April 29, 2009

Review: Blink

Blink
by Malcolm Gladwell

I heard about Blink about a year ago when a group of women from a website I frequent were all reading it together. When I saw it at the library I picked it up but never actually read any of it. Then I noticed an audio version of it read by the author so I loaded it onto my Zune and listened here and there when I had the time. It took me months to get through Blink. Isn't that the definition of irony?

Blink is about the way that our minds can make a split second decision based on ... intuition? a niggling feeling? a gut reaction? Sometimes we just know that something is the case without knowing why. Snap judgment is what Blink is about. Gladwell gives many interesting and memorable examples to back up his assertions that we can and often do make better decisions when we stop analyzing data and use our own personal sense about life. I was fascinated with the stories of Dr. Gottman and his marriage studies, the way the music industry treated Kenna, and the lie detecting abilities of Paul Ekman. As it so happens I have a book on building a stronger marriage by Dr. Gottman and I enjoy watching the new Fox TV show Lie To Me based on Ekman's work. And I've now spent a little while enjoying the interesting videos that go with Kenna's unique music. I liked the sections about taste testing for Coke and Pepsi. I was not quite convinced of the ethics behind food packaging practices. I laughed at the end of the book about what happened to Gladwell when he decided on a whim to let his hair grow out.

Gladwell has a really soothing, humble voice that encourages trust. He is quietly intelligent. He sounds like a man I'd like to meet and talk about life with. Listening to him was pleasant and I'm disappointed that the experience is now over. I wonder if The Tipping Point and Outliers have audio versions of the same quality? I'll let you know.

Buy this book at Amazon.

8 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Wow, that sounds good! Everything I read about Malcolm Gladwell's work is positive. I think I need to give it a try.

Liz said...

I'd read of "Blink" but totally forgotten about it. It sounds interesting -- and a not-particularly-painful way to gain some knowledge! I'm always in favor of the complex being made simpler to understand. Randy Charles Epping does the same thing -- using simply everyday examples to explain complex economic terms -- in his boo, I have been reading, "The 21st Century Economy - A Beginner's Guide." He relates the things going on in the economy to small things in my daily life, and that helps me understand the complexity of international economics. (You'll learn what all those terms -- TARP, derivatives, etc. - mean!)

Zibilee said...

A friend of me recommended this book to me, but I never picked it up. After reading your review I might have to try it. I am curious about the part that intuition plays in our everyday life and wonder why it is that we so often ignore it. Thanks for bringing this one back to my attention!

heatherlo said...

I'm reading Blink on audio right now and loving it! I've read Outliers, also in audio format, and it's just as good if not better than Blink. I highly recommend the audio version of that one too.

Jenny said...

I'd have loved to hear the audio version! I really enjoyed this and The Tipping Point. Malcolm Gladwell also writes really interesting columns for The New Yorker, and I think they're all archived at his website. Love reading them! (I'd link to them but I can't figure out how to do links in comments! I'm so computer illiterate.)

Elizabeth said...

I will have to check this out - I'm slowly getting in to the audio book thing.

Zibilee said...

Petunia, I wanted to let you know that I gave you an award over on my blog.

Nicole said...

I have been wanting to read Blink ever since I read Tipping Point. Might have to check it out n audio.

I am pretty sure that Outliers is out on Audio. I think I saw it on Audible the other day. Not sure about Tipping Point.