The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Continuing our Thinking Week, let’s move from the structure of Morgan Jones to the adaptive unconscious of the mind as depicted in Malcolm Gladwell’s classic book “blink“.

Gladwell weaves compelling stories as diverse as the uncovering of a fraud in ancient statuary to that of a classical trombonist auditioning for the lead chair in a world-class orchestra. The power of these and other stories in the book is that our mind has an uncanny ability to quickly make decisions that can be every bit as good as decisions made curiously and deliberately. So much for structure and analysis!


The problem is that our unconscious is a powerful force. But it can be fallible. It can be thrown off, distracted, and disabled. Our instinctive reactions often have to compete with all kinds of other interests and emotions and sentiments. Are we then not to trust our instincts?
Gladwell does an amazing job of laying out the case that the mind can be educated and controlled when it comes to making snap judgements and first impressions. Gladwell captivates the reader with stories that help us understand the power of instantaneous impressions and conclusions that spontaneously arise whenever we meet a new persons or confront a complex situation or have to make a decision under conditions of stress.
What do you think? Can there be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis?

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