Blink of an eye


Malcolm Gladwell's book "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" from 2005 has been a great inspiration to us here at 15m. In the book, Mr Gladwell writes about those moments when we "know" something without knowing why and tries to show how a snap judgement can be far more effective than a careful decision.


Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell's thesis from the book can be summarized as follows:

  • We make snap decisions all the time, based on a tiny amount of information (such as a first impression, or an instinctive feeling), something Gladwell calls "thin slicing";
  • We mistrust these decisions, but they're often demonstrably better than ones resulting from lengthy deliberation (i.e. "thick slicing"); and
  • Our instinctive judgments can mislead us, so it's important to understand when and why that happens and to train ourselves to make more effective use of them.

Malcolm Gladwell's book provides a number of great examples of "thin slicing" from science, advertising, sales, medicine and popular music to reinforce his ideas. One implication of the book is that how we blink is a function of our experiences, training, and knowledge.

15m thinks that the book provides an important and compelling contrast to the world of requirements and analysis that surrounds us and informs our daily decisions and design processes.

More about Malcolm Gladwell:

Frontpage: Racing driver Sam Posey testing Ferrari prototype race car. © Time Inc.