Blink: Not what it’s blurbed to be

“Trust your instincts. Don’t think — blink,” says the blurb.

But I am beginning to have doubts about my instincts after reading this.

“Blink is all about those moments when we ‘know’ something without really knowing why,” says the blurb.

But I thought the book showed our first impressions could be both right and wrong.

The blurb adds, “This book shows how we can hone our instinctive ability to know in an instant, helping us to bring out the best in our thinking and become better decision-makers in our homes, offices and everyday lives.”

If that’s the lesson this book has to offer, sorry, I didn’t get it at all.  I went through the stories about the Greek statue, Warren Harding, the cola tests, the Aeron chair and the women classical musicians and came to the conclusion that first impressions can be both right and wrong. Gladwell explains why they can be both right and wrong, and how to get them right. But the process — what he calls “thin-slicing”, looking at only the relevant details — is not easy. For to judge a musician, you have to listen to the music only, but to judge a cola, it’s not enough to take a sip, you have to drink the whole can.

If there’s anything else I learnt from this book, it’s the wisdom of the old saying: Never judge a book by its cover. Or its blurb. You could be disappointed.

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