Book Review – Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

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About a year ago a friend loaned me a book, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, and I started to read it.  However, life got in the way and it found a shelf until just recently.  This time, I made it the whole way through and found some great information that I would like to review with you.  Perhaps this is the book that has the answers that you are looking for.

Blink-by-Malcolm-Gladwell

The Basics

This book is about how we are able to make snap judgements in the blink of an eye and somehow be fairly accurate when doing so.  Malcolm explores many different paths that help lead up to how we are able to process information so quickly and accurately.

There is also a fair amount of information on just how we behave in various situations on a mental level and how various things can have an effect on that.  By the end of the book I was really excited to see how everything was tied together and very happy once I completed reading it.

A Rough Start

As I mentioned above, it wasn’t until the second time that I sat down with the book that I got through it the whole way.  There are two reasons behind this with the first being that I am not a huge book reader and sometimes just can’t get into that mood.  Secondly though, I thought that while there was great information provided the author took a slow and deliberate buildup that took a little more time to hook and reel me in.

My friend had proactively loaned me the book after reading it himself though as he really thought that I would enjoy the perspectives and research shared.  While it didn’t grab me at first, the second time through I really found a connection with the content and once that was clear it would not take me long to finish this it.

Well Presented and Thought Out

Malcolm-Gladwell-Author-of-Blink
Malcolm presented and built out a well thought out and structured book.

While it may have started slow, there was a constant building going on where Malcom Gladwell was able to keep adding on more and more linked content.  With each story shared, perspectives would grow and be linked together, forming a rather well rounded piece.

It was a lot like with each new page, a new link was added to the chain.  As the chain grew longer, I grew more and more intrigued with the content that was being presented to me.  I started to anticipate whatever was coming up next and at times it became hard to put the book down.

The one point that I loved was how the author used various stories to get points across.  With each story there would also be a lot of research to go along with it to help explain as well.  I have always been a fan of using stories to help share a perspective and I have to give Malcom credit here as he did a great job with that.

Pros and Cons

learning-new-skills
There is a lot of learning to do, but no set guideline or practice to do so.

Outside of the Pros that I have already mentioned, the biggest one that I enjoyed from this book is the deep thoughts that it provoked.  To this day I am still referencing back to things that were discussed and pondering how it all ties in with life.  The more time goes on, the more I am finding new connections and aha moments that can all be tied in together.

Again, outside of the Cons already mentioned, the biggest drawback is that Malcolm didn’t give any exercises or ways to implement what he discusses in the book.  I had hoped by the end that he was tying everything together for a grand reveal, but you are kind of left hanging there a little.

While he does not give you anything specific to work on to improve your own skills, it is all there for you to discover on your own.  I have been realizing more and more just how important the content of this book is and as that happens I am able to improve my life because of it.

My Recommendation

thumbs-up
I would definitely recommend this book for someone looking to understand how the mind works.

Honestly at first I wasn’t sure that I would have recommended this book, but as I went along through it and I began to see the bigger picture I am now fully behind the book and its message.

I will state that you need to be patient with it and allow it to build on itself so that you too can start to see how everything does get tied in together.  Personally I think I was about halfway through when it hit me and at that point I knew I wouldn’t set the book down again until I was done.

The last two chapters I found very exciting as I was reading through and I could not wait to turn the page.  Again I wished there was some sort of exercise to help with this skill, but I think in time we will all benefit from the content and find our own methods to incorporate it into our lives.

In the end though, if you are looking to broaden your mind and gain a better understanding of how our brains work, then this is a solid book that can help you to do so.  I know my mind has been opened up to several new concepts which I hope to write articles about soon!

If you would like to add Blink by Malcolm Gladwell to your collection, please check it out here and help support this site and our mission to change the world.

Discussion

Please share your thoughts and perspective with us.
Please share your thoughts and perspective with us.

Lastly I would like to invite everyone here to discuss the book and how we might be able to apply this in our lives in order to make the world a better place.  Please feel free to leave questions or feedback about the book in the comment section below.

I know I personally have a few future articles that I will be writing that in large part came from reading this book.  As they become published I will be back to here to list them out for your convenience.  In the meantime, you may want to check out these previous articles:

Post Book Reading Articles:

Thank you for stopping by and hope to see you again!  Don’t forget to share with your friends!

James W D
james@spiralrevolutions.com

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14 Replies to “Book Review – Blink by Malcolm Gladwell”

  1. Hi JamesWD

    I read your review and it’s very interesting! After I finished reading your review all the comments here I read as well, all the conversation with all of your visitors with you keeping me interested in the book of Malcolm Gladwell. And by the way it’s nice to be back here, as usual you nailed it again. Thank you for doing this review! I learned a lot!

    Cheers
    Eric

    • Thank you Eric, glad to see you stop back again. Blink certainly has captured some attention here and yes we have already had some good discussion on it. Malcolm did a pretty good job with putting all of the info together for Blink, now we just need to take it that next step of practically applying it to life.

  2. I’ve read The Tipping Point so I would definitely add this to my list of books to read.
    It’s great that a book can make you more aware of how your mind works. Too bad the practical side of it was not tackled. Have you come across one that gives you better pointers?

    • Dinh, At this point I would say I am still working on that. I do think the book goes well with The Confidence Gap, but they are not quite hand in hand for that. I will be working up some of my own thoughts over the next couple weeks here and will be sharing them soon!

  3. James,

    I love “Blink”! And pretty much all of Malcolm Gladwell’s works.

    Gladwell describes how our subconscious mind does a lot of “heavy lifting” for us in making our decisions and evaluations. When asked “Why?” we have made those choices, we are unable to articulate the precise process.

    As I’m a great believer in trusting your instincts, gut, and snap decisions, I always enjoy learning more about how our subconscious mind affects our lives and our thought processes.

    I’m very intrigued by Gladwell’s notion of “thin-slicing,” using a limited amount of information from a narrow range of experience to rapidly reach a conclusion. When it works, of course, it is incredibly powerful and can seem almost mystical or magical. The downside is it can lead to stereotyping, and making bad decisions based on limited information. Gladwell’s example of Harding (often described as America’s worst president — though to be fair he was only in office 2 years before his untimely death) who was elected primarily based on his looks, which were “Presidential.”

    I’m interested in trying to make myself more of a “thin-slicing” thinker. I tend to overanalyze things, gather way too much information, and end up with analysis paralysis.

    From what I’ve heard from the experts on the conscious and subconscious mind, our subconscious is much more important in our lives than our conscious thought. Do you think Gladwell has provided a glimpse of how we can tap more into that unconscious mind to make stronger decisions, even if we are hard pressed to explain those decisions after?

    I really wonder how much more effective we could be as humans if we could learn to trust our instincts and gut feelings. Maybe Gladwell’s book “Blink” provides some hints on how to do that?

    Thanks for another thought provoking post!

    Roger

    • A friend of mine lent me this book and after the fact I now believe it is because this is the way that I tend to think and act in life. While he has more of a practical and methodical intelligence, I have always seemed to fly by the seat of my pants with mine. After reading the book, I felt like I had a much better understanding of how I actually worked in life.

      So when it boils down to it I am a pretty good “thin-slicer” and have been working on improving that. Up until now thought I was not really aware of the what and how’s, but now it makes a lot more sense.

      I am glad you like all of his works and I do plan on looking more into his other stuff as well.

  4. Good article James. I like the idea behind the book. Changing mindset can really help just when you’re looking to stop.

    I also like the way you reviewed it. I felt like I had read the book as well! Your writing is really good. And it’s great you read it twice. That’s something I never seen before in a review. I’ll try and do it too.

    • First off thank you for the kind words. Honestly I read it once and a half. I did not finish the book the first time through, but when I picked it up a second time I read from cover to cover.

      This book can definitely play a key role in understanding how your mindset really works and what out there in the world is actually influencing you on a daily basis. With that awareness, you can be much more mindful about how you move forward in life.

  5. I’m glad you posted this review, especially if the book has a really slow start. I find myself too often discarding books with slow starts because it is in our nature to dismiss them as bad right off the bat. I haven’t read this one yet, but from what you are telling me it reminds me of Catch-22.

    Definitely going to check it out, thanks for the review!

    • Yeah it takes him a little time to start to tie everything together, but as soon as you start to see that it really picks up steam and carries you forward. The early stuff ends up getting referenced a lot as the book goes on and as he does so it really comes into focus. Then ending was solid and I went through it very eagerly.

      My only drawback is that it could have used one more chapter to help show how to apply the concepts in your own life. That being said however, I am really eager to start to explore several of the topics that were raised and the paths that they took me down.

  6. James, your review is much appreciated. I read Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” a few years ago and thought that was a great read. Now I am looking forward to reading “blink” and it’s your fault. 🙂

    • You are welcome Glen. I had seen the little clip in the back about The Tipping Point, and now that I have finished this book I am also more interested in that one as well. I hope you enjoy this book just as much and I hope that you stop back by here and let us know what you think of it after reading it!

  7. Interesting post on this book. Sounds like its extremely in depth but simple too. The power of the mind is a powerful thing but its also something we have to be careful of. Its easy to think too much and there you can get in trouble. Great post!

    • That is exactly right. The mind is a powerful tool and something that we do need to be very mindful about. Blink goes to show how some of our basic thought patterns can be affected by our environment and society. By the end of the book, things that would sound very complicated out of context now make so much sense. It can definitely help you move forward in a more positive manner in life that is much more under your own control.

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