Continuing copying my book reviews from my LinkedIn Amazon widget to my blog. I’ve referenced Blink in Episode 2: Introduction to Creativity and in Episode 4: Decision Making and Creativity, and I’ve referenced The Tipping Point in Episode 12: Serendipity.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell
Great book on right-brain thinking and intuitive decision making. Here’s an excerpted essay about this book I wrote for a UCSD Course on Entrepreneurship:
Gladwell describes two types of problems: logic and insight. Logic problems are solved by lots of information and analysis (left-brain thinking), whereas insight problems require an intuitive approach (right-brain thinking). Gladwell discusses how trying to solve an insight problem with a logical process winds up destroying one’s ability to solve the insight problem, at least for non-experts.
Interestingly, Gladwell writes that for less-important decisions, it is fine to be analytical and consider the decision from many perspectives, but for more important issues, like which mate to select or which career to pursue, to let intuition take over. Larger issues will likely have a larger emotional impact, and so intuition is more appropriate as intuition follows emotion.
Applying this to business planning, some people will say you absolutely have to have all your plans (financial, marketing, operational, etc.) in order before venturing forward with a business (the left-brain thinkers). Others say business planning is a waste of time, as your actual execution will never be what was planned, plus writing of the plan very likely will destroy your initial passion and confidence for the venture as you’ll never have enough information or enough of a competitive advantage (the right-brain thinkers). Perhaps there’s a happy medium here in which a lesser amount of planning is initially done (e.g., fully defining the business concept and some marketing and financial planning), and if the business still looks promising, implement the venture for an initial stage, and then iteratively do more planning and implementation.
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell
A very interesting book on how small changes can have a huge effect. Gladwell discusses the kinds of people that can cause a tipping (“Connectors” who know a tremendous amount of other people, “Mavens” who are information specialists and who pass their information along to others, and “Salesmen” who very effectively persuade others), the characteristic of something that helps make it tip (stickiness, which makes something memorable, actionable, irresistible, compelling), and environmental factors that help make something tip (conditions, circumstances, situation, context, the size of a group; slightly changing one of these can cause a tipping). Gladwell ties these ideas to products, technology, children television shows, crime rates, suicide rates, infectious diseases, smoking, and more.