Monday, September 18, 2006

[Book Review] BLINK by Malcolm Gladwell

Non-Fiction/ Decision making

Laura Salehi reviews BLINK: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown and Co., 2005):

Blink presents several real life accounts of how professionals with years of experience working in their field are able to make very quick judgements about complicated issues without immediately understanding how they came to their conclusions, but nonetheless somehow know without a doubt that they are correct. Although Gladwell admitted that quick judgments by experienced people are not always the best, he did seem to encourage people to trust their gut reaction, and showed that often experts would make less accurate decisions if they were given more time to ponder the situation.

Gladwell uses the example of Coke vs. Pepsi to demonstrate the importance of finding out what your customers really want, as well as the power of brand identity. In taste tests, Pepsi would often win, but Coke sold better because it wasn't as sweet, so you could drink a whole can, while Pepsi's sweet taste was pleasing for a small sample, but people would tire of it before finishing the can. Also, it was pointed out that a lot of people identify positively with the Coke brand.

There were a lot of interesting observations in this book, and I really enjoyed reading it, but I remember when finishing it that I didn't come away with any big conclusions that would help with decisions at work and in my personal life...just that I'd consider trusting my instincts more.

Laura Salehi, Bartlett Branch Library

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