Thursday, February 03, 2005


A couple of weeks ago, I read an interesting book called "blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. It ranges far and wide, starting with a description of how a fraudulent piece of artwork was exposed, moving on to researchers who analyze marriages and matchmaking, the marketing of flops (New Coke) and hard-to-sell products (the new Hermann Miller chair), why some doctors are more likely to get sued for malpractice, how people react under traumatic or high-stress conditions, and prejudice against women in the classical music world.

While the book doesn't explicitly teach how to change the way you make decisions, it does present a compelling case for the fact that people can develop amazing aptitudes in areas that might normally be called intuition.

The book reminds me of some of the things that I learned about in my cognitive psychology classes in college... I find it fascinating that people have so many different areas for talent-- a sense of direction, the ability to learn new languages, photographic memory, "perfect pitch" and other musical skills, recognizing faces or voices, being able to visualize how things fit together, the ability to "read" other people through their body language and facial expressions, special gifts for physical/motor coordination, being able to do calculations in your head, etc, etc, etc. Not only are there many, many of types of abilities, there is also enormous potential for developing and improving upon those abilities, given the right conditions and motivation.

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