We have discussed Gladwell’s purpose, audience, and credibility as an author. We have
analyzed his methods and picked apart examples, anecdotes, and research that worked well and resonated with us and some sections and aspects of the book that did not. We have identified Blink as a great conversation starter, and we certainly have started a lively conversation here. These are all important steps, but what now? Where do we go from here? How can we move this open conversation toward action or change in our own individual lives, the lives of those in our community, or for the most ambitious, the world? At academic conferences, we often call this next step beyond conversation as the “Nuts and Bolts”, what we can actually DO with new knowledge and understanding. The last section of Blink’s Afterword is appropriately called “ A Call to Action” beginning on page 273. In this section, he discusses how his original intention for the book turned out to be different than his understanding after publication and the passage of time. If you have not read this portion, I urge you do so. We don’t always get such insight and direction from an author.
As with many events, my time with you when presenting this book during Summer Orientation in June seems both shorter and longer ago than two months. Regardless, there is no question we are rapidly approaching Fall Orientation in less than a week and the beginning of your semester. So again I feel compelled to ask, where do we, not just as part of Gladwell’s overall audience, but as a defined learning community, go from here? For example, there are some logistics. The book discussion group is coming up on September 6th, which is also the date the first copy of your essay is due. You will also be asked to hand in a copy to your first year writing instructor, and the book will be incorporated in this class in some form. What are your expectations at this point? How have those expectations changed or not changed? What concerns, questions, and/or insights do you have?