02/15/2007
          Blink Malcolm Gladwell
          Review by Mario Cipresso

        • In Blink, Gladwell successfully reveals the foundations of 'thin-slicing' that are so integral to being a human being. Through a series of varied case studies Gladwell explores how we as individuals develop our subconscious abilities to make educated snap judgments that are based on years of life experience. In fact, he contends that in many instances, less information is more. We can often become mired in the details and lose sight of the big picture, ignoring all of our finely tuned instincts. Gladwell continues, citing examples where our ability to thin-slice can fail us, as in the election of Warren Harding as President. The selection of Harding based on his presence, stature and 'presidential' appearance is referred to as the 'dark side of thin-slicing', founded in prejudice and discrimination.

          Gladwell's case study highlighting the greatest American wargames failure is truly fascinating. Directly applicable to the business environment, the simulation highlights the ability of a spontaneous, agile organization to outmaneuver one that is larger and rigidly structured. A highly-trained group of individuals, each with the ability and authority to react instinctively will make decisions that collectively benefit the whole, adjusting to conditions on-the-fly.

          A worthy read, especially for those interested in learning more about the hidden mechanisms driving our ability to make quick, intuitive and largely accurate decisions.

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