Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

by Nora Caterino

I know you've had the experience of thinking long and hard about something and getting nowhere only to stop thinking so hard and in the 'blink of an eye', the answer comes to you. That subconscious thought process is what "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking," by Malcolm Gladwell is about.

Intuitive thinking includes the times that you are listening to someone tell you something and you just know they are speaking a falsehood, or they are telling the absolute truth as they understand it. Yet, you probably do not have any idea how this knowledge was available to you. It is because your mind operates at many levels and processing information does not always work best at a conscious level. Sometimes the direction of intuitive thought or "thin sliced" thought as Gladwell refers to the process, makes us believe we are following our gut feeling when in fact you are using the ability to think without thinking.

Not long ago, I spend hours trying to develop a solution to a design for a book cover. I just couldn't get an idea that might be even close to optimal. I left the thinking and later, while relaxing, in the blink of an eye, I not only knew what the cover was to contain, I actually SAW the cover in my mind's eye. I had no idea I was using the process of thinking without thinking but the solution was wonderful and turned out to be exactly what was needed.

There is some information in this work that explains ways to develop this unconscious thinking so that it occurs more frequently. However, I truly wished there were more techniques included. Yet, merely understanding what happens in my mind helped me a great deal to realize that I could implement this process by forgetting my problem for a while and waiting to see if the solution arrived in a blink.

There is a section on how people create perceptions based on word associations or, basically, stereotyping. This can lead us to bad decisions and cause us to misjudge people, missing the chance to develop a valuable relationship.

I recommend this book to anyone that has to perform any type of creative thinking – which is just about everyone! Every executive or businessperson can benefit from this knowledge. It contains 254 pages plus an extensive source list and a very good index so you can locate the information you want to review quickly and easily. The first edition hardback is published in a small size, making the book easy to tuck into your bag or briefcase to read during breaks or while waiting for an appointment.