How Effectively Has Gladwell Argued His Point?

Free «How Effectively Has Gladwell Argued His Point?» Essay Sample

Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell is a book on such a complicated topic as psychology and human cognition, although the author provides simple explanations that are easy to understand, and such an approach allows him to appeal to a diverse audience. Gladwell wrote his work in an interesting manner of presenting the reader with the information, which is often complicated, through real-life anecdotes and detailed explanation to provide evidence and reasoning for his arguments. Such manner does not only demonstrate the author’s intention to appeal to a broad and diverse audience, but also Gladwell’s understanding of human psychology and the ways to persuade people with different mindsets and knowledge. “Blink” informs the reader that people often perceive the world in snaps and split seconds and that thin-slicing is an effective manner of interpreting external information. In his book, Gladwell uses some effective ways to convey the message that subconscious thinking may be more effective than the conscious one, although his reasoning contains some examples of bias and propaganda.

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Credibility of the Author

The credibility of the author is hard to establish without referring to biography or some other information about accomplishment, specialization, and other studies. In Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, such information about Malcolm Gladwell is also missing because the author does not describe his qualifications clearly. However, the reader can assess the credibility of the author indirectly, by making conclusions from the text and the vocabulary. The “Internal Computer” chapter is especially informative in this regard because this is where Gladwell explains the purpose of writing Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking and why it may be informative for the reader. The author indicates that adaptive unconscious is a part of the brain that leads to conclusions, and he says that this direction is one of the most important in today’s psychology (11). Further, Gladwell regularly refers to adaptive subconscious and compares it and the human brain to a computer (11). Being a psychologist, writing about adaptive unconscious as a direction in psychology, and referencing the brain and science area throughout the book, makes it possible to suggest that Malcolm Gladwell covers various topics in which he is proficient. Moreover, the credibility lies on the grounds of the author’s intention to discuss the fallacies of the unconscious, which demonstrates that he scrutinizes his own assumption from two opposing standpoints, which is a trait of a scientific approach.

The Author’s Message in the Entire Novel

The “Blink” novel consists of numerous real-life anecdotes, which may appear to have no connection with each other and the book theme in general, which is not true. Malcolm Gladwell delivers a particular message comprising three major ideas throughout the entire novel.

The first idea delivered by the author relates to the name of the book. Gladwell attempts to persuade the reader that instant decisions and conclusions are natural for every person, and they are no less effective and good than the ones made deliberately (14). The second idea traceable throughout the whole book is the discussion of the mechanism that stands behind snap decisions and thin-slicing, including instincts. Gladwell states that the first two seconds of looking at something are sufficient to make effective conclusions (8), and he proves his argument from the psychological standpoint throughout the entire book. Moreover, the author discusses when and why it is worth to trust instincts and when they might fail (15). Finally, Gladwell intends to make the reader aware that snap decisions, thin-slicing, and first impressions are not only effective, but they can also be under control as well as be educative (15). Therefore, the author’s message in the entire novel is to both inform and educate about the three aspects of his arguments about snap judgment.


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Methods Used to Convey the Message

Malcolm Gladwell follows several ways to deliver the message in Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking. The methods he uses include the direct explanation and interpretation of the information, the demonstration of how the concepts he describes apply to real life, and the references to and discussion of various experiments conducted by other scholars.

Gladwell’s manner of conveying the message follows the same trend over the chapters of the book. It starts with a story designed in such a way that the reader can imagine the situation and different details within it. Therefore, the real-life anecdotes stimulate imagination and convey graphic information. Further, Gladwell provides the analysis and explanation of the situation. Chapter one starts with the story of a couple in relationships (18-20), whereas the following parts of the chapter are the interpretation. A specific feature of Gladwell’s writing style is the combination of the information that is easy and hard to perceive. First, the author makes a thesis, for example, about couples that need to undergo long-lasting observations to predict the future of their relationships (21). Then, Gladwell refers to scholarly studies, such as that of Gottman, who studied thousands of couple (21-23). Afterward, the author explains the study and its findings. In the case of relationships, he proves that the observer does not need much time to make conclusions because a single glance is enough, as there is a whole list of emotions that people demonstrate subconsciously to show their attitude (46-47). Therefore, Gladwell conveys the message through graphic and textual interpretation of the findings of his own and other scholars.

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Effectiveness of Techniques Used to Provide Different Types of Information

The techniques that Gladwell uses to provide different types of information are effective because he can both explain the information in different ways and reach the diverse audience. The real-life examples and the discussion of these stories reach different types of audience. In chapter two, the author referred to several experiments aimed to research how people reacted on the locked door. On the one hand, Gladwell provides quantitative data, which is more appealing to the readers that have some academic background and can make conclusions from the scientific approach to the argument explanation. However, the author refers to the less knowledgeable audience as well, which also demonstrates that he wants to inform and educate as many people as possible. Gladwell explains that much of the time people act on an autopilot with the unconscious doing the most of the work for a person and accepting external information (58). Similarly, the same pattern of providing the information is traceable in other chapters.

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The Bias in Author’s Argument

While Gladwell attempts to prove that his argument is entirely correct, there are also some biases in the information he conveys in Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking. The major issue is the author’s belief that snap judgments are correct and equally or even more effective than those that are made deliberately or that it is possible to learn how to read a person. It is hard to imagine that the endless combination of emotions and expressions of the human body is identical for everyone. On the one hand, the author acknowledges that snap judgment sometimes fails and mind-reading cannot be effective in all of the situations (196). However, such an argument is only in one place of the book, while the rest of the text is devoted to persuading the reader that mind-reading and snap judgment are effective techniques. Therefore, the bias reflects Gladwell’s assumption that the psychological statement about thin-slicing applies to every person, and everyone may utilize this approach equally effectively.

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Propaganda in the Author’s Argument

Upon a more thorough review of “Blink,” it becomes apparent that it is not disposed of propaganda. Propaganda refers to a process of sharing the information that intentionally is biased or misleading. In the case of Gladwell, his reasoning and argumentation possess some traits of this process because of the general knowledge about the human nature and psychology. Specifically, he attempts to convince the readers of all kinds that his point of view is correct, and that the decisions made unconsciously and in split seconds are effective (14). The author explains that this is relevant to people in different situations, which is evident from a large number of real-life anecdotes and scholarly studies. However, at the same time, it is hard to agree with Gladwell that his assumption is relevant to all people because of the fact that every person is different and unique to some extent. Therefore, it is possible to assume that the author applies propaganda to deliver his opinion, which is not entirely correct or, at least, not applicable to every person.


Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell attempts to convince the reader that snap judgment and thin-slicing are as effective as the decisions made deliberately. Although there are no direct proofs of the author’s credibility, the reader can make proper assumptions on the basis of a book style. Gladwell uses such means of information delivery as real-life anecdotes and their interpretation to approach the different audiences, and these methods are effective. At the same time, the position of the author contains some bias and propaganda since Gladwell attempts to persuade the reader that snap judgment are effective, although considering general knowledge, it is possible to assume that every person is not identical and, therefore, the author’s standpoint is not entirely correct. Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking is highly informative and the author effectively explains the complicated psychological concept of the adaptive unconscious.

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