wondered if a book is worth it?


Your intuition or gut feeling is the source of an awful lot of decisions that we humans make on a day to day basis. But how sound is this system in terms of making good decisions?

This book looks at how we have a tendency to make judgements in the blink of an eye and what we need in place to be able to trust these judgements.

Given that a lot of these decisions have prejudice and preconceptions attached, how can we trust ourselves. Given thorough analysis we tend to analyse decisions to death - sometimes backing up our original gut feeling and sometimes talking ourselves out of the decision.

When to trust your intuition and when not to.

  • One decision making strategy is slow and methodical.
  • Another is a snap decision process that happens in the blink of an eye.

How can we know if the snap process is trustworthy?

  • your unconscious can rule out irrelevant information instantly
  • analysing all the little pieces of info hide the really relevant info
  • the snap judgement brain processes are great at filtering out the irrelevant stuff

A rationally compiled list of the characteristics we would want from a partner is irrelevant as you make a snap judgement when you meet someone, and that judgement dictates if you are attracted or not - you usually do not go through the list of characteristics like an interview!

We can all read emotional expressions however when stress is in play your ability to read faces and emotional responses decreases to the point of what could be similar to the autistic need for concrete information.

Reduce the stress to reduce the effect of the reduction in your ability to read faces.

We all have racial prejudice and the best way to do something about it - get out more.

To avoid bad snap judgements - ignore all irrelevant information.

When you have a great amount of experience (circa 10,000 hours) with the subject matter - trust your instinct. If you are not an expert with by experience with the subject matter then slow your intuition down and use the slower rational part of your mind.

Blink - by Malcolm Gladwell

Among many other things I am a trainer within the healthcare industry. While my interests are quite diverse I am always interested in ways the normal world can better understand those “other” conditions that pepper our society and are generally little understood.

House Rules is a book that does just that. You remember the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime, well house rules extends that idea of the rest of us learning about conditions through dramatic stories.

In this storey the realities of Aspergers Syndrome are narated form several different perspectives. From outsiders with no understanding of the character, Jacob, to the family members mother, father, sibling. As I listened to the audio version of this from I gained a real advantage as the different characters were read by different narrators. This was not a dramatisation – the book was narrated but as large sections are read by the person whose perspective we are seeing this meant that I fully believe an audio version is the best way to go.

No picking up the book and not remembering who was this perspective from. As all characters may say “Jacob said” it would be important to the story to know who is relating that, something I could not have guaranteed for me if I was reading it.

While I have a reasonable understanding of Aspergers Syndrome both professionally and personally it was superb, for example, to hear Jacob’s brother describe their life pressures from the first person.

It all works around Jacob being charged with murder giving the book a real grounding in a gripping story that holds you to the end even though it follows in a predictable direction. Damn good read.

Phrases that could lead to misunderstanding

Take a seat

Mark my words

hang around

just a second

get off my back

A guy is flying in a hot air balloon and his lost; he lowers himself over a cornfield and calls out to a woman. “Can you tell me where I am and where I am headed?”

“Sure!” this woman says.

“You are at:-

  • 41° two minutes and 14 seconds NORTH
  • 144° four minutes 19 seconds east
  • You are at an altitude of 762 m above sea level
  • and right now you are hovering
  • but you were on a vector of 234° at 12 m/s!”

“Amazing, thanks. By the way do you have Asperger syndrome?”

“I do the woman replies but how do you know?”

He replied :-

  • “Because everything you said is true
  • it’s much more detailed than I need
  • and you told me in a way that is of no use to me at all”

The woman in frowns and asked “Are you a psychiatrist?”

“I am!” the man says, “but I could you tell?”

She replies:-

  • “you don’t know where you are
  • You don’t know where you’re headed
  • you got where you are by blowing hot air
  • you put labels on people after asking only a few questions
  • and you’re exactly the same position you were five minutes ago
  • but now some how it’s my fault!”
House Rules by Judi Picoult