Just finished reading Blink by Malcom Gladwell. I’ll spare you a full on review since I think I’m probably the last person to read it. The bottom line for me was that I enjoyed the read–Gladwell is a great storyteller. But Blink just isn’t on par with The Tipping Point. TTP gave us a new vocabulary and a new way to look at our social networks. Blink doesn’t do much more that tell a really interesting story from a few different perspectives. I don’t have much to take away and apply back at the office. Basically, snap decisions are really pretty great. Except in situations when they aren’t. Great, thanks.
That said, early in the book Gladwell did give me one piece of wisdom that I’ll hang onto. He wrote about a study that was done where the voices of doctors were recorded and then altered in such a way as to leave only intonation, pitch and rhythm, but erases the actual content. So listeners couldn’t understand what was being said, but they could hear how it was said. The researcher asked people to rate 40 second snippets of this sound for such qualities as warmth, hostility, dominance and anxiousness. Based on these ratings the researcher was able to accurately predict which doctors had been sued and which hadn’t.
I found this absolutely eyeopening. Obviously, our actual words have value and meaning, but apparently so does how we say the words. I always intuitively sensed that truth, but this evidence is stunning and it suggests that the way we say things is way, way more important than I previously thought.