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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

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Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking believes in the power of the "adaptive unconscious" to revolutionize the information age. Blink is a fascinating and showcases the examination of the brain's ability to process information in the blink of an eye and reach correct conclusions. The author defines the adaptive unconscious as " a kind of giant computer that quickly and quietly processes a lot of data we need in order to keep functioning as human beings." (Gladwell,11). Blink is a book that analyzes the way people make decisions. According to the author, people use one of two strategies to come to a decision. The first strategy is a conscious one. When using this strategy, people think about what they have learned and develop an answer. The second is an unconscious strategy in which a person's brain reaches a conclusion in a matter of seconds, often times without awareness. These conclusions are what we generally refer to as hunches or instincts and the development and reliability of these types of conclusions that are focused on in the Blink book. Throughout the book, the author sets out to accomplish three tasks. The first is to prove that decisions made very quickly can be as effective as decisions that are made cautiously and deliberately. The second task is attempting to answer the question: "When should we trust our instincts and when should we be weary of them?" In support of this question, the author gives several examples of instances where people have made decisions based on their instincts, some resulting in brilliant success, and others in utter disaster. Finally, the third and most important task is to convince the reader that first impressions can be educated and controlled.

Gladwell acknowledges that the unconscious decisions are often times more accurate than the ones we make after our judgment has been clouded by reason and rationalization. However, it can be hard for people to rely on these instinctive decisions, because the thought process happens behind a "locked door." In order to make these decisions more credible, Gladwell explains the brains ability to "thin slice." According to the author, thin slicing is the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behavior based on very narrow slices of experience. When the human unconscious thin slices, it sifts through a particular situation and throws out all irrelevant information. This process occurs constantly in our minds as we move from situation to situation. The information that we gather is stored in our unconscious and manifests itself in very subtle ways in our decision making process. Thin slicing is when the unconscious mind automatically identifies patterns developed from past experiences and makes what the author calls snap judgments. He shows several examples of when thin slicing can be beneficial as well as a few flaws in the slicing

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