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Blink

The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Written by: Malcolm Gladwell
Narrated by: Malcolm Gladwell
Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (255 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In his landmark best seller 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.

Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology and displaying all of the brilliance that made The Tipping Point a classic, Blink changes the way you understand every decision you make. Never again will you think about thinking the same way.

©2005 Malcolm Gladwell (P)2005 Time Warner AudioBooks

What the critics say

  • 2005 Quill Award Nominee

"Entertaining and illuminating." (Publishers Weekly)
"Gladwell's groundbreaking explication of a key aspect of human nature is enlightening, provocative, and great fun to read." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolute insight

This is my 2nd Malcolm Gladwell book. I'm going to buy all the rest after this.

Blink shows you as many sides of the internal processing problem as you could have.

How does internalized racism or sexism work? It's not how either political party would popularly have you believe.

It goes far beyond politics though, and gives you a way to intuitively think about how your brain comes to snap judgments, and what you can do to make those judgments better.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Malcolm does it Again


You need to read this book, if you don’t you’re missing out! Malcolm finds the most amazing studies to support arguments on issues that are at the core of our function as human beings.

#Audible1

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Everyone Must Read!

Meticulous, eye-opening and jaw dropping with a great narrative. I wish I could memorize all lines.

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pointless

this book was a waste of time. absolutely no point I can say I learnt that will enhance my life.

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Great book to read before the rest

I loved the book and it was great to listen to in the car and walking around in my headphones. If you’re just getting introduced to Malcom Gladwell then I recommend this as your first read and then to continue with the rest. If you’re looking to better yourself and open your mind then these are the books for you.
#Audible1

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Another great book by Malcom Gladwell

I read Mr. Gladwell's book "Outliers" and enjoyed it. So when a friend recommended "Blink" I was quick to get the book.

This book explains why we know what we know, when we know it. Not on a concious level, but subconsciously within the first 2 seconds of a new experience.

If you have considered intuition, gut feeling or instinct to be one of the decision making tools you employ, I recommend reading this book.

Well reasoned, well written and an easy enjoyable flow.

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great

loved this book. learning about thin slicing was awesome. and the chapter on the mathematics of marriage was insane.

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Absolutely lovely

Thank you for your insights, it’s always a delight. Please keep writing and I look forward to your future podcasts.

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Really interesting and well-read

An interesting book, full of fascinating stories (and one heartbreaking one). This isn't a how-to book. You won't learn specific steps to improve your own intuition. It's more of a big idea overview. You'll hear how intuition works, why it sometimes does well and other times fails, and you'll learn it all through stories you'll end up repeating down the pub. It's well read, and well worth reading. #Audible1

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Danny
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • 2005-04-21

Interesting read with contradictory messages

Going into this book, I was expecting concrete answers to the questions that this book proposes to the readers: 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?

Unfortunately, it does not answer these questions. The only real conclusion that the book comes to is that split-second decisions are in fact made by people, that these decisions are controlled by our subconscious (which can be highly influenced by external conditions), and that the decisions can have positive or negative results.

The first half of the book touts how powerful "thin-slicing" can be with several examples of various experts in various fields of work that are able to do this. The tone here seems to be to learn to listen to your subconscious.

Near the middle of the book is a few chapters on "mind reading", through facial expressions, which is interesting but again doesn't give you enough information to make any of it useful or practical.

The end of the book seems to say that thin-slicing is a bad thing, which causes us to make snap judgments based on race and gender biases. And that the only way you can tame this flawed decision making process is to become an expert in your field and to always realize that your subconscious is at work in your decision making process. Well, if you are an expert in your field, and you are always dissecting your decisions to look for your subconscious influences, then you are NOT making split-second decisions.

Overall it is a light read (listen) and is informative at a very high, psychology 101, level. It leaves many questions unanswered. Don't expect to take anything too practical or usable away from the material though.

382 of 408 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Reney
  • River Falls, WI, USA
  • 2005-11-20

Be careful with logical leaps

I enjoyed the objective experimental analysis results. The leaps into public policy, biased political inferences, and obsessive defense of an obscure music artist whom "regular" people don't realize is actually a great artist turned me off. I'm obviously in the minority based on the current rating of this book. I expect liberal leaning people to generally love the book and conversely right leaning people to rate it lower. Back to what I like. Good social/psychological science backed up by experimentation. I especially liked the proposal that quantity of data does not correlate with better decision making and, in fact, can confuse the decision maker. Overall I recommend the read but I'd like to get a book like this and not be able to tell the political leanings of the author.

64 of 69 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Justin
  • 2009-05-19

Part of the MUST READ series on how we think

It is somewhat less technical than How We Decide but gives different examples of the conscious decision making process vs. the unconscious process. Allows the reader to gain an understanding that while you are heavily influenced by environmental stimuli and data we are consciously unaware of, we can train our conscious mind to identify those influences and adapt/compensate for them. There is a part that even goes into mind reading (no joke). This is a must read for humans.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joshua
  • Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • 2005-08-28

Great read

The first review on here is generally accurate in terms of book contents, the book doesn't necessarily have the contradictions it suggests. But it may not offer the solutions that everyone hopes will help them find the mysteries of the universe, either. The problem is that where science is concerned many think that there are always concrete answers, but that is simply the fartheset thing from the truth.

What this book does do is have a lengthy discussion about the things that influence our choices and informs our decisions. There is no firm answer because everyone makes decisions based on a different set of experiences, even if many of them are common.

While perhaps a bit long in a place or two, the author takes a great deal of time to fully present his thoughts which are often complex. I thought while much of the information here is known, it is presented in a way that helps readers understand his concepts.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J Kaufman
  • Los Angeles, CA United States
  • 2009-06-18

A great communicator

As usual Mr. Gladwell has impressive insights. This time he looks at the power of 'thin slicing' which is essentially making a snap judgment about something. The key to that blink reaction being accurate though has much to do with the observers expertise in an area (you need to have some) and the context in which they are making the determination (you need to have a neutral, unbiased way to make the judgment or it may be unavoidably affected).

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jeremy
  • St Paul, MN, USA
  • 2008-12-31

Buy it now! Or not.. Trust your instincts.

I was first introduced to Malcolm Gladwell a few weeks ago on a podcast for the WNYC program Radiolab. The episode is called "Choice" and if you are new to Gladwell, i would suggest you start there. You'll be hooked.

The negative reviews i've read seem to have felt misled. As if Gladwell were expected to present some unifying theory of intuition. Yet, n a way, he actually does, just not scientifically. What he does present are thought provoking anecdotes about the under appreciated importance of our instinct.. The patches on the quilt missing the thread of your perception. There is lots left to be learned from the experience of others, and luckily there's authors such as Gladwell who will find them.

33 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Tehzeeb
  • Hartley WintneyUnited Kingdom
  • 2005-09-14

Good topic ... excruciatingly long discourse

As has been mentioned earlier, the fundamental premise of the book (i.e. first imperessions matter) is sound and interesting. However, what detracts from the value of the book is the endless analogies and digressions to prove this fundamental premise. The book could have easily been 1/4th the size and not missed the point. Nevertheless well written and well read by the author.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Liz
  • San Francisco, CA, USA
  • 2005-11-03

encore!

I just finished Blink and I am back at Audible to purchase The Tipping Point. Although this book is rather light reading, I am familiar with enough of the science to know it is solid. He makes the work of some brilliant, cutting-edge scientists accessible to a range of readers. I found the book provocative and would recommended it for anyone who is in a position to make important snap decisions (firefighters, police, nurses, paramedics, etc.). Contemplating the situations described in this book has changed my perspective of the world and how I interact with it. For example, as a college professor, I paid special attention to the first few minutes of class while introducing myself to new students, planning how I projected my persona. I created the image I wanted the students to have.
My only criticism is that it seemed rather repetitive after a while and could have been much shorter. Yet, I could understand that he was recapping and clustering points he made in the text. I would imagine that this technique enables those for whom this information is new to fully digest it.

34 of 38 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2009-04-25

Always engaging

Like his other two books, Malcom Gladwell's Blink draws together a lot of disparate social science and psychology research to form interesting conclusions. At the end of this book, I'm not sure precisely what I've learned or how all the information fits together, but I was fascinated throughout. One of the nice things about this audiobook is that the narrator is the author himself, so you feel very much as if you're sitting down with him listening to him talk about various aspects of human behavior.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Linda
  • Colorado Springs, CO, United States
  • 2009-05-02

You Don't Want to Miss Blink!

Malcolm Gladwell gives us yet another insight into the human condition. Blink explores the good, the bad, and the ugly of first impressions. It explains when we can trust our snap decisions and when we need to delve further. The author does a wonderful job of reading this wonderful book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • C. MA
  • 2018-03-20

Good read if you are new to the subject

This book is a great overview on how our subconscious can work to our benefit/disadvantage. It does not go into details but covers a lot of concepts. It’s given me things to ponder and subjects that I’d like to explore.

Might not be suited for listeners/readers searching for ways to improve themselves.

As an audiobook, this book is great. The author is the narrator and it feels like he is talking to you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • mikus
  • 2018-05-14

Unique and well presented

None of the books of Malcolm Gladwell is a disappointment and 'blink' is not an exception here. It for sure isn't as mindblowing as the 'tipping point', but there is a lot of fresh ideas and unique topics that are clearly worth studying.
You can be sure to find a lot of examples and references to support the author's theories and some findings are truly astonishing. At the same time, I really missed a good summary chapter, as the booked seemed to end unexpectedly.

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  • leplla
  • 2017-11-07

Bland, generic, monotonous

Some of the most basic thinking disguised as pseudo-intellectual insight. Basic. Boring voice and speed.

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  • priscilla stanley
  • 2017-08-27

Best audiobook I ever listened to

I enjoyed every bit of it. The story is incredibly interesting and entertaining. I learned so many things from this book, it is impressive. The voice is great, with real attention to rythm and flow. I played it x1.25 speed to get it perfect to my taste. Congratulations for this masterpiece!!!