Blink

Thanks to the amount of people that recommended it, today I started to read the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I’m only about 75 pages into it, but I can already tell that it’s going to be a fantastic book. In short, the book is about “thinking without thinking” and how we can unconsciously make decisions in seconds that are better than our consciously thought out decisions that take minutes, weeks, or years. Mainly, I think I’m going to like this book because it fits in quite perfectly with my lazy lifestyle. From now on I’m doing whatever my gut tells me and I’m thinking about nothing. If I want chocolate milk, then I’m drinking it. If I want to high five, then I’ll high ten. When you say jump, I’ll say, “only if my unconscious mind tells me to.” I can already tell that Mr. Gladwell is going to be mad at me for distorting his message.

On a serious note (don’t worry, I’ll keep it short), there was already a part of the book that was very meaningful to me. It was so meaningful that I actually marked the page with a post-it note so I’d remember to go back to it. That might not seem like a huge step for you, but I very rarely ever mark up books. (I guess it goes back to the laziness thing.) Gladwell talks about an experiment that was done where African American students did twice as badly on a test if they were asked to identify their race on a pretest questionnaire. Gladwell says:

As a society, we place enormous faith in tests because we think that they are a reliable indicator of the test taker’s ability and knowledge. But are they really? If a white student from a prestigious private high school gets a higher SAT score than a black student from an inner-city school, is it because she’s truly a better student, or is it because to be white and to attend a prestigious high school is to be constantly primed with the idea of “smart”?

I sincerely believe in that last paragraph. But, unfortunately, I might ruin it with this next bad joke…

In other words, “I think I can, I think I can” is some very solid advice.

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2 Responses to Blink

  1. jennysaisquoi says:

    have you ever seen that documentary called “The Eye of the Storm”? it’s about a 3rd grade teacher who tries to teach her students about racism by separating the students by eye color (if you have brown eyes, you’re good if you have blue eyes you’re bad). she also looked at how the kids in the different groups performed on tests and school work during the eye-color experiment. basically, she saw a significant decline in performance from the kids in the “bad” group and a significant increase from the kids in the “good” group. it’s a REALLY amazing documentary, and i’m pretty sure you can find it on PBS.org. i think it was on an episode of Frontline.

    take care,
    j.

  2. Phil Sharp says:

    I can’t believe that I’ve never heard of that. I’m definitely going to see if I can get a copy of it.

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