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Off the Shelf: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Posted Feb 09 2010 7:58am

Blink is a very informative look at how we think without thinking and about the choices we make behind the closed curtains of our minds. Malcolm Gladwell , the author, who also is a staff writer for The New Yorker, artfully weaves the psychology behind decision-making through true tales of everything from the election of the worst president in U.S. history to how antiquities experts uncovered a fake statue sold to the Getty. Gladwell even covers how this type of thinking led to the evolution and downfall of New Coke. He also discusses how although we think we know our opinions on subjects such as race and gender, sometimes what drives our decisions behind the closed curtain betrays us.

I enjoyed this book simply because it was so interesting and because Gladwell is so gifted at taking textbook facts and turning them into very relatable stories. My biggest takeaway was the discussion on race and gender and how a lifetime of negative images and opinions shapes our unconscious, and thus our behavior, whether or not we agree with those images in our conscious mind. There is even an online test you can take through Harvard University which “assesses your own conscious and unconscious preferences.” I am a parent and as such this part of the book really hit home for me. It made the advice of limiting negative images my children are exposed to via television, movies and video games much more relevant. It also made me understand how imperative it is that we expose our children to the great men and women in history who have overcome adversity and contributed in a positive way to society.

Blink is a fascinating read. If you have also read this book, please share your comments!

 *Originally posted March 5, 2009

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