Saturday, July 24, 2010

Malcolm Gladwell - Big Ideas

TVO's Big Ideas recently reran a lecture from 2005 by Malcolm Gladwell. (feed)

Gladwell wrote a book (Blink) about the problem that people take many important decisions quickly, in a matter of seconds, in the blink of an eye as it were. This is maybe not a problem from the point of view of economy, but it surely should make us feel uncomfortable about the validity of our decisions, especially on important issues, such as for example, the decision to hire one candidate from a range of applicants to an important job.

Gladwell's example, exactly about hiring: a musician for an orchestra, shows the rapid decision to be fault prone. However, this is not for its speed, which would demand slower deliberation and the viewing of more facts. Gladwell argues that split second decisions are rather reliable and pretty useful and where they go wrong, they do not go wrong for lack of facts, for missing deliberation, but rather too much input. Food for thought, a good podcast to listen to.

More Big Ideas:
The Age of Inequality,
Disappearing cultures,
Waiting for Godot,
Religion as culture - Camille Paglia,
Christopher Hitchens on the Ten Commandments.