But we won't admit to the importance of what happens in the first two seconds when we talk about what happens when someone encounters a new idea, or when we interview someone for a job, or when a military general has to make a decision in the heat of battle."The Tipping Point" was concerned with grand themes, with figuring out the rules by which social change happens. It is concerned with the smallest components of our everyday lives--with the content and origin of those instantaneous impressions and conclusions that bubble up whenever we meet a new person, or confront a complex situation, or have to make a decision under conditions of stress.
They instructed their doctors to gather less information on their patients: they encouraged them to zero in on just a few critical pieces of information about patients suffering from chest pain--like blood pressure and the ECG--while ignoring everything else, like the patient's age and weight and medical history. to go along with the plan, because, like all of us, they were committed to the idea that more information is always better.
But I describe lots of cases in "Blink" where that simply isn't true.
They were looking, it turned out, for a rapist, and the rapist, they said, looked a lot like me. I looked at it, and pointed out to them as nicely as I could that in fact the rapist looked nothing at all like me.
He was much taller, and much heavier, and about fifteen years younger (and, I added, in a largely futile attempt at humor, not nearly as good-looking.) All we had in common was a large head of curly hair.
But I think that what goes on in that first two seconds is perfectly rational.