I had the pleasure recently of meeting malcom gladwell, the well-known New York author of "The Tipping Point" and his latest treatise, "Blink." Gladwell had been invited to speak to a group of insurance and banking executives on the theories contained in his new book; namely, that great decision-makers are not those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of "thin-slicing."Thin-slicing refers to the snap (in the blink of an eye) decisions we make based on the ability to filter-from an overwhelming number of variables-the very few factors that matter to the subject at hand.

Gladwell provided the business crowd with several thin-slicing examples-from an emergency room doctor's instant diagnosis of a patient's heart attack to the immediate impression we make of a job candidate after only a brief encounter.

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