20120624-120452.jpgAh – the Malcolm Gladwell books. I love it when books are a trend.

“The Power of Thinking Without Thinking”

This sounds a lot like the life philosophy of the gentleman that’s about to win a Darwin Award*.

But the actual theory is that your subconscious gathers and interprets information at a much wider and more accurate rate than your conscious mind. Which can make sense – your conscious mind is only 10% of your brain capacity. Or 30%. Or something.

The rest is “intuition”. So when you do it because it “feels right”, you’re just trusting that your mind is picking up on more stuff that you’re aware of.

Sounds good to me. Particularly when Malcolm spends a chapter discussing couples and what you can tell about them based on their facial expressions** during each second of a 15 minute filmed conversation. The test can predict the likelihood of a couple’s staying power with 90% accuracy.

Which is important financially for deciding how important that pre-nup is***.

But also, when it comes to money, lots of people make decisions “from the gut”.

Should they?

Blink says “maybe”. Yes – snap judgements can be more right that considered ones. But it also suggests that the merit in the snap decision is how much time you have spent in that particular field. For example, professional tennis players are good at making snap decisions during tennis matches. Stockbrokers would be less so.

Read it.

If only for the great example about how the American Military games were won by the team that was meant to lose****, so they redid the games with a different commander until the outcome was as they wanted expected, and then declared their strategy a success.

<raises eyebrow>

*In case any reader doesn’t know – Darwin Awards recognise a person who, through the foolishness of their death act, have done the human race a favour by removing themselves from the gene pool. 

**It seems that there are about 20 different emotional states (at least, according to the model in question), each with its own sets of facial expression. 

***You want to find out likelihoods if you’re the rich partner, so that you can preserve wealth. You want to find out likelihoods if you’re Priscilla Zuckerberg, so that you can make sure you get your slice. Which means that both sides benefit from a pre-nup. So really, the argument’s a bit redundant.

****Their commander played intuitively instead of as predicted by the game algorithms.