Blink: It’s What’s For Dinner

On a recent overseas journey, I loaded my iPOD up with five books and prepared myself to get educated.  Whenever I travel I like to be actively engaged in many different things. Perhaps its the generation I was born into – “Generation X” or maybe its just in the DNA make-up of who I am, but learning is definitely part of who I am. 

During my flight home from Germany I dove into Malcolm Gladwell's book “Blink” which was a fascinating book on how our brain innately dissects our first impressions and how some of those first impressions are accurate while others misguide our perceptions of certain situations.

While listening to the introduction, Gladwell brilliantly describes a situation of how the Getty Museum purchased a supposed 6 B.C. relic that was fully intact.  The Getty sent all of its experts to study this piece and after 14 months determined it was authentic – only one problem it wasn't according to other worldly scholars.  Some of the brightest minds in art described the piece as “fresh” and “something just didn't feel right”.  These scholars couldn't point to something exact, but they just new that it wasn't authentic.  Over and over, the Getty kept hearing the same thing, but Gladwell points out that what the Getty saw is what they wanted to believe and that clouded their judgement.  Even more so, Gladwell points out that within seconds of seeing the sculpture they new it wasn't authentic.  What was it that triggered the “gut reaction”, the un-truth that they felt in them?  Gladwell terms this finding as “thin-slicing”.  Each of us innately “thin-slices” a situation – that is why we are able to tell when our first impression doesn't gel with what we see or hear.  After hearing this idea of “thin-slicing”, my mind was instantly drawn back to several situations where within minutes I could tell something wasn't going to work out or why my first impressions of a runner were that they had great potential. 

The concepts and ideas presented in this book are intriguing and fascinating.  As a sociologists by education I am fascinated by the social and psychological aspects this book presents.  One other aspect of the book I found most intriguing was that of how are face gives away what we are thinking and saying.  Surprisingly, if you are looking closely at someone you can tell exactly how they are responding to you if you just know where to look.

I highly recommend this book or audiobook as you will find it incredibly interesting and intriguing as well as insightful.  Good job Malcolm.  If you like this work by Malcolm Gladwell you will also like his other book called the “Tipping Point“.  Malcolm will also be a featured speaker at the Maximum Impact Simulcast on May 11.

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I help facilities manager and planner create spaces that are backed by research, engage employees of all generations, and drive business objectives. I am also the founder of Dave's Book Club – a once per month reading experience designed to help professionals grow their influence.

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