Friday, July 10, 2009

Review of "Blink"

Subtitled "The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" by Malcolm Gladwell.

A short, interesting read that was filled with stories and studies that made you think. The opening story is fascinating. In 1983 the J. Paul Getty Museum purchases a kouros (small ancient Greek statue) for $10 million. They did every thing you could think of the verify it's authenticity. When they showed it to art experts they immediately felt it was a fake, which wound up being the truth. The theme of the whole book is basically stories and studies like that. The brain can do amazing things with short slices.

The next story is about John Gottman and his ability to accurately (95%) predict if a marriage will last 15 years by just observing a couple for 1 hour. He measures emotional slices on a scale (SPAFF) and used the results to predict failure. Another amazing study, by Steele & Aronson, had African-American students take the GRE. One group answered questions about their race pre-test and did half as good as the group that didn't! Another interesting thing was the implicit association test(IAT). The author whose mother is Jamaican took the race IAT and it showed he was biased against blacks. The last story is about classical music. Since instituting screened auditions the number of women in orchestras has gone up 500%. Even women judging women playing were biased if they saw the women before she played.

I'm not sure I learned much from this book but it was enjoyable.

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