(TL;DR at the end.)
Premise: Blink dissects our snap judgements, dealing with subjects such as police shootings, speed dating, museums, divorce, war strategy, and why we like the fruit jams we like. It’s about the thousands of split second decisions we make every day, and what goes on in our subconscious minds when we make them. Most importantly, Blink is NOT BORING! One might expect a book that covers a multitude of subjects like this with psychology to be dry and stretched too thin, but that’s absolutely not the case. Gladwell is incredibly easy to read: he breaks concepts down so that us normal people can understand them, but it never feels like he’s talking down to you at all.
Blink is a non-fiction book. This does not detract from the quality of it at all. This is one of those books where the truth is just as interesting as fiction, especially in terms of the stories told.
Usually, at this point in a review, I’d be going into specifics, breaking it down into the characters, plot, etc. As this is a non-fiction book, I’ll be going into style and subject.
Obviously, I enjoyed the style of this book. It was professional without being stuffy or boring! This can be a rarity in scientific books/journalism, so when I find an author I enjoy so much in these fields, I make sure to take note of them. Personally, I find Gladwell to be funny, clever, and overall pretty wonderful at holding your attention. His dry wit and pacing are spot on, helping the weirdest characters (ex. mayonnaise tasters) and the most distinguished ones (ex. ER doctors and war analysts) come alive for you. I mean, they’re probably alive in the world somewhere, but he gives you a more intimate look than you’d get on the surface, with a lot of warmth. It’s not all clinical.
Subject-wise, Blink is pretty freaking cool. Yes, we all make thousands of snap decisions each day, but digging around, looking for what drives even that split second? Humans are amazing, y’all. These snap judgements, whether you call them intuition, ESP, or just good instinct, are broken down for us. A decision can mean saving a life or taking one in an instant. It’s captivating to see these inner workings of your brain, spread out on a piece of paper. But how accurate are these judgements? How much do they weigh, in the grand scheme of things? These are questions Gladwell attempts to answer. He balances the heavy subjects with the light ones, but makes sure that the transitions in between them are never choppy or unfitting. In Blink, Gladwell delivers both sides of each story, endeavouring to make sure that no one’s tale is left untold, an important feat, especially when it comes to sensitive subjects such as police brutality and shootings that are disproportionate to people of colour. He deals carefully and empathetically with each matter, and honestly? It gets heavy. The way he told a certain story made my heart race, and I found myself in tears at the end. He has a way of reminding the reader that no matter how much science we throw at things, at the end of the day, we’re only human.
In conclusion: I would 100%, 10/10 recommend Blink to read for basically anyone. The subject matter is so incredibly neat, and reading it forces you to examine vital thinking processes that you rarely think about in your day-to-day life. The writing is in a style that is extremely enjoyable, but still scientific and grounded in fact. I was thoroughly amazed and shocked by some of the revelations it brought me, and can definitely say that it shifted and opened up my worldview. Read Blink!!! Even if non-fiction books aren’t your usual cup of tea, it’s a great read, I promise.
TL;DR: Blink is one of the coolest books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It’s engaging, extremely interesting, and keeps you reading for more. You’ll learn new things about yourself and the others around you for sure– it might even change your life.
On a fun final note; Gladwell has a ton of other well-known, interesting books like these, so if you’ve finished Blink and are wondering what to do with your life now, or if Blink isn’t piquing your interest for whatever reason, go ahead to the link at the top of this review and check them out!