Gladwell sets his book up to ask why some people seem able to consistently make excellent decisions, why some people seem to have a knack for making instinctual choices, and why are some the best decisions often the most difficult to explain. Blink is directed specifically to what the most successful corporate managers do every day: making decisions.
Gladwell recognizes that unconscious decisions very often prove superior to those made after weighty consideration based on reasonable expectations. This decision-making process is not normally how executives arrive at a choice that affects employees, shareholders and customers. In fact, even the most enterprising executives tend to rely on factual studies and analysis before making any decision. Blink is concerned with those decisions made in the moment. The problem is that because the system that creates these gut decisions is such a mystery some people have instinctively distrustful of relying upon them. To lend such instinctive choices more integrity, Gladwell implies that the brain relies upon a method called "thin slicing" which is essentially the capacity the human unconscious to discover design in circumstances and conduct establish on very fine serving of familiarity. Thin slicing creates a process through any extraneous information in a given circumstance is eschewed; it is also a process that takes place without conscious understanding or motivation. There are no rational filters involved in thin slicing and it evolves as people move from one particular situation to another.
Gladwell impart two particularly interesting examples of how thin slicing works. The J. Paul Getty Museum was extended the prospect of purchasing a sixth-century BC marble statue called a kouros. The museum curators finally determined the authenticity of the statue following a year-long scientific analysis, only to suddenly imply that despite all the evidence there was simply something wrong about the "look" of the statue. This gut level instinct proved correct in the end; though no adequate explanation was ever offered as to how they knew something was wrong about the statue. One expert asserted that he actually got physically sick just looking at the statute; another reported experiencing the strange sensation of there being an invisible obstacle between himself and the statue. Although they all sensed intuitively that something was amiss, none could explain rationally what that something was. They knew the statue wasn't authentic, but they couldn't explain exactly how they knew it. Sure enough, the snap judgments of the experts were right, though they struggled to explain just how they knew. The second example of thin slicing revolves around the process of college student evaluations of their professors. The finding concluded that students gave the same evaluation based on a ten minute video of the professor as they would having sat through an entire term.
Blink also deals substantially with topics related to organizational behavior, illustrating his case by using what Gladwell refers to as the "Warren Harding error" which has an affinity with the better-known halo effect. The halo effect is in reference to one's necessity to remake impressions of people by overlooking attributes that are not