Blink: Reading Guide – Chapter Five


1. Riper believed that strategy and complex theory were inappropriate and futile in the midst of battle, decease “where the uncertainties of war and the pressure of time made it impossible to compare options carefully and calmly.” What other ‘work’ spaces discount rational analysis and demand immediate ‘battlefield’ decision-making?

2. Can one ever really prepare for decisive, rapid-fire scenarios? Is planning for the unpredictable worthwhile or a waste of time and energy?

3. If improvisational comedy is governed by rules and requires practice like any other sport, could anyone be a stand-up comic or performer? Or, will some people always naturally be better at thinking on their toes and more adept at unleashing spontaneity?

4. Riper says, “When we talk about analytic versus intuitive decision-making, neither is good or bad. What is bad is if you use either of them in an inappropriate circumstance.” But is decision-making all about the circumstances or more about the personality of the decision-maker i.e. do circumstances have more impact on decision-making if you are a more cerebral, logical individual versus an indecisive, instinctual one?


1. In the cases of Kenna’s music and the Aeron chair we see that first impressions can often lead us astray. What we initially judge as disapproval may just be a case of confusion or mistrust for something new and different. How can we distinguish a decision motivated by fear of the unknown from the ones that stem from genuine dislike towards something? Are we better off leaving it to the experts to tell us what we should like?

2. What if we have personal investment in the new product or person? Can we or how do we separate our emotional involvement from our intuitive judgment?

3. Do you believe our unconscious reactions come out of a locked room that we can’t ever truly see inside? Can we ever know ourselves wholly and understand the motivation and reason behind our every move? If an individual claims to completely know how their mind works, seek are they incredibly self-aware or just delusional? And if we can’t totally get behind that locked door and fully ‘know’ why we react the way we do, is psychiatry an over-priced and limited exercise?