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Agreed. He does make you think, but do you not feel that he sometimes overstates the obvious; albeit with some depth.

Surely most acdemics (Ev.Psy, Neuro Sc etc) within the 'brain' areas of research & its applications would not dare publish such obvious statements. Fear of ridicule equals loss of funding.

As you rightly point out, most marketing talk and its offsporn (Brand Sense, Brand Gym, etc.etc)are, well Bollocks. Security Tools for stresseed exec's with a budget.

They borrow theory from the cream of a very large saucepen of boiling milk, Then - like Gladwell - chuck in a case study or three.

Bobs your Uncle. £16.99. Security for the stressed exec's and the general populi!

That makes me think.

The Sunday Times - Books February 06, 2005

The blink, therefore, is the moment at which we understand a great deal without necessarily being able to explain why. The first problem with this is that it really isn’t as counterintuitive as it might seem, because the blink itself is the result of a lengthy learning process. An art historian who knows a statue is a fake in seconds does so on the basis of years of scholarship. Equally, the Cook County acceleration of heart diagnosis was done on the basis of long and complex research. What we are talking about here is not knowing less, it is knowing the right things.

At this point the big Blink insight begins to become unremarkable and obvious.

There's a wonderful discussion on Blink between Gladwell and James Surowiecki (the wisdom of crowds) over at slate http://slate.msn.com/id/2111894/entry/2112064/

James opens with a question that echos Ruth's second post. Maybe thin-slicing is more the result of our ability to very effectively simplify the vast amounts of knoweldge stored between our ears. Creating an 'esspresso' out of the kilos of knoweldge kernels or beans we acquire over the years.

More a distillation of our expertise than a snap based mental reflex.

"Some people are what you might call experts in thin-slicing, and the book is full of portraits of these people, including John Gottman, who can watch a couple talking for 15 minutes and predict with 90 percent accuracy the future of their marriage, and Paul Ekman, who seems able to read people's minds merely by looking at their facial expressions. But the first claim of Blink is that it isn't just experts who thin-slice. Everyone does, all the time. More important, we do so with surprising success, so that "decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made consciously and deliberately."

Like I said. Some people love Gladwell for the wrong reasons. Definantly Comfort food for stressed out exec's.Time(mind)poor cash rich.

Interesting - a lot of that is very similar to ideas that come up, albeit on a different topic, in Temple Grandin's Animals In Translation which I got for Christmas: particularly the idea of the more complex algorithm being misleading.

Grandin, in her book, talks about having come up with a 10-point checklist for slaughterhouse inspection which replaced an earlier 100-point checklist. Her ten points encapsulated the hundred by, for instance, replacing ten questions about the state of the floors with "are there any injuries to the animals' legs?"; knowing from experience that if there are, they were probably caused by problems with the flooring, but if there weren't, the floors must be ok.

Grandin also blames a lot of confusion on the priority often given to words and written language over visual communication. I suppose when dealing with something very concrete, writing often is just pushing it up another level of abstraction (although as an autistic, Grandin is probably a bit biased towards images vs. words).


I agree with most things you say, but if i was to walk into an agency, aged 24, and tell them i only want to write something down at the last minute etc etc, i don't think i'd last very long there.

I've heard you answer this question before at an apg talk you gave and you just said to 'go ahead and do it anyway' - but the reality is alot different to that.

any suggestions, thoughts would be appreciated?


My experience in larger organisations is that the writing down and over planning is there more to cover people's arses for when great insights don't happen, when objectives aren't met, when clients aren't delighted. It's more about retrospective justification than planning. And yes, it does hinder creative insight!

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