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The first is the “scrambled-sentence test.” (52) Try it.

Taking rapid cognition seriously — acknowledging the incredible power, for good and ill, that first impressions play in our lives — requires that we take active steps to manage and control those impressions.” (97-98) Chapter four tells of the fascinating US war-game, the Millennium Challenge, which was “a battle between two perfectly opposed military philosophies.” (108) Drawing on lessons from improv comedy we discover that the ability to make “very sophisticated decisions on the spur of the moment is not random and chaotic, but is really “an art form governed by a series of rules.” (113) In other words, “spontaneity isn’t random…How good people’s decisions are under the fast-moving, high-stress conditions of rapid cognition is a function of training and rules and rehearsal.” (114) Through an illustration of a firefighter’s intuition, or an ability of an ER worker to make a quick heart diagnosis, sometimes over analysis is paralyzing.

“In the act of tearing something apart, you lose its meaning.” (125) Less is really more.

The second is the unconscious — the immediate, automatic associations that emerge before we have time to think (84-85).