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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Essay

Brief Summary and “Arrangement” of the Book:
Malcom Gladwell published the most pleasant book, “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,” which he extended the landmark style of his number one international bestseller The Tipping Point. Gladwell transformed the ideas of how people understand the world within its rapid decisions. The Blink is about the power of thinking without thinking, which choices that seem to be made in instant decisions in the blink of an eye of a person that can’t be as simple as it may seem to be. Blinked discussed the many elements that affect the individuals judgments, culture, and even their experienced, in which told how they can be improved. Gladwell states various reasons and examples why the human brain is necessary to make a correct decision without thinking and examine information that is necessary to choose a course of action, which he termed this ability as “thin-slicing.” The “Blink” is structured starting with an advantageous introduction, followed by several chapters, conclusion, and extra-textual elements such as the afterword, author’s notes, index, and ended with a special section of a reading group guide. Introduction. The Statue that Didn’t Look Right- The author begins by introducing the concept of immediate reactions to people whether it’s physical or emotional responses.

Therefore, Gladwell’s story relates to a particular type of a statue by the J. Paul Getty Museum in California, which was known as a kouros. He proceeds to explain the questioning of the statue and to ascertain the truth of how owners maintain the museum to stay open in public. Although the museum faced several conflicts, it was proven that the ownership documents were forged, and yet the museum reopened. Chapter I. “The Theory of Thin Slices: How a little Bit of Knowledge Goes a Long Way”: The first chapter accounted how Gladwell introduces the main concept of the “thin-slice,” detailing the way people’s minds can make brisk decision and yet make judgments as well. He employs different concepts to illustrate the individuals within their power of thinking without thinking, in providing an example of married couples. By watching videotapes of married couples, the research team began to specify a system that reveals many deep-seated problems in the marriage through their body language patterns and gestures. Chapter II. “The Locked Door: The Secret Life of Snap Decisions”: The context of this chapter discusses the story of how most of the time, we create snap judgments unconsciously and make quick decisions from it.

The author explains the different experiment that was done to help prove his reasoning by the students who participated in small tests. This can encourage us to rethink of how certain we are with our thoughts. Gladwell also demonstrates how humans seem to be naturally ill at ease with ambiguity, so we unconsciously create stories that account for decisions we make or within our actions. Chapter III. “The Warren Harding Error: Why We Fall for Tall, Dark, Handsome Men”: This chapter consists of the impact of the Warren Harding error, which has the negative side to rapid thinking and it affects the accuracy of the way we make fast decisions. Due to this error, people can cause others to create false conclusions without any thinking further. In other words, we can have a better control with our thoughts and even form a more accurate judgment for ourselves. Chapter IV. “Paul Van Riper’s Big Victory: Creating Structure for Spontaneity”: In this chapter, the author discusses the case of Paul Van Riper, a commander in the Marine Corps within military philosophy. He explains how snap decisions wasn’t the best choice because its outcome is never certain.

Often, Gladwell contends, the best decisions are made by relying on only a few pieces of information which could just prolong the process and not become useful. Chapter V. “Kenna’s Dilemma: The Right-and Wrong-Way to Ask People What They Want”: The author focuses on a different concept in this chapter describing about Kenna, a rock musicians who would receive a different reactions from an audience. Gladwell demonstrates that removing a problem from its normal context makes it very difficult for us to actually make accurate decisions. Eventually it is realized that most people would continuously make incorrect judgment when it is not based on their range in knowledge and how it will appeals to others. Chapter VI. “Seven Seconds In the Bronx: The Delicate Art of Mind Reading”: The author specifies the negative outcomes that can occur when a series of judgments are made in rapid decisions. Gladwell uses an expert studies, like a man named Amadou Diallo, who was shot and killed by police officers after the misjudgments that happened and became a huge mistakes. This shows that the kind of adrenaline rush can cause the brain in creating an inappropriate actions and could hurt the others around us. Conclusion. “Listening with Your Eyes: The Lessons of Blink”: To conclude this novel, the author recounts that the power of decisions made in the blink of an eye lies in the absence of other factors and its actions. The book ends with Glawell encouraging readers to take this lesson and learn from it in order to make positive outcomes and change the habit of making rapid decisions.

Rhetorical Analysis:
Exigence- Malcolm Glawell was motivated by his desire to show people that making quick decisions have more value than what we actually think. He says, “I believe that the task of making sense of ourselves and our behavior requires that we acknowledge there can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.” (17), suggesting that we should focused on what we actually know, and examined the processes of how we think in making decisions in order for it to create a positive outcome and deliver a better world. Audience- The audience would presumably be for those who believe that the best decisions are made after a certain amount of time in collecting and analyzing of high-quality information. The fact of how “decisions made very quickly can be very bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately.” (14). His writing is directed to people who often make snap judgments and first impressions for better means of making sense of the world and by not believing in the validity of blink decisions.

Purpose- Gladwell’s purpose is to teach ourselves to think logically and deliberately in controlling our rapid cognition within it consistent set of reasons. The author’s purpose was, “to shape and manage and educate the unconscious reactions.” (16). His purpose enlightens and educates the readers for them to take action and use their ability in cultivating ourselves. The task of “Blink” is to convince people of a convincing his readers that snap judgments and first impressions can be educated and controlled. The author’s purpose enlightens and educates the readers for them to make more positive outcome when it comes to making decisions.

Logos- The author provided an insight of using logical appeal such as statistics due to how this book is based upon a true story. Gladwell refers to the laboratory work of a psychologist named John Gottman at the University of Washington. Gottman has created a coding system that can be used to analyze a videotape in every conceivable emotion that a married couple might express during a conversation. This coding system focuses of every emotional nuance, bits of dialogue, and movement detected by the sensors that is factored in which can be used to predict, with 95% accuracy whether that couple will still be married fifteen years later (21). Another example was how the author included the observers’ ratings which predicted with better than 80% accuracy of marriages around this time (47). From the statistics that he provided, the readers would be aware of making decisions with only little information given in a short amount of time.

Pathos- Gladwell may have not use a strong emotion but instead he was able to use his technique in addressing the reader directly which increases the amount of communication between himself and the reader. On “The Warren Harding Error,” the reader is asked to take a test on unconscious connections. However, in order for him to gain this connection within his reader, at times, he asks questions such as, “That was easy, right?” and more phrases like “Now try this… did you notice the difference?” (78-80). It is called the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which was a devised in making connections. Therefore, Gladwell’s technique gives the reader a sense of being familiar to this test and leads to more understanding with those circumstances when rapid cognition leads us astray.

Ethos- “Bink,” by Malcolm Gladwell refers to the incredible works of educated and experienced individuals like John Gottman a psychologist at the University of Washington (18.) Another reference was Paul Ekman and Silvan Tomkins, which they developed the Facial Action Coding System, or FACS (204). This system assembled the rules for reading and interprets thousands of combinations of movements or its actions that make up facial expressions. Malcolm Gladwell is also the author of the number 1 international bestseller The Tipping Point. Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker and was formerly a business and science reporter at the Washington Post (back cover). The author establishes his credibility to get the reader to acknowledge his talent as a writer.

Style/tone- The author’s overall tone was very serious due to the amount of information that he provided in his book. “We’re a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things that we don’t really have an explanation for.” (69). Gladwell’s tone in this novel was very informative stating that we, as humans would have to gather a lot of information and in as many different contexts as possible. He reveals his position in his conclusion, “It is not enough simply to explore the hidden recesses of our unconscious… once we know how the mind works about the strengths and weaknesses of human judgments, it is our responsibility to act.” (276). The author ensure the book is less boring which he added questions that needed to be answer in order for the reader to take notice and understand his position.

Delivery- The book was very plain and was kept simple. The front cover is plain white with the font title made to be in blue and bold print to capture the reader’s attention. The publishers included under the title that “Blink” is written by the author of The Tipping Point. The inside of the book was organized by the introduction, 6 chapters, conclusion, and several extra-textual elements which it provides more information for the readers. Within the organization of Gladwell’s book in his acknowledgements, he gave thanks to the people who helped him finished this book such as, Michael Pietsch, Geoff Shandler, Heather Fain, and most of all, Bill Philips, who deftly and thoughtfully and cheerfully guided this manuscript from nonsense to sense. Also, there are several people who deserve special thanks like Terry Martin and Henry Finder, as they did with The Tipping Point – wrote long and extraordinary critiques of the early drafts. Suzy Hansen and the incomparable Pamela Marshall brought focus and clarity to the text and rescued Gladwell from embarrassment and error (285-286). The author trusted these amazing people to make revision throughout the book to make it more presentable and effective to the eyes of the readers. Above all, the back cover of the book provided a short summary of the book, the special critiques with a name given below, that will capture the reader’s attention. The genre was given on the left corner at very top of the book with the font color of white. It also provided Malcolm Gladwell’s recognition from his accomplishments to establish his credibility.

Use of Outside Sources: Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” uses multiple outside sources throughout his book. The author provided quotes taken from interviews, psychological research, and even some historical references such as the Civil War and the use of Morse code in the Second World War. Gladwell’s uses of outside sources were very effective due to enlarging his ideas and helped me understand his position within the new concepts throughout the whole book. He also includes additional notes and fascinating examples to increase the effectiveness of the book and support his ideas which added credibility to his book. Overall, the amount of sources that he provided helped him established his authority and credibility as it become effective to the idea that he was trying to get across.

Personal Response: In my opinion, “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” was very interesting and very informative. It made me realized how there are times that we, as humans, love to think and make quick decisions with only few information given to us. From this book, I learned more about my unconscious and its ability in making decisions without me knowing the real situation or having enough information. The book was very well written by discussing the general meaning of making decisions with the blink of an eye. I enjoyed every chapter of this book because I was able to learn something new and understand these unfamiliar concepts. My mainly concern about this book is the multiple examples that he provided each chapter which was a bit confusing. However, his concepts are still clearly stated and understandable due to the explanations that relates to his idea. I highly recommend that this book should be keep in the book list because I believe everyone would find this interesting as well. The “Blink” made me rethink of the quick decisions I made in the past, which now, I know better and quit the habit of making snap decisions that may form a negative action. This book gives knowledge about our world and ourselves, which tells us how the majority of people are used to not analyzing information and just make the best of it from what we think is right.


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