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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking – Malcolm Gladwell

  • “The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.”
  • “There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.”
  • “When we talk about analytic versus intuitive decision making, neither is good or bad. What is bad is if you use either of them in an inappropriate circumstance.”
  • “We have, as human beings, a storytelling problem. We’re a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things we don’t really have an explanation for.”
  • “Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out.”
  • “In the act of tearing something apart, you lose its meaning.”
  • “We live in a world saturated with information. We have virtually unlimited amounts of data at our fingertips at all times, and we’re well versed in the arguments about the dangers of not knowing enough and not doing our homework. But what I have sensed is an enormous frustration with the unexpected costs of knowing too much, of being inundated with information. We have come to confuse information with understanding.”
  • “Our world requires that decisions be sourced and footnoted, and if we say how we feel, we must also be prepared to elaborate on why we feel that way…We need to respect the fact that it is possible to know without knowing why we know and accept that – sometimes – we’re better off that way.”
  • “We live in a world that assumes that the quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort that went into making it…We believe that we are always better off gathering as much information as possible and depending as much time as possible in deliberation. We really only trust conscious decision making. But there are moments, particularly in times of stress, when haste does not make waste, when our snap judgments and first impressions can offer a much better means of making sense of the world. The first task of Blink is to convince you of a simple fact: decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately.”
  • “When we become expert in something, our tastes grow more esoteric and complex.”
  • “Anyone who has ever scanned the bookshelves of a new girlfriend or boyfriend- or peeked inside his or her medicine cabinet- understands this implicitly; you can learn as much – or more – from one glance at a private space as you can from hours of exposure to a public face.”
  • “[Research] suggests that what we think of as free will is largely an illusion: much of the time, we are simply operating on automatic pilot, and the way we think and act – and how well we think and act on the spur of the moment – are a lot more susceptible to outside influences than we realize.”
  • “We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.”
  • “Arousal leaves us mind-blind.”
  • “Being able to act intelligently and instinctively in the moment is possible only after a long and rigorous of education and experience”
  • “Often a sign of expertise is noticing what doesn’t happen.”
  • “The answer is that we are not helpless in the face of our first impressions. They may bubble up from the unconscious – from behind a locked door inside of our brain – but just because something is outside of awareness doesn’t mean it’s outside of control.”
  • “mediocre people find their way into positions of authority…because when it comes to even the most important positions, our selection decisions are a good deal less rational than we think.”
  • “People are in one of two states in a relationship,” Gottman went on. “The first is what I call positive sentiment override, where positive emotion overrides irritability. It’s like a buffer. Their spouse will do something bad, and they’ll say, ‘Oh, he’s just in a crummy mood.’ Or they can be in negative sentiment override, so that even a relatively neutral thing that a partner says gets perceived as negative.”
  • “understanding the true nature of instinctive decision making requires us to be forgiving of those people trapped in circumstances where good judgment is imperiled.”
  • “The real me isn’t the person I describe, no the real me is the me revealed by my actions.”
  • “Our world requires that decisions be sourced and footnoted, and if we say how we feel, we must also be prepared to elaborate on why we feel that way. I think that approach is a mistake, and if we are to learn to improve the quality of the decisions we make, we need to accept the mysterious nature of our snap judgements. We need to respect the fact that it is possible to know without knowing why we know and accept that — sometimes — we’re better off that way.”
  • “extreme visual clarity, tunnel vision, diminished sound, and the sense that time is slowing down. this is how the human body reacts to extreme stress.”
  • “The entire principle of a blind taste test was ridiculous. They shouldn’t have cared so much that they were losing blind taste tests with old Coke, and we shouldn’t at all be surprised that Pepsi’s dominance in blind taste tests never translated to much in the real world. Why not? Because in the real world, no one ever drinks Coca-Cola blind.”
  • “Our unconscious reactions come out of a locked room, and we can’t look inside that room. But with experience we become expert at using our behavior and our training to interpret – and decode – what lies behind our snap judgment and first impressions.”
  • “In life, most of us are highly skilled at suppressing action. All the improvisation teacher has to do is to reverse this skill and he creates very ‘gifted’ improvisers. Bad improvisers block action, often with a high degree of skill. Good improvisers develop action.”
  • “Whenever we have something that we are good at–something we care about–that experience and passion fundamentally change the nature of our first impressions.”
  • “I’ve been in auditions without screens, and I can assure you that I was prejudiced. I began to listen with my eyes, and there is no way that your eyes don’t affect your judgement. The only true way to listen is with your ears and your heart.”
  • “our power of thin-slicing and snap judgment are extraordinary, but even the giant computer in our unconscious need a moment to do its work.”
  • “Some people look like they sound better than they actually sound, because they look confident and have good posture”.Once musician, a veteran of many auditions, says. “Other people look awful when they play but sound great. Other people have that belabored look when they play, but you can’t hear it in the sound. There is always this dissonance between what you see and hear”.
  • “But in the end it comes down to a matter of respect, and the simplest way that respect is communicated is through tone of voice, and the most corsive tone of voice that a doctor can assume is a dominant tone. ”