Learning

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

I like books like this, they basically take some research results, come up with some use case and write a story about it. This book is so interesting that I finished it in 2 weeks. Impressive considering that I only get to read during the weekends and at night.

Link to Amazon

Link to Wikipedia

There are lessons to be learnt from this book although in the book, it is vague. We have the capability to create a first impression and make accurate decision from very little information. The book calls this “thin-slicing”. This fact hits home for me because in the organisation that I work, data is everything. A lot of time is spent collecting data and analyzing the tons of collected data. The eureka moment for me is when the book used the example of the Chicago Hospital. The correct information (just 4 factors) and an unbiased view is enough to make a life or death decision. So I have to question the tons of data that I collect in my day to day work, whether they are important to the decision being made or they are just biased opinion.

What I learned from the book about making snap decision

  1. You have to be an expert in the field. The “gut feeling” only works if you have tons of experience and spend years honing your skills. A highly technical decision cannot be made by ordinary “people on the street”.
  2. You would need to put yourself in a situation where only the necessary information is  available so as not to cloud your bias. An example given was the use of gender to determine the suitability of a person playing brass instrument.

I would think that I have learn a few things here and there from the book. Especially about using enough and correct information to make a decision rather than collecting as much as information as possible. Sometimes, less but more relevant, is better.