Blink Themes

Trusting Snap Judgments

This is one of Gladwell's most important messages to the reader: the fact that, by and large, people place incredible trust in decisions that are backed by large amounts of research and information. But Gladwell continuously and persistently attempts to challenge that notion, and asks the reader to consider the fact that it could certainly be the case that judgments made almost instantaneously can be just as fruitful to analyze and appreciate as ones that are made deliberately and cautiously.

The Dangers of Snap Judgments

The complication in Gladwell's judgment arises when he presents cases in which snap judgments and quick decisions can be harmful, or even fatal. In situations where hunches and adrenaline are common, he believes that it is possible to slow things down - particularly the decision making process - to effectively make sense of a stressful situation and make a proper decision based on the information available.

Experts Are Good Decision Makers

Gladwell presents a vast array of professionals from a multitude of fields that have to make effective, quick decisions based on years of experience and intake of knowledge. However, this proposition opens up a possible flaw in Gladwell's argument - are these professionals good decision makers because they have taken steps to shape, educate, and manage their unconscious reactions? Or because they have simply become habituated through experience? Gladwell argues for the former, and he thinks that because of this it is possible for anyone to shape, educate, and manage their unconscious reactions.

Snap Judgments Can Be Educated and Controlled

The power of the glance in the first two seconds is not a gift, but something that can be learned by everyone. Blink concerns itself with the stories on the ground, not vast statistical or academic generalizations. Understanding small fleeting moments can amount to significant discoveries, and the prerogative of making sense of humans and human behavior requires the acknowledgement that there can be as much value in the blink of an eye as there is in months of rational analysis.

Rapid Cognition Makes Mistakes For Specific Reasons

Gladwell thinks that in times when snap judgments fail a person, it happens not because of some random assortment of events, but for a very specific and consistent set of reasons. Gladwell says that it is possible to learn when to listen to the unconscious and when to be wary of it.

Snap Judgments Have Mysterious Origins

Gladwell thinks that if humans want to refine the quality of the decisions they make, they need to accept the mysterious nature of snap judgments. They need to respect the fact that it is possible to know without knowing why, and to accept that, sometimes, it is better off that way.

Giving First Impressions an Identity

People who make successful snap judgments are able to withstand the chaotic context in which they make those judgments, and Gladwell thinks it is imperative if others are to be successful that they do the same. Taking the infinite array of dynamic factors that are at play in stressful and high stakes decisions have an underlying order that the decision maker needs to find - and the tools that can be used to find that order come from a variety of experiences, knowledge, and perspectives that a person obtains over time.