Top critical review
A terrible collection of cherry picked anecdotes and conflicting data
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2018
A terrible collection of cherry picked anecdotes and conflicting data, all carefully laid out to appeal to the instant gratification of the human ego.
Gladwell had made a chunk of change telling us we can "blink" and know the truest of truths... that our guts are inherently correct (well, except the many times he points out how incorrect they are, due to racism (except when he back pedals and says maybe the people in that example aren't racist, actually), sexism (except when he says it's possible sexism was not, in fact, a factor in such and such examples), and other biases (which the book both promises to teach us to control and says we have *no ability* to control), and that by "thin-slicing" (making use of the "adaptive unconscious" of our mind, which, incidentally, he says repeatedly can never be unlocked) we can be better people, fight wars "better", and solve the problems of the world.
It's a book for the casual reader, so the stories he uses to back up his arguments are often terribly irresponsible anecdotes. The studies he references are rarely detailed sufficiently so that the reader could know whether they'd had any controls, had been repeated and peer reviewed, etc. They're riddled with opinion and assumptions about results, and we're left to assume the lens from which he makes these statements is pure and holy.
The best take away from this self help quickie is that some people will, as a result of spending a dozen or so hours reading it and thinking about their minds and how they work, will be, going forward, more introspective, which is not a bad thing. The worst take away is that some (and I fear most) people will glean only the basest concept from his promises: that their guts are always right, leaving them less introspective and more irrationally bold and self-satisfied.