes into play at different times. The author, however, does not explain how you might harness and control this power. At times I felt that I didn't really know what the subject of the book was. It is not a "How To" manual. But, even with its flaws, I enjoyed this book very much. The Civil War battle strategy story made me interested in something that previously I had not been. Some of the incidents of the past that I had thought were strictly racial discrimination were suddenly more complex than that. I recently saw an interview of a police officer on television and was able to understand what happened on a much deeper level after reading Blink.This book opened my eyes but kind of left me looking for more answers at the end of the book, which may be just more food for thought.......
SBrvhs More than 1 year ago
"Blink" is really an eye-opening book. It's a book about life lessons and how you should/can achieve them. Many tests are made throughout the book showing how all people have the same reactions to many differents tests and problems. "Blink" teaches us how to get through our problems and live as though nothing has happened. Happy and content. You're probably thinking "not possible", but thats only because you haven't read this book yet. I would recommend this book to all people. Most people have difficulties figuring out why and how things happen to them. "Blink" has the answer. I really enjoyed reading this book. It made me realize things I never even thought about or questioned. From the way that we walk to the way that we deal with our arguments. Similar books are "The Tipping Point" and "Tuesdays With Morrie". Both books also relate to life lessons and tell/help us how to live a more joyful and stress-free life. What I really liked about this book was that I was able to relate to most of the problems and obstacles that they listed. This book teaches you good morals and really leaves a mark in your personality. After finishing the book, I have become happier and notice myself doing more work and help for others. It's amazing how mush influence a 296 page book can have on one's life. Why did it take a book for me to come to my senses? I don't have an answer for that, but I do know that I will never regret reading this book. Malcom Gladwell really knows how to reach inside of you and pull out all of your problems, fix them, and move on. The only dislike that I have about this book is that at times it tended to be a little slow and not as attenion grabbing as the rest of it. READ THIS BOOK!!!
samu More than 1 year ago
It is fairly short, but it's a great read. Gladwell is by far the best writer for his type of book out there (Morse and Gilbert are excellent too). Blink is not about missing fleeting things, though; it's about intuition and the fact that we can know some things-some very important things without really "knowing" them in a conscious way. In other words, we don't have to dwell on something or overthink it to really understand it. Basically our hunches are as good or better than our thoughts in some instances. Gladwell goes through a list of interesting anecdotal cases that prove his point then adds studies and interviews with scientists to back up his findings. This book is on par with the Tipping Point, but better than Outliers- his new one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell (a journalist who also wrote The Tipping Point) examines the process of snap decision making. He suggests that we are wrong in thinking that we make decisions rationally by absorbing extensive information and experience. In the end we make decisions unconsciously and essentially instantly. This works great for most decisions because we learn to 'thin-slice'-that is, to ignore extraneous input and concentrate on one or two cues. Sometimes, we don't even consciously know what these cues are, as in Gladwell's anecdote about a tennis coach who can predict when a player is going to make a rare sort of error but doesn't know how he knows. The book also explores how this process can go horribly wrong, as in the Amadou Diallo shooting. Gladwell gets the science facts right and has the journalistic skills to make them utterly engrossing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have read in a long long time. It addresses so many aspects of our lives, helping us view things differently while educating. I keep referring to this book and even buying this book for friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read very many books over my lifetime and only a handful of them had anything to do with analyzed introspection. Most of what I've read concerning these psychological issues has been relatively technical, yet what I love about Blink is that it makes seemingly complex reactions seem human. He puts everyone on an even playing field, and it's easy for the layman to understand his points. That's the sign of great writer, one who can express such complex concepts at such a rudimentary level. For that, I admire Gladwell. The whole concept behind Blink, the fact that we 'thin-slice' situations and subconsciously make very rapid, accurate decisions, amazes me. Yet personally, this is not an uncommon subject. I've always believed in making decisions with one's gut and I do it quite often, but as Gladwell clearly explains, our Snap Judgments masked by conscious thought, are often times skewed. Nevertheless, Gladwell is unparalleled in coming up with examples to support his main concept and idea. However, this is the main drawback to his book. Quite frankly, if I edited this book, I would have only left in the first three chapters and the last chapter, deleted everything else. What Gladwell does is present an idea, in this case 'thin-slicing', and then he spends the next 300 pages giving examples of this concept. OKAY, I GET IT. I really don't need 50 examples in order to believe him; just a couple would be ideal. It's obviously believable, but I just don't see the merit in 500 examples when he could have condensed everything to a few chapters. Alas, I guess this is how he makes money. Cheap isn't it? His was of elongating his books is not a characteristic uncommon to his other books; Outliers is structured in much the same way. In any case, this was definitely a good read and I would highly recommend this to anyone.
Enc More than 1 year ago
Blink has been one of the best novels that I have read during my high school years. The way Malcolm Gladwell incorporates past psychological experiments to correlate with his idea of "thin slicing" is easily comprehensible and interesting as well. I had always assumed that people always thought on the conscious level all the time. However, until I read this book, I had no idea at all that people were capable of thinking unconsciously without even realizing. It's simply phenomenal and mind-blowing as well. What really caught my interest was the way Gladwell uses the Warren Harding Error. In my history class, we had learned that some political candidates for president were chosen based on their appearances which gave the audience the impression that they best man for the job. This worked with John F. Kennedy, since he was a young, good-looking, energetic, and an upstanding gentleman. But, after reading the story of Warren Harding, I was shocked to see that that doesn't apply too well. So, looks aren't everything according to this novel. Overall, Malcolm Gladwell does an excellent job with this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderfully written and presents ideas in engaging, practical language. It offers some research-based information in a readable format that appeals to scholarly folks, as well as the general population.
Graysfordays More than 1 year ago
                 I can say that i really enjoyed reading this book. It definitely not everyone's cup of tea but to the right person who really enjoys studying the human mind and other types of cognitive sciences this book would be perfect. It had a lot of information to get through, so it can be difficult to some who are easily bored with educational information.  As a whole the book demonstrates immense wisdom in the art of psychology. The title blink begins to describe the processes that will be talked about in the book. The information being studied in the blink of an eye is what our subconscious is best at and the books describes this brilliantly through words and studies that make it easy and relatable.  Gladwell has such good control over the language and voice he uses that everything written is simply gold. Blink makes us double think what we really know, everything that we think isn't everything that we really know. Now with this book we can begin to understand what really goes in inside our unconscious mind, decisions being made that we don't even realise, we figured that out ages ago but our conscious takes awhile to catch up. With Blnk we have so much more knowledge then we can perceive. Gladwell's real life examples of how this works such as the husband-wife scenario  which it determines that they are in an unhappy relationship and that  time isn't  needed to figure that out, and how some people are aware if this subconscious thinking and use it to their advantage. Great book but the ending does kind of leave you hanging, i don't know if it was intentional or not maybe to achieve some sort of purpose.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disappointed i got to page 196 of 238 and book essentially ended. Lots of filler info. Lots of restated info. Its an interesting subject just got minimal coverage.
ElleBlair More than 1 year ago
Gladwell is the best at what he does. This is another example. great book!
A14I More than 1 year ago
I personally didn't like the book Blink. Its meant for more mature readers, and it also jumps from topic to topic making it hard to fallow and understand. To read this book you need to have an more advanced way of thinking, you have to be able to think deeper than what it written on the page. If I had to reccomend this book I would suggest this to someone who likes imformative reading.
lairkeeper More than 1 year ago
But while the author insists that we must learn when to trust our instincts and when we are operating under the influence of unconcious prejudice, he offers no suggestions or tools for doing so. Dissapointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I will buy this for all my friends and employees. I couldnt put it down. This was not a dry text book, but instead a great read. Easy and fast and kept me constantly engaged. I never once put this one down. Once I opened the book, I read it through. It was amazing what I have learned about myself and those around me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to enjoy my time reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell because the main idea of the book is a really interesting topic but overall I found it hard to really connect with the book. The biggest claim Gladwell makes is that we as humans think without actually thinking. In other words, we make subconscious thoughts and judgments without actually meaning too. Even though this might be a very interesting topic to discuss it got repetitive very quickly. It understandable that in order to get his claim across he would need to provide enough evidence but there is a very thin line between enough information and too much information. By the time you get between ¼ or ½ way into the book, the claim and evidence seem to just repeat itself. Yes, it's interesting to some extent to read all the different type of studies done to get the claim across but it just seemed like every experiment was just a different version of the same one and eventually, it got boring. I had a hard time pushing through the last few pages and that feels really upsetting. I've read a book by Gladwell before and I like his writing techniques but I can't help like he missed the mark with this one despite it being an extremely interesting topic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've read on customer psychology. Gladwell peels back the floorboards on commonly accepted beliefs. From the first case study of the Kourous to the University Professors, the book keeps you fixated on what we might be missing everyday. Definitely recommend if you like deep reading.
Daisy Gunning More than 1 year ago
In Blink, Gladwell analyses how Our brain is like a computer which processes all the knowledge instantly to give the first impression. “Thin-slicing” allows us to make decisions quickly that can as good as those made cautiously and deliberately. The main messages I got from this book was; the benefit of quick decision, instinct management, and snap control judgment. It made me think more about our instincts and to be more aware of when our instincts may betray us.
Julianna_P More than 1 year ago
Malcolm Gladwell is a unique writer. He shows through out the book how we make quick decisions based on the data we receive. Our minds have a way of controlling everything we must do. He includes various examples of different concepts that our society shows. Malcolm also compares psychology with economic behavior. This demonstrates how decisions affect our life and how it happens. Malcolm Gladwell has a clear idea as to what us humans go through on a daily basis but he wants us to understand how we can improve on making better decisions because in the end we might regret it.
Anietzerck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was just a little too repetitive for my taste. Not one to really captivate me but had some good content.