Malcolm Gladwell is a rarity: a public intellectual who can convey big and challenging ideas in accessible fashion, drawing insight from a wide range of disciplines. The author of the surprise bestseller The Tipping Point, here Gladwell turns his nimble intelligence to what is known in psychology as… “rapid cognition”—the snap judgments we make all the time in a matter of seconds.

Though mostly we are taught to value careful consideration instead (“stop and think,” “look before you leap”), Gladwell convincingly documents the power of rapid cognition. ER doctors at a Chicago hospital, for example, were instructed to use less rather than more information when diagnosing patients with chest pain—with startling results.

Gladwell carefully distinguishes rapid cognition from the vague notion of intuition and touches on an impressive array of topics, from World War II code-breaking to ancient Greek sculpture and speed-dating. He also acknowledges the instances in which snap judgments are off-base—what he calls “the dark side of blink.”  Blink will take you on an engaging  ride into the workings of your mind.

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