Let the Gladwell Deluge begin!

Case studies are being rewritten. The photocopiers are warming up. The powerpoint specialist has had her vacation days cut back. The cerlox machine has been pulled out of storage: it's time for a new management fad! Malcolm Gladwell will be bringing out a new book in January: Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking

You can hear the business consultants salivating. Sure, "Tipping Point" has had a good run. It's provided the intellectual heft for thousands of rehashed conference presentations and breakout meetings. You had to know, though, that the concept would become stale. Showing up in the food section is a good sign.

The smoke signals began in earnest earlier this month, as Fast Company tagged Blink as an idea reckoned with in 2005.

What idea is this, exactly? Let's hear from Malcolm Gladwell himself:

    Intuition strikes me as a concept we use to describe emotional reactions, gut feelings--thoughts and impressions that don't' seem entirely rational. But I think that what goes on in that first two seconds is perfectly rational. It's thinking--its just thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious decision-making that we usually associate with "thinking." In "Blink" I'm trying to understand those two seconds. What is going on in inside our heads when we engage in rapid cognition? When are snap judgments good and when are they not? What kinds of things can we do to make our powers of rapid cognition better? (gladwell.com)

Interestingly, British newspapers seem to be the first to be thinking through the work:

    "Gladwell's theory of Blink is both liberating and dangerous. You know whether your hunch was right only in hindsight. Human creativity is a wonderful thing � and it is inextricably linked to human error.''(Daily Telegraph, free reg. req.)

Of course, this idea has been germinating with Gladwell for some time. He first explored it in a 2002 article: The Naked Face: Can you read people's thoughts just by looking at them?

Preorder the book, it'll make nice Festivus gift and you'll be at least two months ahead of the USA Today featurette on the idea.