7Review by Alice Waagen

Book by Malcolm Gladwell

Publisher: Back Bay Books

Recently I read a curious book called Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell is the author of the wildly popular book The Tipping Point. In Blink, which is subtitled The Power of Thinking without Thinking, he uses research from neuroscience and psychology to explain how our brains can “thin slice” the available data to make remarkably accurate, nearly instantaneous decisions even before our logical minds kick in.

Gladwell’s assertions have particular importance for those of us in people-support professions. For years we’ve been told to avoid our “gut” feelings and reactions and to analyze events purely on the basis of hard data. And yet, many of us have had experiences where, in hindsight, our gut reaction was much more useful than all the data we had collected.

Gladwell provides a scientific explanation for this phenomenon: when faced with too much information, our brains have difficulty sorting it into meaningful categories. Instead, they tend to freeze up. Too much information can thus prolong our decision-making as we struggle to make sense of all the input.

The bottom line: I endorse reading Blink. Although you won’t walk away with quick answers to today’s vexing workplace issues, you will get a lot to think about — and probably some new ways to work more effectively with other people.