Blink: the power of thinking without thinking

Publishing Information: by Malcolm Gladwell, Back Bay Books, 2005

Subject area(s): Psychology, Self-Help

Type of resource: Personal Development

----Ratings (1-5)*----

Thought leadership = 5. blink1In addition to the advancing the idea in Blink that one can maximize their intuitive ability by knowing their limits and living into them fully, Gladwell also continues to advance the literary form of a cross-disciplinary narrative, what he calls conversation starters. Gladwell is controversial for some, deeply informative for others, and always, always interesting, setting the tone for ....well...conversation. This is thought leadership as fine art.

Accessibility of the material = 3. Gladwell does not write, and the editors don't edit him for you to peruse, to dip and dart. These books are meant to be read from cover to cover, to savor, to dog-ear, to underline, and to go find someone to talk about the thoughts that get sparked. Rather than this material being accessible at a glance, the reader will find themselves staring at the ceiling thinking about what they just read, wanting to access other knowledge, willing to expand their thinking, and then to draw on their relationships. One does not go deeper, they go wider when reading Gladwell.

Mix of theory and practice = 3. The tilt is clearly to theory, but with many practical and memorable illustrations of how that theory is practically in play. Think of Gladwell's writings, Blink included, as an entertaining form of Grounded Theory.

Look and feel = 4. The paperback version I read is extremely durable and flexible. A good thing because I kept opening it flat to underline and make some notes on the pages.  Its weight makes it comfortable to hold in one's hand, and it's size makes it easy to shove into the backpack.  Yes, I do have a Kindle reader and do read books that way, but this is a book to display on one's shelf, to retrieve or to leave lying around.

Engagement of the audience = 5. Even those who disagree with Gladwell must admit the power and interest his writing generates. He influences public discourse and coins terminology that become common parlance. Reading Blink, and as an intuitive leader myself, I wondered if intuition is also the drive for Gladwell. Rather than starting with a lot of evidence and arriving at discovery, he seems to discover and then to work backward to uncover the evidence that supports what he knows and now needs to demonstrate. But it is more than this. He seems to seize on what people do not yet know will fascinate them, and to do so repeatedly.


* How we construct our ratings 
1= Not registering
2= Present
3= Effective
4= Commendable
5= Outstanding

--mark l vincent


Mark L. Vincent
Post by Mark L. Vincent
August 29, 2014
I walk alongside leaders, listening to understand their challenges, and helping them lead healthy organizations that flourish.