Malcolm Gladwell, author of Tipping Point, has gone to the Best Seller list once more with his new book Blink. I don’t want to take anything away from Malcolm because he is a proven best selling author, but how does it happen that a book about decision-making rises to the status of best seller when there are dozens of other books on the subject that never seem to get much past the list of required reading for students?

Maybe a part of the reason for the success of this book can be found in an October 2004 report from Teradata, a division of NCR Corporation. That report proclaims that, “Business decision-making is in crisis. The overwhelming majority of respondents, more than 70 percent, say that poor decision-making is a serious problem for business. The top casualties of poor decision-making are profits, company reputation, long-term growth, employee morale, productivity and revenue.”

A decision-making book that didn’t make the Best Seller List is Why Decisions Fail, by Paul C. Nutt. In his book, Nutt explains the magnitude of the problem when he writes, “decisions fail half of the time.”

If “decisions fail half of the time,” negatively affecting profits, growth, morale, productivity and revenues, the evidence would seem to indicate that interest in Decision- Making may be reaching the Tipping Point where it will become the hot new topic in business. Just think about the competitive advantage an organization could gain if they could improve their success rate to even 75% while their competition was still at 50%.

There is also growing evidence that making decisions is becoming even more difficult. J. Edward Russo and Paul J. H. Schoemaker in their book Winning Decisions, point out that we are inundated with information, facing rapid change and rising uncertainty. We have few historical precedents, more frequent decisions, more important decisions, conflicting goals, more opportunities for miscommunication, fewer opportunities to correct mistakes and higher stakes. All this is contributing to even more difficult decision-making.

It would appear that our existing methods for making decisions are inadequate in today’s fast paced, techno enhanced, highly competitive world and the time is right for a new approach that facilitates better decisions…faster. The question facing us then is, To Blink or not to Blink, that is the question. Does Gladwell have a better solution?

In Blink, Gladwell mixes scientific research with idealism to suggest that intuition is often superior to reasoned thinking.

Richard A. Posner, judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, suggests that there are two types of thinking. One is intuition or hunches, snap judgments, emotional reactions, and first impressions--in short, instant responses to sensations. The second type of thinking is reasoned or articulate and is the domain of logic, deliberation, reasoned discussion, and scientific method. Reasoned or articulate thinking is the model of rationality, while intuitive thinking is often seen as primitive.

There are numerous examples in Blink of what, on the surface, might appear to be intuitive thinking. Posner on the other hand suggests that there are many instances when the answer appears in a flash like intuition, but are in fact are the result of deliberative processes that have become unconscious simply by becoming habitual.

Gladwell and Posner agree that we are drowning in information. They also agree on unconscious cognition regardless of whether from intuition or experience and habit. Most importantly, they have both created more awareness of the real problem – the need for an approach to decision-making with improved results.

Author's Bio: 

Bob Cannon helps visionary leaders and business decision-makers build Positive Momentum through better decision-making and implementation. Check out other interesting articles available in the Taking Aim newsletter available at . Bob can be reached at (216) 408-9495 or mailto: