Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Buy from

Rate this Book

Sonderbooks 100
    Previous Book
    Next Book

        Previous Book
        Next Book

Young Adult Fiction
Children's Nonfiction
Children's Fiction
Picture Books

2004 Stand-outs
2003 Stand-outs
2002 Stand-outs
2001 Stand-outs

Five-Star Books
Four-Star Books
Old Favorites
Back Issues
List of Reviews by Title
List of Reviews by Author

Why Read?
Children and Books
Links For Book Lovers
Book Discussion Forum

About Me
Contact Me
Make a Donation

I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**     = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations



The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

by Malcolm Gladwell

Reviewed September 13, 2005.
Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2005.  277 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (MCN 153.4 GLA).

This book is a fascinating look at the snap judgments we make day after day without thinking about it.  Experts can make extremely accurate predictions with only a few seconds’ study.  How do they do it?  Malcolm Gladwell looks at “thin slicing”—finding out what is the smallest amount of information a person can have and still make a correct judgment.

This “intuitive” sense actually comes from data, but an extremely small amount of data, so small that we don’t consciously think about it.

Blink covers a huge variety of areas where these snap judgments are made.  Experts can glance at an ancient statue and instantly know whether it is genuine.  Certain marriage counselors can look at a couple interacting for only a few minutes and predict quite accurately whether the marriage will last.  A man who studied faces can tell you instantly whether a person is lying.

This ability to make snap judgments also gives us prejudices we didn’t even know we had.  When orchestras began conducting auditions behind screens, they suddenly learned that women and minorities could play much better than they had previously supposed, no matter how unbiased they tried to be.

Many people have to make snap judgments on the job.  Car salesmen need to know if a prospect is likely to buy.  Policemen need to know if a situation is a threat or not.  This book looks at numerous facets of the judgments we make every day and explores the amazing power of our brains to process tiny bits of information.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

-top of page-