Michael Gladwell's "blink" bore me company on Dadar Express from Chennai to Mumbai. For anyone who doesn't know the agony of a 24 hour journey by train, the Chennai-Mumbai leg would be a good starter. After the initial curiosity of gazing at bucolic landscapes and gulping one absolutely horrendous railway Idli-Vada-Chutney (reminded me of 'Anniyan' and 'Kumbee Bagam'), I settled down to read this book.
There have been times when I've taken ridiculous likes/dislikes to people and things. An instinctive feeling of warmth and trust creeps in when I meet some. There are moments when a little voice murmurs, 'No. This thing is BAD for you.' When people belligerently ask, 'So, why in the world don't you like her? You just saw her!', I've never been able to explain WHY. This book explains how we 'thin-slice' all the time and form opinions. The 'Adaptive Unconscious', as Gladwell calls it, guides you surely and firmly in the right direction before your conscious mind even realizes anything. Perhaps this is the 'gut instinct' that people rely on so much.
One thing I found interesting is the fact that people who instinctively make a decision and people who are given time to make a decision eventually make the SAME decision. Perhaps, taking "time" to make a decision is irrelevant? Do we agonizingly confuse issues by poring over too much fringe data? Maybe. Personally, I agree with the author as far as decision making goes. There is only certain core data we need to make a decision and usually, it is available at hand. The other fringe information is for confirmation and safety. And this information, at times, does serve to confuse the conscious mind instead of clarifying it. So we begin to second-guess. Doubt creeps in and the conviction needed to execute actions goes missing.
I believe in instinct. It has saved my bacon a lot of times...:) People sometimes criticize the so-called "feminine instinct". I don't think there's any sort of gender in instinct. I think women are more prone to recognize their emotions and feelings. Perhaps, in the process they end up being more sensitive to that little inner voice.
Definitely worth a read for the examples and real-world incidents that the author details. The good news is that we are born with this instinct and we can hone it. Don't think, Gladwell says, Blink.