Blink: The Power of Publishing a Book without Thinking.

According to Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking is "a book about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in the blink of an eye." The subject matter for this book has room for potential. However, blink fails to become a relevant and engaging one for six reasons:

No Thesis
blink is a series of anecdotes about unconscious decision-making. That's it, nothing else. At the beginning of the book, Gladwell narrates short stories to prove that we should trust our snap judgments. However, there is a shift of direction halfway in the book, in which the anecdotes are then used as evidence that unconscious  decisions can end with negative consequences. In addition, the book fails to explain how this processes work psychologically or a neurologically, as well as explaining which decision-making procedure works best, the unconscious or the conscious one, and it does not give strategies of how to improve our decision making. The lack of a thesis and direction makes it, ultimately, a collection of random stories trying to prove that there are snap judgments, something that is considered common knowledge.

Image result for Malcolm GladwellWhat is ethos you might ask? Well, this refers to the credibility of the writer. In other words, why should I believe what you are telling me? In this case, who is Malcolm Gladwell and why should we believe what he is saying? Malcolm Gladwell majored in history, however, because of his poor grades he could not enter into graduate school. He then tried to pursue a career in advertising, but he was not accepted into any agency. Finally, he decided to become a journalist. This means he has no insight on the process of decision-making from a psychological or neurological point of view. So what would be the result of someone who is writing about something that is not their area of expertise? In this case is "Blink," an anthology of stories loosely connected by the theme of snap decisions, which do not necessarily prove that following our snap judgment has positive consequences, even when that is the intention of the author. 

Nothing New
Well, if Blink is a series of anecdotes they must be interesting or the experiments must be new, right? Nope. They are old or common. The book was published in 2005 and there are experiments in the book that were done in the 1980's. That is more than 20 years and psychology is a field that is constantly evolving in a short time period. In the 1950's behaviorism was the dominant school of thought in the U.S., but 20 years later, it was overshadowed by the cognitive revolution of 1960. In addition, one of the stories Gladwell narrates is where a police officer shot a civilian that was innocent. Is this story interesting enough that it should be included in a book? Maybe, if it was used to explain a psychological process or serve as evidence for a theory. But in blink it is evidence that humans use snap decisions. In my opinion, there are far more interesting stories that could have made a greater impact on the readers.

It has already been stated that Gladwell does not explain the process of unconscious decision-making, how to improve them, when should we choose the snap judgments or the conscious ones, how we developed an unconscious instant judgment or where does decision-making lie in the brain. It is only anecdotes that are written in a way as to fill in pages. The book is more than 250 pages and instead this could have been a magazine article with a few examples that relate to the theme.

Interesting parts are not original; original parts are not interesting
Malcolm Gladwell did not bring anything original to the book, not a new theory, not a new point of view, nor new evidence. The best aspect about the book are the outdated stories, and he did not do the experiments, but rather look them up, the same thing you and I could do. When someone else produced the best feature in your book, it is a sign that you should not publish it or at least write about something else.

No conclusion
With no thesis, what is the conclusion? Well, I do not think Gladwell knows. When he was asked what Blink was about, he finished answering by stating that in Blink he is "trying to understand [not explain] those two seconds" of rapid cognition. Then he continues by asking questions: "What is going inside our heads when we engage in rapid cognition? When do snap judgments provide an advantage and when do they not? What kinds of things can we do to make our powers of rapid cognition better? In my opinion, you write a book to explain s topic to your audience, not to understand it yourself. Finally, these questions are the one that he should have answered in the book, instead of asking them to himself.

My conclusion is that blink is a book with extensively with filler, random anecdotes, no new perspective, evidence or theory, no thesis and no reason to believe him. If you want Blink summarized in one sentence, it would be: Trust your gut except when it is wrong. There, I just saved you time and money.

Feel free to leave a comment, questions, concerns, or suggestions.