Thursday, July 23, 2015

Book Review: Blink: Malcolm Gladwell

This book was amazing. I highly encourage every person on the planet to read it. Blink was recommended to me in response to the question, "how much of my ability to be a successful therapist is due to my training and how much is because of my gift for intuition?". That questions was FULLY answered after I read this. I was also surprised at how relevant this book was to current events. Much of this book provided insight to how we can be more effective in changing racial stereotypes and provide fair and successful police and legal services to people of color and women. Timely, right? I will be honest in saying that I hate reading books that are informative. I'd much rather read a juicy and fantastical story. Blink, however, was fun, easy and quick to read. Here are some of the main take away points for me personally.

1)Truly successful decision making relies on a balance between delibereate and instinctive thinking.

2)In good decision making, frugality matters. Reduce a problem to it’s simplest elements.
*This has been especially useful for me lately as I contemplated a change in employment which then led me to changing Bowie's daycare provider. It's easy to come up with a million pros and cons for any situation, after which I feel overwhelmed by the choice. This book helped me begin boiling down any choice to the bare minimum information I need to get the outcome I want. This was a skill that I was desperately in need of developing but wasn't even aware of until I read Blink.
3) Learning to match a feeling about an object with what we formally understand about its style, background and value. Whenever we have something that we are good at- something we care about-that experience and passion fundamentally change the nature of our first impression.
* Basically when we care about something we put more time and effort into developing our skill and understanding in that area. When this is the case we can fundamentally change our instincts in said area. How amazing, then, to know that our instincts can be trusted and are correct. For me this allows me to make an immediate judgment call and trust that later I will be able to take the time to break down that call and provide the reasoning behind it rather. This has helped me increase my trust in myself. That is a gift!

4)The optimal state of arousal (115-145 BPM). After 145 is when bad things happen.
*It's okay to be nervous, to second guess, to be excited. It increases performance. It is not okay to go to a fearful place and then try to make decisions. I am learning to note when I am emotionally aroused and keep myself from going to my fight or flight (in my case fight) place. I am learning that when I do go to "fight" I need to use skills to bring me back to optimal arousal before I make any decisions.

5) We are careless with our powers of rapid cognition. We don't know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don’t always appreciate their fragility. Taking our powers of rapid cognition seriously means we have to acknowledge the subtle influences that can alter or undermine or bias the products of our unconscious.

6)An enormous frustration with knowing too much, of being inundated with information. We have come to confuse information with understanding.
*This is the key take away point for me and something which I've found myself meditating on over and over again in a wide variety of circumstances.

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