Snapshots of the Mind
How people make decisions, size up situations, spot anomalies, and anticipate problems in real-world settings.
Gary Klein, author of the bestselling Sources of Power, is the cognitive psychologist who discovered how people actually make decisions, particularly under time pressure and uncertainty. In Snapshots of the Mind, he offers a set of short essays—“snapshots” of different aspects of cognitive functioning in real-world settings that will help us learn to recognize the cognitive processes that underlie and drive performance. In these essays Klein provides practical tools for escaping fixation on initial hunches and learning to detect the ways that people make decisions, size up situations, spot anomalies, and anticipate problems.
Snapshots of the Mind grows out of the Naturalistic Decision Making movement, which studies how decision makers handle uncertainty and complexity in high-stakes situations. In the essays, Klein examines how people make tough choices and assessments in the real-world, discussing such topics as training, information technology, teamwork, expertise, and insights. Debunking the idea that artificial intelligence will soon take over human decision making, he argues instead for machines that make us smarter and expand our expertise. He describes his Recognition-Primed Decision (RPD) model, which has been incorporated into Army doctrine and was one of the inspirations for Malcolm Gladwell's Blink. Snapshots of the Mind offers fresh takes on such topics as confirmation bias, anomaly detection, intuition, anticipatory thinking and perspective-taking. Readers come away attuned to the primary aspects of expert cognition: the mindsets, mental models, and perceptual sensitivity.
“I know of no one who combines theory and observation—intellectual rigor and painstaking observation of the real world—so brilliantly and gracefully as Gary Klein.”
Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers and Blink
“Gary Klein is a living example of how useful applied psychology can be when it is done well... Klein and I disagree on many things. But I am convinced that there should be more psychologists like him, and that the art and science of observing behavior should have a larger place in our thinking and in our curricula than it does at present.”
Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Laureate, Princeton University, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow