Jan 24, 2005

Gladwell on first impressions



from the Fast Company article that covers Gladwell and his new book Blink:

Hiring is one area where we tend to fall into the "dark side" of rapid cognition, says Gladwell. He conducted a study to showcase how we often succumb to what he calls the "Warren Harding error" (Harding being, he says, "one of the worst presidents in American history," who nevertheless radiated "all that was presidential"). Polling about half of the Fortune 500 companies, Gladwell discovered that the vast majority of their CEOs were at least 6 feet tall (only about 14.5% of all American men are 6 feet or taller). What does this say about the way we hire? "We have a sense of what a leader is supposed to look like," he writes. "And that stereotype is so powerful that when someone fits it, we simply become blind to other considerations."

Sounds like Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions all over again?