Inhis book, Malcolm Gladwell, a writer for TheNew Yorker introduces the concept of “ThinSlicing”. It is the ability to find patterns in events based on narrow windowsof experience. It is also the ability to identify and process without havingany conscious knowledge of doing so and it is responsible for most of ourbehaviors. Gladwellwho is not a scientist or a researcher but made a career in journalism and advertising,explains how “Thin Slicing” can be a fantastic tool when you face situationswhere analytical and structured thinking can’t be used because of stress,danger or urgency to act.Forexample, we make snap judgment whenever we meet someone new. This is very truewhen managers interview for a position that needs to be filled. They know whattype of persons they are looking for. Just by reviewing resumes and looking athow a candidates decides to present or organize himself may decide whether acandidate deserves or not to be interviewed.
In my experience, I know thatmaking a good first impression is very important. For example, when Iinterviewed for Kellogg’s, I felt very nervous, the idea of working for such abig company would make a real impact on my resume. I knew that I had to impressthe three managers that were interviewing with the way that I present andintroduce myself.
But as mentioned in the book, I also knew that their firstimpression might be impacted by bias that could play in my favor, or not. Forinstance, will they accept a foreign student? Ibelieve, there are many factors behind people abilities to make snap judgmentand decisions. Managers will rely on their past experience, personal opinions,preferences and “gut feelings” to make those snap decision. Let’s take theexample of informed and intuitive traders. Informed traders will mostly use theknowledge and information that they have gathered before making a trade.
Theyknow that they have an advantage over others by having more information thanother traders and will use that information to determine what that trade isreally worth. They have private information about a security’s true value ortrue price. Whereas intuitive traders, will mostly use his/hers “gut feelings”,they may look at graphs and studies as informed traders but they will rely ontheir own past experience or intuitions to make decisions. Intuitive tradersfocus on patterns in price fluctuation that they observed before in order tomake their decisions. Inmy opinion and from what I have seen in the outside, those who are able to”thin slice” successfully have developed a skill such as decision analysis orpattern solving. The more they do it, the less afraid they are to take risk. Butthe author also stresses that Expert’s thin-slicing capability is greater,better and more accurate than the one of an average person.
Making that firstimpression more of judgement than an impression. Anothersubject that Gladwell writes in its book is “tragic information”. In the book,Gladwell tell about a young innocent African-American named Amadou Diallo, whowas shot 41 times by police officer. Which shows that snap and intuitivejudgment can have adverse effect. I believe that some people judge other peopletoo fast and ever since I was little, my parents always told me to “never judgea book by its cover”. We should not prejudge the value of someone or somethingby its appearance. The more information you have the better you can create anopinion.
What I like in this book is what alsomakes its weaknesses: it is based on numerous and easy to read examples but itdoes not demonstrate with enough scientific evidences what it describes. Ibelieve that for every example used in that book there is numerous examplesthan demonstrate the opposite. Also the author does not give us any advice ortechniques to improve rapid decision-making, make the right choices, this is abit disappointing.
According to me the take away from this book are:· Toomuch information can be a detriment to the quality of information, · Aperson with experience and good training in a specific field ends up excellingin the art of making instant decisions and gets results close to 100,· Bias affects our judgments and understandingthese bias will help mitigating the risks of making wrong decisions