Book Review

The FOCUS staff would like to introduce our readers to the second in a series of our newsletter feature, the book review.

In this feature, ABA employees share their thoughts about a book they have recently read with themes that apply to the goals of ABA and/or the University.

"Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking," Author Malcolm Gladwell.

By Elena Compo

"Call it instinct, insight, intuition or psychic ability, some people are particularly adept at making subconscious assessments of a situation or person. In Blink (written by Malcolm Gladwell), the author identifies this ability as thin slicing. 

I was interested in a concise definition of this phrase, so I googled it.  Wikipedia defines thin-slicing as the ability to find patterns or make decisions based on narrow windows of experience. The author cites studies, examples and his personal experiences to support his contention that often a person’s first decision or observation is the most accurate decision with the most favorable outcome.

ElenaAs an amateur student of human nature, the examples of this type of subconscious decision making presented in Blink were interesting and compelling.  Other influences in a person’s initial impression are bias, greed and pre-conceived notions.  Gladwell also mentions it is human nature to distrust this type of rapid decision making.  We warn ourselves not to jump to conclusions, to analyze the pros and cons of situations before making decisions.  I am familiar with this type of analysis paralysis, and was hoping to develop skills to overcome my personal tendency to overthink my decisions.

I was, however disappointed that the author did not discuss how I could work at developing this skill. While the book is a worthwhile read, in my opinion, it fell short of its potential by not providing examples of how the reader can improve their own subconscious decision making.  Overall grade:  B-"

Elena Compo is a Resource Analyst in Business & Administrative Services, ABA

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