Skip to main content

Review: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

BlinkBlink by Malcolm Gladwell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gladwell shares intriguing examples of the role of the unconscious in making decisions. He tells of the surprising accuracy of snap judgments, and how people’s experiences greatly influence their decisions, despite their unawareness. Many of his stories are fascinating, but his slow, winding way of telling them is frustrating. I wanted to shout, “I get the point! Move on!” I didn’t like this book as much as Outliers (read my review), but I wasn’t as interested in this topic as the subject of Outliers (achieving success).

I really liked the investigation into how ignorant people are of the factors that affect their decisions. One of my favorite sections was about how people perceive food to taste better or worse based on the food’s branding and packaging. Gladwell also shows that, counter-intuitively, too much information or too many choices inhibit judgements, because they become distracting. This idea is also explored in Nudge (read my review), which I highly recommend.

I had heard of this book before, but finally decided to read it after Brendon Sinclair recommended it in the The Web Design Business Kit 2.0 from SitePoint. In the kit, Brendon explains that web designers need to design websites that make great first impressions and are simple enough to facilitate quick, unconscious decisions. I’ll try to keep these lessons in mind for my web design company, OptimWise.

Gladwell shows that snap judgments can be quite accurate because of thin slicing; the brain is able to get a “read” on a person or object based on a very short exposure to them. Of first impressions, he says that “sometimes we can know more about someone or something in the blink of an eye than after months of study.”

We make judgments based on our experiences and situations, so prejudice and stereotypes can lead us astray. To minimize their effects, Gladwell suggests that we change our experiences. For example, by spending more time with the people against whom we’re prejudiced, we can retrain our brains to overcome the prejudice.

View all my reviews

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The difference between burritos, chimichangas, and enchiladas

I love Mexican food, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I always get confused between burritos, wet burritos, chimichangas, and enchiladas. Here are the descriptions, with the differences in bold and pictures following each description.

burrito
A flour tortilla wrapped around a filling (meat, beans, vegetables, etc)


wet burrito
A burrito that's covered in red chili sauce and cheese. Because of the sauce covering, it looks like an enchilada, but it's made with a flour tortilla, whereas the enchilada is made with a corn tortilla.


chimichanga
A burrito that's deep-fried. Sometimes covered with cheese or another topping.


enchilada
A corn tortilla wrapped around a filling, covered with chili pepper sauce


Sources
Wikipedia: BurritoWikipedia: ChimichangaWikipedia: Enchilada

Edit scanned documents with Word 2007

Office 2007 includes support for converting scanned documents to editable text using OCR (optical character recognition). To get your text from a paper document to Word 2007:
In the Control Panel, open Add or Remove Programs.Find Microsoft Office, click it, and click Change.In the Office Installation Options window, expand Office Tools, click Microsoft Office Document Imaging, and select Run from My Computer from the dropdown.Click Continue or Next until you reach the end.You can now scan documents and convert the scanned images to editable text:
From the Start Menu, find Microsoft Office, then select Microsoft Office Tools, then click Microsoft Office Document Scanning.Choose your preset and options, then click Scan.The scanned image should open in Microsoft Office Document Imaging. To perform OCR and open the editable text in Word, click Tools, Send Text to Word.You can now edit and save the scanned document as a Word document.

My LASIK laser eye surgery experience

Yesterday was a turning point in my life; I had laser eye surgery (LASIK)! Here's a brief summary of my experience.

When I was 16, I barely passed the eye exam at the DMV, so they told me I had to see my eye doctor. Being a self-conscious geek, I opted for contacts over the stereotypical glasses. Although they were fine for most of the day, my contacts always dried out around 8 or 9 PM. My friends will tell you they got sick of my complaints that "my eyes feel like corks!" and "these contacts feel like sandpaper!"

Over the years, I've tried more than 10 different types of contacts, including extended wear, overnight wear, and high-moisture contacts. For a while, I even had contacts with bright blue artificial irises to cover my natural grayish ones. I got a lot of compliments, but they didn't help with the dryness.

I decided to put an end to the suffering this year. LASIK isn't cheap; reputable surgeons charge about $2000 per eye. It hurt to max out my…