Salon‘s reviewer finds Gladwell’s Blink more entertaining than important. I beg to differ; this is sort of like how hypnotism, while elucidating profound and basic principles of human cognition and volition, has often been thought of as a mere parlor game. The extent to which we can stand to learn alot about our implicit assumptions, about how we often make decisions on very different bases than we think we do, and how we can learn to accept and utilize such intuitions, cannot be underestimated. An important segment of the review, for example, is a convincing argument, supported by much social psychological research (perhaps my social psychologist friend Dennis Fox will have some amplifying comments if he reads this on his return from the Middle East), that our racial biases go deeper than we suspect, even if we are convinced we are not racist. (Of course, although it has social psychological implications, at base this is a cognitive-psychological exploration.)
As walker reminded me, there is a website where you can take Implicit Assumption Tests to root our your hidden biases and automatic preferences, but be careful. For those who, unlike mental health professionals, have not embraced the idea of the ubiquity of unconscious influences on our perceptions, appraisals and choices, it can be quite alarming to recognize how far away from the ideal of rationality and control over our thinking we really operate. That is the impact I hope Gladwell’s book may have, now that he is a hip sexy trendsetter author.