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An Interesting Thought Experiment

Posted on March 02, 2006 by Kat.

So I finally got around to reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (reviewed earlier by Sarah).  It was a strange stroke of providence, I think, that I ended up reading it back-to-back with A Whole New Mind.  I would highly recommend you do so, because it struck me how much cross-over there was between the two books.  Both dealt extensively with the way our brains really work (as opposed to the way many people expect our brains to work, with humans being the only Rational Animal and all).

For example: recognizing faces, and understanding facial expressions, is a right-brain activity.  So is grasping context.  Gladwell illustrates several examples where the context of a product, including package design, influence our perception of a product — not just its quality.  He shows us how the Story of a product — our unconscious associations with it, our memories of it within the context of our lives — influence our first reaction to the product, and very often our purchasing decisions.

Both books are fascinating on their own, if you like reading about data-stories on how our mind works.  (I do, of course — it's one of the things I geek on.)  There is a lot more of this kind of mind-food — the two are great complements to each other.

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