Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.
Gladwell relates both anecdotal information and research experiments concerning the way our brains make snap judgments. I really enjoyed reading about some of the things that are involved in our intuitive decisions...those decisions that we can't really explain.
It was also interesting to have a great many examples of ways that our decisions are influenced. Many of these influences are not obvious to us on the surface, but our minds are busy processing the information-- and not always correctly.
One interesting area was "mind reading," which is really the ability to read the facial expressions of others. Some people do this exceptionally well, other people have much less skill. One of the characteristics of autism is the inability to read expressions, and there is an experiment with an autistic man that shows how confusing and frustrating the lack of the ability would be.
While the ability to make snap decisions is frequently important--and too much information is often detrimental-- there are plenty of situations that require more time. Gladwell discusses this side of the coin as well and warns that we can be "primed" to make a decision by any number of factors of which we are not consciously aware. In other words, our decisions can be manipulated by any number of factors.
The book was entertaining and made me think a little more about the process of making decisions. It isn't very long and doesn't go into a lot of depth about how to improve your decision making process. Practice and experience seem to be key.
I want to read Gladwell's Outliers next.
Nonfiction. Popular psychology. 2005. 254 pages