Ever met someone for the first time and hated them instantly? If you thought there was ‘something’ about that person that made you hate them, you are right but try analyzing what and your mind draws a blank. When people try to explain why they thought, what they thought most of us fail to give plausible answers. Here’s where ‘Blink’ comes in. Blink is all about the amazingly accurate split-second decisions we make when we see something for the first time, due to the power of our subconscious mind.
The author discusses a very important concept-Thin slicing. It essentially refers to how we make shockingly accurate judgments on people and things we see for the ‘first time’. Most of us attribute that feeling to a gut feel but there is more to it than that. What happens as explained in the book is that, the brain sifts through a lot of our mind’s historical data to give us an accurate estimate (or a thin slice) which we refer to as our gut feeling.
Mind reading is another important concept that’s touched upon. Several incidents are discussed where critical judgments were made erroneously because the people involved did not accurately mind read. The example used for illustration is ironic considering the same erroneous judgment was repeated this year in England, when a bunch of policemen misunderstood the intentions of an innocent man and shot him in the subway.
The author explains that although eyes are the windows to our soul, it’s the facial expressions that are the master key to our internal feelings. Expressions that flit across our faces in micro seconds hold more information than any amount of studies that may analyze that person over days. Here I am reminded of a friend of mine who is an exception to this rule. She was a truly lucky girl considering that no one could mind read her because her face was ‘always’ blank, no matter what myriad emotions she experienced.
The book then proceeds to discuss a whole bunch of other concepts and experiments which are then rationally explained. The important experiments analyzed are the Coke-Pepsi blind test, the Warren Harding error (or the error of judging people based only on their good looks), Paul Van Ripper’s big victory etc. The author discusses his observations from topics as varied as speed dating, military battles, heart attack response analysis, car sales and celebrity singers.
Other things discussed are marriage signatures, consumer choices and the pitfalls of pre-conceived/stereotypical notions. Our minds unconsciously levitate towards certain stereotypical notions and although we can ‘mind train’ ourselves it’s quite difficult. The theories discussed are the syndrome of tall people achieving more success, men being considered more superior to women work-wise etc.
Blink is an intensive study of the psychology of the human mind. In ‘Blink’, the author has attempted to explain in simple language, several new breakthroughs that unravel the secrets of our thinking. The material that he has presented is neither breakthrough nor earth shattering but by making these things familiar to the common man in interesting layman language, he’s served a coup’degrace. The author presents all the concepts in such an interesting manner that even though he sounds confused throughout the book, you’ll still like what you are reading.
If nothing this book can guarantee you that the next time you are at a party and are short of some attention-grabbing conversation starters, just recall and discuss plenty of ideas that you have picked up from ‘Blink’.