An appreciation of intuitive hunches suggesting that snap judgments—decisions made quickly—can be as good as ones made carefully and deliberately. Gladwell argues that thin slices—think prosciutto—of a little bit of knowledge can go a long way; that this kind of thinking is undervalued. The examples he selects—a statue at the Getty Center that didn’t look right; the tennis coach who can see a double fault before it happens; and the failure of New Coke—certainly imply some truth in this. The hows and whys are harder to pin down. Perhaps the practice of pattern recognition, guessing correctly from incomplete information, primes our perceptual pumps to intuit what is not yet known.

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