Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blink (by Malcolm Gladwell)

I got this book for free years ago and it has been sitting on my shelf, promising that it would be a quick, easily digested read, but never really grabbing me. In hindsight I should have just crossed it off my list and moved on.

I don't think Gladwell proved his thesis very well, particularly when he is trying to prove two opposite things--in some situations snap judgments are great, in others they are terrible. Okay then. There are some interesting insights here, but because he keeps having to account for so many counterexamples, it ultimately reads as muddled.

Also, the apologia for white police officers shooting a black suspect in cold blood hits way too close to home in the wake of Ferguson, and that whole chapter is cringeworthy as a result. Some of his other examples fall completely flat (the military exercise; some singer named Kenna). I did love the discussion of how you can prove racial bias with word association, and that one of the answers is to expose ourselves and our kids to positive representations of people of color.  I've been really big on looking for positive representations lately, so this was cool.

But god, I got sick of Gladwell restating his points at the end of every chapter, and bringing up the kurous one million times. I was sick of it all by the end. Next!

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