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BLINK By Malcolm Gladwell

We’ve all had the experience of knowing something without knowing how we know. We observe a situation, and something about it is wrong. . . or right. What is this spontaneous cognition and is this a skill that can be nurtured or developed?

This is the topic of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest bestseller. It’s a quick read, a mere 250 pages, and it left me wishing for a few more answers to the interesting questions posed. But it is interesting. Gladwell offers so many fascinating tidbits, like the fact that height is typically deceiving in snap decisions. In fact, according to the author, every inch of height is worth $789 a year in salary – that’s how much we swoon over a tall person. This is just one of what Gladwell calls the Warren Harding errors. The Harding error, named after the handsome but less than effective president, is the dark side of rapid cognition – it’s our tendency to misjudge based on our built-in biases and prejudices.

Gladwell tells an intriguing story in the beginning of the book about how the Getty Museum bought a statue it believed to be old and quite valuable, hired respected scientists to test for its authenticity, and was about to pay millions for it when another expert saw it for a split second and said, “Hope you haven’t paid for it yet?” The expert who saw it for a second was actually right – the statue was a forgery – but all of the detailed analysis had missed it. How? This is the interesting line of inquiry of the bestseller Blink.

It will likely leave you wishing for more, but is still quite thought-provoking – and for that I give Blink by Malcolm Gladwell a thumbs up. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio 1160, I’m Amanda Dickson.

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