Sunday, October 30, 2005

 

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

I finished reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell yesterday. Here are some of my thoughts and a few excerpts. I highly recommend this book due to the timely subject matter, the intensely interdisciplinary nature of the book, and the highly interesting and illustrative stories that enliven the otherwise dry results of many studies on decision-making. For the excerpts, I scanned an image file instead of transcribing.

First, here's a short article on where the ideas for the book come from.

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Even larger version of the above article (in case you can't read the print) available here.





On to some excerpts! These include and expand the excerpt I brought to (Thursday) Night's Engineering Resources Discussion, AKA NERD.


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I found the narration of the events of the Millenium Challenge to be almost magnetically interesting. Any one that's observed large-scale institutional behaviour is probably familiar with at least some of the things discussed in the previous excerpts. The book discusses many other case studies drawn from diverse industries and situations. I've pulled only one out of the mix. Next, we jump forward a number of pages to catch the tail-end of a discussion on chest-pain triage at Cook County Hospital in Chicago (the inspiration for the television show ER).


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The references to frugality in decision-making? Occam's Razor strikes again. When presented with two or more solutions to a problem, the simplest is always best. Extra information can often degrade the value of the solution, and Blink attempts to not only qualify this assertion, but quantify it as well.


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What a very interesting final sentence. I found it to be more than a bit chilling!

If you're looking for a readable, fun, valuable, current-concept book that will make you look good at both cocktail parties and on the job, this is your book. It didn't take long to read, there is a very good notes section as well as an index.


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