Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

After reading Outliers, I was excited to read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. Unfortunately, despite it’s great narration the book didn’t quite live up to expectations. Nevertheless, it is a great read. There are many lessons to learn from it but he does not go to the extent of finding tools that could help the reader achieve them. Lots of food for thought though, as is usual from MG’s other books.

Rating 7/10. Finished  2011-02-22

Notes & Clippings

In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the power of the unconscious mind. He says:

The mind operates most efficiently by relegating a good deal of high-level sophisticated thinking to the unconscious, just as a modern jetliner is able to fly on auto-pilot with little or no input from human ‘conscious’ pilot. The adaptive unconscious does an excellent job of sizing up the world, warning people of danger, setting goals and initiating action in a sophisticated and efficient manner.

There is much we do using the subconscious.

From notes in the book:

In everyday life situations we toggle between our conscious and unconscious minds.

Contempt towards the other signals the end of a relationship.

The simplest way that respect is communicated is through tone of voice. For example, the most corrosive tone of voice that a doctor can assume is a dominant tone.

The way we think and act and how well we think and act on the spur of the moment are a lot more susceptible.

When corrected for such variables as age, gender and weight, an inch in height is worth $789 a year in salary.

We are often careless with our powers of rapid cognition. We don’t know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don’t always appreciate their fragility. Taking seriously our powers of rapid cognition seriously means we have to acknowledge the subtle influences that can alter or undermine or bias the products of our unconscious.

My lessons

  • To learn something and use it on a regular basis, try to fit it in your subconscious.
  • It might be worth slowing down if only to be able to let it soak into the subconscious.
  • The quest for new stories will bring you good stuff to read. But is that the aim?
  • There is a difference between what we know and what we do, MG can’t explain that in normal people. That’s a book on akrasia, I suppose.
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