The following sample essay on The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell tells about the concept of quick judgments.
In the book Blink, author Malcolm Gladwell argues that split-second decisions can result in a more accurate conclusion than a carefully thought out decision. Since the 1980s, Gottman has brought more than three thousand married couples into that small room in his love lab. Each Couple has been videotaped, and the results have been analyzed. If he analyzes an hour of a husband and wife talking, he can predict with 95 percent accuracy whether that couple will still be married fifteen years later (Gladwell 21).
Gladwell uses this example in the very first chapter to explain thin-slicing, the concept of quick judgments. This passage helps to support the author’s explanation of thin-slicing by using a real life example that has been well tested. This experiment also uses a coding system for figuring out the couples emotions and required electrodes and sensors to track their heartbeats, so it is also backed up by science.
With sound evidence like this, Gladwell’s argument cannot be proven inaccurate, thus developing his point even further.
Golomb has sold, on average, about twenty cars a month, which is more than double what the average car salesman sells. In the world of car salesmen, Golomb is virtuoso. Being a successful salesman like Golomb is a task that places extraordinary demands on the ability to thin-slice.Gladwell placed this passage is towards the beginning of the book. It is used at this point to help develop the idea of thin-slicing and to better explain it to the reader.
This passage helps to develop Gladwell’s argument because it shows how the skill of thin-slicing has to be developed and comes in to make someone more successful in their job. The passage helps the author show people that thin-slicing plays a very important role in our daily lives.
In the 1990s, Cook County Hospital was facing a dilemma and needed a more efficient treatment protocol for heart attack cases. Their original protocol was a very long and vague process. Scientist Lee Goldman was able to come up with a very efficient three-step protocol that had 70 percent more accurate results than the original protocol, changing the efficiency at the hospital’s ER tremendously.
Gladwell uses this example to strengthen his argument that when you have too much information about something, your better judgment can be hindered. In the hospital, the doctors would consider information such as the age or the gender of a patient, thinking that this would have some sort of affect on the patients health. This made it hard for the doctors to distinguish between chest pain and heart attacks because for example, they were more likely to think a patient was having a heart attack if they were older and suffered from other medical problems rather than a younger adult with a clean medical history. Goldman’s protocol made it so the doctors could figure out what was wrong with the patient with the least amount of information possible. Thus showing the reader that you don’t always need a ton of information to get an accurate reading on someone or something.
In improv, you have to practice spontaneity to become good at making funny and entertaining spontaneous actions when you perform. To do this, actors must follow one crucial rule, that being to always agree with what their partner suggests. Gladwell’s example of improv is used to show how thin-slicing does not just come naturally, but it is a skill that you can develop by practicing and perfecting. The example of improv is used because when you are acting and have to create scenes within seconds, you have to thin-slice by quickly thinking about what hilarious thing you will do next. Although some people see this spontaneity as randomness, it actually is not. It requires the actors to always follow one single rule, and if they can adhere to it with a quickness, they will create comedy.
Every waking minute that we are in the presence of someone, we come up with a constant stream of predictions and inferences about what that person is thinking and feeling. When we meet someone new, we often pick up on subtle signs, so that afterward, even though he or she may have talked in a normal and friendly manner, we may say, I don’t think he liked me.
The author uses this example in the middle of the book to help describe what was happening in the previous example and why it happened. It shows us how we think and evaluate the feelings of people that we just meet. This passage is helpful to the author’s argument because it gives an example of something that happens everyday in work or at school that everyone can relate to and understand. It also helps to explain why we think things like this and why they are accurate.
There was an encounter between a police officer and a teenager where both parties were face to face with a gun in their hands. The well-trained officer has to make the decision of whether the kid is dangerous or not. He is able to track the movement of the teen’s gun while looking at his facial expressions to try to tell whether he was dangerous or not. The cop saw fear in the kid’s face so he decided to hold off on shooting and in the end, the kid dropped the gun.
Gladwell uses this example late in his book and it follows after another anecdote involving a shooting that didn’t end well. In this example the officer was able to use his thin-slicing abilities and save a life. Though it also shows that not everyone has the capability to do something like this because it takes time and effort to perfect this skill. In this case, the cop has had a lot of training and is an expert in these situations.
During a blind audition for the Philharmonic, Abbie Conant auditioned to play a masculine instrument, the trombone. The judges loved her and sent everyone else home immediately. She was chosen but only a year later was demoted to second trombone because of her gender.
Author Gladwell uses this example in the conclusion of his book to wrap up his argument because it is easy to understand and does not involve any scientific support. This passage helps to achieve his argument because it first shows how thin-slicing is used in everyday situations that are very important, such as this one. It also shows another concept Gladwell explains in the book, showing that when someone has too much information about someone, such as their gender, stereotypes can interfere with their better judgment. In this case, it was the stereotype that women aren’t strong enough to play the trombone.
The first concept that is introduced in the book is thin-slicing. Thin-slicing is our ability to make fast decisions with very little information. These decisions can actually be more accurate or better than well thought out ones. I chose this concept because it is the basis for every experiment and example Gladwell uses. The next idea introduced is when someone has too much information about someone or something, their judgment can lose accuracy. This is interesting to me because you would think that more information can give you the best idea of something, but Gladwell explains that how with more data, there are more reasons for our dislikes and stereotypes to interfere with our judgments.