Again this week, I would like to continue to build connections and keep conversations going, and in a way my contribution today is related to both Professor Smith’s and Professor Cox’s last posts. Gladwell and his book are not without critics as previously mentioned. What he asserts about thin-slicing, his sources, and the way he pulls it all together can be examined with a critical eye, and while some agree, at least for the most part, with what he has to tell us, others do not. Obviously, the book resonates with a large percentage of readers, or it would not have become so popular, but this popularity most likely has caused even closer examination.
There are multiple links to reviews I could include here, but in the interest of keeping my posts brief and to encourage even more response from you, I would like to include just the following for now:
A friend told me about a book that is intended to be a direct response to Blink entitled Think!: Why Crucial Decisions Can’t Be Made in the Blink of an Eye by Michael R. LeGault. Like Gladwell, LeGault is not a scientist or psychologist and has primarily a journalistic background, so he also relies on other people’s research and real life examples, such as the response to Hurricane Katrina, to support his conclusion that we need more critical thinking rather than less. Although I do plan to read this book, maybe in between grading your papers this fall, I admit I have not read it yet. However, from what I have read about it, it seems to not so much completely debunk the conclusions found in Blink, but promote the idea that we need to use both thin-slicing and traditional reasoning to make the best decisions possible. As someone who tends to overanalyze everything, with both positive and negative results, this got me thinking about whether there are some situations when you need to really spend time mulling things over, other situations when you need to rely on snap judgment, and yet another set of circumstances that warrant both. Even Gladwell writes in his Afterword: “I think that the task of figuring out how to combine the best of conscious deliberation and instinctive judgment is one of the great challenges of our time” (269). In other words, they both can be helpful, and they both can lead us astray, so if we can extract and combine”the best” of both, could this combination lead to the best decision making?
1.) Look up additional reviews, criticism, and responses to Blink. Post links (from credible sources) and respond to this criticism.
2.) Think about and then share some examples of situations when a decision you made worked out well or did not work out well, and then trace it back to whether it was something you decided based more on instinct or something you thought about at great length.