Blink is essentially about thinking without thinking. An expert can look at a statue and tell if it's a fake or not. He doesn't know why, he just feels it; even if some other "expert" has tested the statue through carbon dating or using some other method and found it to be genuine, the "real expert just knows"...it's an intuitive thing.
There's another book out right now called "Moonwalking with Einstein" by Joshua Foer subtitled, "The Art and Science of Remembering Everything" which is a book about Memory and how to train your memory.
The book suggests that we all have the capacity to memorise and remember incredibly complex things such as strings of random numbers and mixed decks of playing cards.
All we need to know is the technique.
Memorising is something that all lawyers have had to do. In fact anyone who has taken an exam has to memorise all the appropriate information. Some teachers even say, "You can forget about it all afterwards, just as long as you pass the exam!"
In fact this was said to me by one of my law tutors. He also said that the more cases you can put into an exam question the better.
About the time of my second year law exams ( I scraped through first year!) I was determined to do better and I bough a book about memory techniques.
In a nutshell, the system was "Imagination, destination" The idea being that you use your imagination to mentally enhance images and you set each image at a geographical spot you know well.
So for example if you want to memorise a list of 10 or 20 or 30 shopping items, mentally, you start off in your house, lets say the kitchen with item 1 - Cornflakes.
Instead of a static image you imagine it raining cornflakes all over you in the kitchen, they crunch under your feet. Item 2 - toilet roll in the hallway. There's a giant toilet roll blocking your way and flapping in the wind and so on through the other rooms in your house and out the front door and down the street.
I used this technique to remember legal cases. For example (without looking up my notes) I remember lots of cases from Consumer Law such as Beale v Taylor 1961 and the case of a cut and shut Triumph Herald car. I used a local shopping centre (Consumer Law after all) and in the car park there is a Triumph Herald car broken in two with Ian Beale from Eastenders being measured for a suit by a short man with a measuring tape in his hand and round his neck - a taylor.
Stupid, but it worked.
In each exam after I learned the technique I wrote down about 35 cases for each question.
Needless to say I passed with distinction and was wheeled out by the tutor to explain to the rest who I did it.
Anyway enough of memory techniques, what's this got to do with the title of the blog?
Well, after only a few hours training, I was perceived as an expert. Some fellow students said it was genius to be able to remember all these cases.
Wrong in both cases.
It was all to do with technique. A quickly learned skill.
However, using the same technique or skill over time would propel anyone into expert status...and in fact in law and in practising law, most customers (or clients as some prefer) perceive lawyers as experts...not just in the law, but in saving their business or marriage or in some cases their very liberty.
Becoming an expert comes from experience. But it depends what the experience is in.
Doing lots of years of law, widely recognised as 10 years or more, matches the definition of an expert as "...a person with extensive knowledge or ability in a given subject."
Someone with perceived expertise can then look at a situation, and like the character in the book "Blink" , can almost instantly see the answer in a way that is difficult to put into words.
As Frome says in his book, "Experts, home in on the information that matters most, and have an almost automatic sense of what to do with it."
A lot of older lawyers and partners that I have met have this in abundance when it comes to legal matters, but fall tragically short when it comes to looking after their staff or running their legal business!
So my question to the lawyers amongst you is; bearing all this in mind "Why then do you refuse help from entrepreneurs or business consultants when it comes to running and improving your legal business?"
Entrepreneurs or business consultants with suitable years of expertise in running and operating businesses have the expertise to home in on the problems, they also have the techniques to improve the bottom line. In many cases they have the marketing skills necessary to propel the business forward, yet many partners don't recognise these "skills" and somehow feel they can do it themselves.
If an entrepreneur wanted to prepare his own lease or shareholders agreement there would be an obvious "raising of eyebrows" or shaking of heads from the lawyers.
Yet on a daily basis, lawyers and partners are doing their own marketing, setting themselves up as HR experts and forming their own strategies with nothing but their own "skills" to see them through.
And they wonder why turnover is down and they've not made a profit....again.