Blink

Blink is an interesting and short read.

Structurally, the book is an example of its own thesis - reading any random subset of it is enough to discern the central insight. From the very beginning, Gladwell uses examples of “thin-slicing” to show that our intuitive machinery is powerful enough to make reasonably accurate judgments even with very little data. Some of the examples really are incredible, as in, if I didn’t trust that there’s data to back them up I probably wouldn’t believe them.

The most compelling example to me personally is the one of basketball players and “court vision”. I watch a lot of (read: too much) basketball. Some of the decisions professionals have to make cannot possibly be made in the rational mode of thought, the game moves too fast. Steph Curry practices with sensory distraction tools, and yet his body gives him enough information to make split second decisions and judgments.

It’s possible I could have gotten the gist of the book after just the first couple of chapters. Partially I kept going because the book is already so short, and partially because books are supposed to be enjoyable, and this is one I enjoyed a lot. Each story, even though it makes the same point as every other story, is told in a delightful and human way. If you’ve got the time, or incidentally, no time at all, it’s worth reading even just a bit of it.

 
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Year in review: 2017

It’s in the books! A little bit over a year ago I started this blog with a post about my goals for 2017. Let’s see where I ended up on those: Read 6 books - I read 4 and am working, slowly, on the 5th, more on this in a later post... Continue →