Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

We teachers of science tend to assume that our students are largely rational - that they can be brought to understanding through a gradual accumulation of experiences that lead to conclusions about how the world works, and that nature can be led to disclose herself through a logical process. In "Blink", Malcolm Gladwell describes his inquiry into the opposite kind of thought - the importance conclusions drawn on the basis of little evidence. All of us make quick decisions on the basis of a glimpse or a handshake, a gesture or a facial expression, a phrase or a few notes of music. Sometimes life and death depend on an assessment by police, whose ability to make split-second judgements can be greatly enhanced through training. Gladwell also describes how the intentional limitation of knowledge can improve the quality of decisions, especially when the possibility of bias exists. Science calls these "blind" studies or "double-blind trials", but the same kind of approach has revolutionized the gender composition of symphony orchestras. This author has been a favorite of mine since "The Tipping Point" and especially because of his essays for the New Yorker. In "Blink", he brings to light some of the myriad of thoughts floating below the surface of our students' consciousnesses, and - more importantly - our own.

Publication information
Pick Attribution: 

Malcolm Gladwell

Publication Date: 
Saturday, January 1, 2005