30 September 2014
Chapter Five Summary of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking In chapter five of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, in which Malcolm Gladwell has several main points of focus, which correlate previous chapters and bring new ideas into sight. In the previous chapters, he talks about “thin-slicing” (Gladwell Ch. 1, Section 2, Paragraph 7), which is finding patterns in narrow windows of experience and also how snap judgment can help you in situations in which quick reactions are used. In chapter five he focuses on the other side of “thin-slicing” (Gladwell Ch. 1, Section 2, Paragraph 7), showing that you cannot always trust it, how emotional involvement can often lead us astray subconsciously, and how only when people are experts at something do they break open the locked door of the subconscious realm, gaining a much better understanding of what is at hand (Gladwell Ch. 5).
Kenna, a rock musician from Virginia Beach had an incredibly tough time breaking into the mainstream music scene. He had everything going for him, the looks, the sound, and the people to back him. His first big break was when he opened for a famous rock band, No Doubt. At this show he didn’t reveal his name until the end when people were screaming and hollering, trying to unmask this unknown rock star known as Kenna (Gladwell Ch. 5, Section 1 Paragraph 2).
His songs luckily landed into the grasp of the co-president of Atlantic Records, Craig Kallman and something amazing happened. Kallman hears hundreds of songs a day, “thin-slicing” (Gladwell Ch. 1, Section 2, Paragraph 7), or using his expertise and snap judgment to quickly hear a snippet from songs and deciding whether to give them a shot or not, which more often than not, it was the latter (Gladwell Ch. 5, Section 1 Paragraph 4).
After catching the ear of several other big names in the music industry such as Paul McGuiness, the manager of the band U2 and Danny Wimmer, who in the past had worked with the lead singer of the band Limpbizkit, Kenna had finally gained some momentum. Not only did he have an army of influential industry folk, but he also got a lucky break when he took his music video to MTV, and without any coaxing he got over 475 plays over a short span of a few months. Most record companies have to pay thousands of dollars to get any plays, but people kept requesting it (Gladwell Ch. 5, Section 1 Paragraph 5). How could Kenna, who seemingly had everything going for him fail?
In the blink of an eye, people with the complete and utter expertise like Kallman love this man known as Kenna, and believe he is one of the best he has seen. Unfortunately for Kenna, the human brain often fears things that are new, and often regard them as weird and unlikable. Gladwell explains that there are different companies that post various songs headed to the mainstream onto the internet, and then get all the information gathered through different rating systems and then rate that song on a scale from 4.0 to 0. Due to his different “weird” sound he scored a 1.3 by the rock listeners and a .8 by the R&B listeners (Ch. 5, Section 1 Paragraph 9).
The “Chair of Death” (Gladwell, Ch. 5, Section 5 Paragraph 1) is another prime example showing that people are not able to understand why they feel a certain way, and fear it. Herman Miller, a furniture brand had created a very innovative new chair that was designed for people who constantly use office chairs, like business executives and other office workers. It wasn’t leather or big and black like most executive chairs, but small, wrapped with mesh over an exoskeleton, and with a new age look. It had a system that moved the top and bottom independently to allow for a more ergonomic feel. It was incredibly comfortable, cool, and different. They took these chairs to different offices and had the people rate the chair. To much disappointment of Herman Miller, the testers...
Cited: Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking. New York: Little, Brown, 2005. Kindle.
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