“ The Power of Thinking Without Thinking ”

by Malcolm Gladwell

Book Cover

We most often make decisions in the blink of an eye and unconsciously, and then post-rationalize them with conscious effort. It’s useful for day to day survival, and sometimes when having year-long expertise on things (but not always). For more strategic decisions, it’s better to pre-define the decision framework.

Reading notes

Sometimes less info is better than a lot to make a decision. E. G. Heart attacks decision flow, which only looks at a few criteria, works better than decision with lots of data. Because some are irrelevant

Some choices are made better with snap judgement:

  • Which jam to choose, because no cognitive load required rather than overanalyzing benign choices
  • Expertise, e. G. Determining authenticity of a greek statue; when snap judgement has been educated for years.

Some choices are made poorly with snap judgement

  • Police shooting black kids
  • First impressions

Snap judgements are taking over when:

  • Overly aroused (heart rate > 140, such as in chases, hearty discussions, etc.)
  • No time - need to act in point seconds.

Trick to avoid detrimental snaps:

  • Avoid situations in which snaps occurs (overly aroused, no time) - this is done by keeping distances, giving yourself time.
  • Learn to detect when acting on snap judgement
  • Expertise

About Reading Notes

These are my takes on this book. See other reading notes. Most of the time I stop taking notes on books I don't enjoy, and these end up not being in the list. This is why average ratings tend to be high.