• Blink

  • The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
  • By: Malcolm Gladwell
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Gladwell
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (25,358 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The landmark book that has revolutionized the way we understand leadership and decision making - from number-one best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell.

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.

Don't miss any of Malcolm Gladwell's books, articles, and interviews.
©2005 Malcolm Gladwell (P)2005 Time Warner AudioBooks

Critic Reviews

2005 Quill Award Nominee

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

 "Entertaining and illuminating." (Publishers Weekly)

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For most, a "beach read" tends to be easy to digest. On HBO’s new hit series The White Lotus, however, that standard is questioned. Throughout the show, characters consume challenging texts from Nietzsche to Malcolm Gladwell while lounging at the luxury resort. If you are looking for an opportunity to up your game for your next beach visit, look no further than this list of books we spotted in the show—in audio, of course, to help them go down easier.

What listeners say about Blink

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

472 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

115 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Blink is a deception

This is a classic bait and switch. It is categorized as science and garnished with a glowing publisher's summary that indicated we would learn the mechanics of brilliant decision making. I did not expect to be lectured to about ethnic predjudice. I must say that the authur has a point but it is not why I bought the book. I did not finish the book. The first hour was interesting but the middle third was suspiciously pointing to a political agenda. I felt duped when the authur brought up Dr. King and I quit the book.

79 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

59 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

50 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Blink

The premise of this audiobook was intriguing; unfortunately, only a small percentage of the text (2% ?) directly speaks to this premise. The remaining 98% consists of painfully long, drawn-out analogies and tenuous examples.

44 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

35 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Worthless

The premise of this book is that people have intuition. Of course everyone has intuition!! So you'd think that this book would discuss how to improve this instinctual ability by offering tips or methods; NOPE. This book is filled with stories of people who had experiences of intuition and nothing else. If you enjoy listening to the intellectual NPR type who love spouting off words and descriptions that make them sound smart but never leads them to a valid point then go ahead and waste your money. Otherwise, this book is utterly worthless and void of any useful information. Anyone in their right mind will be left wanting and begging for this babbling idiot to finally get to a point.

33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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).

30 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-08-22

Too American?

First thing, don't put music in your audiobook. It was a few minutes every beginning of chapter, very distracting and annoying.

The book started quite well, the marriage part was quite interesting. Then it went downhill.
The book continues to tell the super long scientific names of facial muscles, they bring no value at all as no normal person knows the names of all the facial muscles.
80% of the book is discussing racism and cops shooting. 20% would have been fine but I just got so tired of it.
I think everyone should know by now, autism is a spectrum. However this book made it seem like all autistic people are the same. And the reason why cops shoot innocent people is because they become temporarily autistic?? Not fair at all against autistic people. The stories in other chapters were also very boring, Coke chapter was alright.