The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.

Gladwell, Malcolm (2007-04-03). Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (Kindle Locations 3123-3124). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

I just finished reading “Blink”, an interesting book by author Malcolm Gladwell.

In this book the author gives a lot of interesting researches and fascinating real-live examples about the power of rapid cognition-the kind of thinking that happens in the blink of an eye.

The author takes his readers to the idea of “thin slicing” situations to make a split-second decision what we often have to make.  Many times we thin slice the situation and come to an “AHA” moment without being able to fully explain why we think the way we think.  As if by impulse, we just know that it is right.  In other situation, we made devastating mistakes because we wrongly thin slice the situation.

In one case example, the author told a story of how four cops shot an innocent young black guy in South Bronx area with 41 bullet holes found in his body.  Were those four cops (who happened to be all white) racist?  Most likely they were not!  So what happened?  Why did they execute the black man and put 41 bullet holes in his body?  The author argued that because they wrongly thin sliced the situation and they failed to read the mind of Amadou Diallo, the victim.  Because of this incident, Wheeler Avenue was reanamed Amadou Diallo Place.  Bruce Springsteen wrote and performed a song in his honor called “41 Shots”, with the chorus “You can get killed just for living in your American skin.”  (ch. 6.1)  Unlike in Hollywood movies, the entire incident- from start to finish- moved so rapidly that those four policemen had no time to sit down and analyze everything before they fired their guns.

In the afternoon of March 30, 1981 John Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan.  The bullet pierce the President’s lung, fortunately missed his heart by mere inches.  Three other people, including press secretary James Brady was shot in this incident that took place in just 1.8 seconds.  Why did the bodyguards and secret service agents failed to prevent this assassination attempt from taking place?  Read Chapter 6.6.

There are many other research findings and fascinating facts that the author provides in this book.  I would recommend this book for your Summer pleasure reading material.   Click here to buy the Kindle edition of this book.  Enjoy!


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