After being held up by a bit of a brick, I’m working on reading the rest of the books that I got for Christmas and just finished Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. Blink is a book about first impressions and other split-second thinking that we don’t think we’re doing, and how to get the most value out of those thoughts by understanding how they work, what causes them to be wrong, and what to do about it.
While these fast, subconscious thoughts and decisions happen all day every day in most of our lives, the area of first impressions is a great example of near-instant subconscious thought in action. When we first meet, or even first see or hear, someone our minds take in all kinds of information about that person and we form an opinion of, and often a reaction to, that person. The reaction might be to run if it’s someone brandishing a knife in a dark alley, or to stare if it’s someone really attractive at the beach, or anything in between. Often these reactions are exactly the right reaction, but often they’re not the right reaction at all, and that’s what Blink talks about: Our unconscious thoughts, how they work, how they can work much better than painstakingly working our way through a problem, and what to do to stop them from taking you down completely the wrong path.
Blink is easy to read and very interesting. Extremely interesting. After reading it I hope that I can learn how to make “Thinking without thinking” work in my life, especially now that there’s an election on.