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Il punto critico: i grandi effetti dei piccoli cambiamenti PDF, ePub eBook L'intuizione che Malcolm Gladwell sviluppa in questo libro è che i cambiamenti sociali obbediscono alle stesse leggi delle epidemie: allo stesso modo dei virus, un'idea, una moda, un comportamento, diffusi dal contagio del "passaparola", raggiungono una soglia oltre la quale ottengono un effetto a valanga, Questa soglia è il Punto Critico. Quando si supera il punto critico L'intuizione che Malcolm Gladwell sviluppa in questo libro è che i cambiamenti sociali obbediscono alle stesse leggi delle epidemie: allo stesso modo dei virus, un'idea, una moda, un comportamento, diffusi dal contagio del "passaparola", raggiungono una soglia oltre la quale ottengono un effetto a valanga, Questa soglia è il Punto Critico. Quando si supera il punto critico, la reazione a catena sembra sfuggire alle normali relazioni di causa ed effetto. Un piccolo cambiamento può innescare una vera rivoluzione. Con esempi e riflessioni tratti dalla psicologia e dalla sociologia, dalla storia, dall'economia e dalla nostra vita quotidiana Gladwell insegna a essere artefici di epidemie positive.

30 review for Il punto critico: i grandi effetti dei piccoli cambiamenti

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    This book is fascinating and I was disappointed to read that many other readers didn't think so. So here's my response. I think those readers are approaching this book the wrong the way when they critisize Gladwell for his inability to prove his points thoroughly. Sure, Gladwell could have dotted every i and crossed every t and shown every counter-example to the theories he's proposing. There's a word for the books that accomplish that: BORING. Gladwell is a storyteller and he knows how to keep This book is fascinating and I was disappointed to read that many other readers didn't think so. So here's my response. I think those readers are approaching this book the wrong the way when they critisize Gladwell for his inability to prove his points thoroughly. Sure, Gladwell could have dotted every i and crossed every t and shown every counter-example to the theories he's proposing. There's a word for the books that accomplish that: BORING. Gladwell is a storyteller and he knows how to keep the reader involved. By going into too much detail, he would lose his audience. Hopefully the reader who isn't convinced entirely can go into further detail by reading Gladwell's sources which are exhaustively referenced in the back of the book. Another criticism is that Gladwell doesn't come to a specific point or that his points are hazy (this was probably more true with "Blink"). I almost want to say "who cares?" This book and "Blink" are veritable digests of the latest advances in psychology and sociology. So what if the overarching idea of the book is loose? You have now understood countless fascinating anecdotes which you can reconstruct in your own way. It is Gladwell's loose structure that allows him to connect these disparate dots in a story that you can digest, and despite the accusations that he is not precise about his overall thesis, the individual incidents are very well explained. I love knowing the differences between Sesame Street and Blue's Clues and the differences between an adult's and a child's cognitive capabilities. Would I have read an entire book devoted solely to that? Probably not, but I was happy to read a chapter devoted to it, and a very well-written one at that. Perhaps I approach non-fiction in a different way than most--and I will admit that I'm fascinated by almost any new, dramatically different idea about any subject, regardless of whether or not I believe it to be true--but I think that people who go into this book seeking a different way of thinking about the world around us, macro & microcosmically, will enjoy themselves. Those who go into the book seeking to be convinced beyond doubt that that way of thinking is the correct way, will not.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This book grew out of an article Malcolm Gladwell was writing for the New Yorker. Frankly, it is better suited for a 5-7 page article rather than a 280 page book. The crux of the book is that the "stickiness factor" of epidemics (whatever the nature) begins with a tipping point. This tipping point arises because of three distinct sets of individuals: mavens, connectors and salespeople. He also examines the well-known S-curve which begins with innovators, then early adopters, followed by the earl This book grew out of an article Malcolm Gladwell was writing for the New Yorker. Frankly, it is better suited for a 5-7 page article rather than a 280 page book. The crux of the book is that the "stickiness factor" of epidemics (whatever the nature) begins with a tipping point. This tipping point arises because of three distinct sets of individuals: mavens, connectors and salespeople. He also examines the well-known S-curve which begins with innovators, then early adopters, followed by the early majority and finally, the late majority. He is overwhelmingly redundant in expressing his ideas, providing examples of epidemics throughout the text while comparing them to one another (children's television, Hushpuppy shoes, Paul Revere's ride, nicotine, and the list goes on and on...). The Conclusion, the eighth and final chapter, was pointless: if the reader did not understand Gladwell's point by now, he or she must have been as lost as Washington Redskins' new coach Jim Zorn when he commented his family was proud to wear maroon and black. All that said, the book was not horrible. It was a well written first person narrative and the lessons of the emergence of epidemics are applicable to almost any career or lifestyle, as Gladwell demonstrated with his countless examples.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Can I give this zero stars? When I read this book, back in 2006, I got really mad and wrote a scathing review of it on Amazon.com. Here it is: "I've been duped!, June 20, 2006 By Sarah (California, USA) - See all my reviews This book sucks. Don't waste your hard earned money on it. Let me save you a few bucks here: Malcolm Gladwell is either a self-aggrandizing ass who is too busy thinking he is the god of marketing to notice that a great majority of his arguments lack any kind of cohesion or credib Can I give this zero stars? When I read this book, back in 2006, I got really mad and wrote a scathing review of it on Amazon.com. Here it is: "I've been duped!, June 20, 2006 By Sarah (California, USA) - See all my reviews This book sucks. Don't waste your hard earned money on it. Let me save you a few bucks here: Malcolm Gladwell is either a self-aggrandizing ass who is too busy thinking he is the god of marketing to notice that a great majority of his arguments lack any kind of cohesion or credibility whatsoever, or he is just so excited about his self-proclaimed 'paradigmatic' keys to the essense of social epidemics that he conveniently forgets to include that much needed credible evidence to support his long-winded theories, resulting in a book fit to satiate the appetite of audiences hungry for pop pseudo-science BS that will make them feel smart for reading it. Basically all this book is is a compilation of anecdotal evidence that is supposed to prove the truth in his words. Gladwell's arguments clearly violate some very important rules guiding intelligent thought: correlation does not imply causation (and the fact that two events happened on one occasion at the same time does not necessarily imply correlation), and the idea that a theory is bankable because one instance of anecdotal evidence exists. Umm, okay, that's like saying that I know a guy who won the lottery (I don't, but humor me), so it must be a logically good place to invest my paychecks (I don't have paychecks, but, please, humor me). I mean, I'm a 21-year-old college student, and not even a GOOD college student at that, and I could easily point out the flaws in his arguments -not just a single argument, but ALL of his arguments -as soon as I read them. I didn't even have to put the book down to think for a few minutes before I realized how absolutely pointless and downright ludicrous his 'insights' were. All that aside, his writing style is so patronizing and self-congratulatory that I could hardly stand to read any more than five pages at a time before my face got all scrunched up and I started uncontrollably muttering curse words under my breath. It makes me sad that people read this book and consider it a revelation in modern psychological and scientific thinking, not seeing it for what it is: an apparently very successful (thanks, readers of America) profit-driven waste of time. Gladwell made a ton of money off what probably only took him, like, 15 minutes to write, and THAT is the only thing genius about this book." Yeah, I was kinda mad when I wrote that. This book doesn't really do much in the way of illustrating how to market ideas -rather, it seems more like a marketing tool itself. Gladwell sure knows how to create a brand for himself, complete with a legion of raving followers who can't think for themselves. That scares me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Otis Chandler

    Really good book. It read like a bestseller (quick read), but had a lot of substance to stop and make you think. three Rules of the tipping point: the law of the few, the stickyness factor, the power of context. Law of the Few (people who influence): - Connectors: super connectors (eg Paul Revere). William Dawes had the same mission as Paul Revere the same night but we haven't heard of him b/c Paul Revere was a super-connector & knew who to rouse. - Mavens: A Maven is a person who has informat Really good book. It read like a bestseller (quick read), but had a lot of substance to stop and make you think. three Rules of the tipping point: the law of the few, the stickyness factor, the power of context. Law of the Few (people who influence): - Connectors: super connectors (eg Paul Revere). William Dawes had the same mission as Paul Revere the same night but we haven't heard of him b/c Paul Revere was a super-connector & knew who to rouse. - Mavens: A Maven is a person who has information on a lot of different products or prices or places. This person likes to initiate discussions with consumers and respond to requests. They like to be helpers in the marketplace. - Salesmen: people with the skills of persuasion. Good at reading people entering into "conversational harmony" with them. Facial gestures (nods, smiles, frowns) are key indicators. Emotional Mimicry. Studies showed Peter Jennings viewers voted Republican b/c he unconsciously smiled more while covering Reagan. Stickyness Factor - Sesame street succeeded b/c it learned to make TV sticky. It did a TON of testing with focus groups of kids to increase stickyness (how much kids remembered) of each show. They would cut scenes that didn't hold attention until each show was good. - Blues Clues did even more testing and discovered that kids love repetition - it plays the same show 5 times in a row and kids love it. - make the message personal to make it memorable The Power of Context - Broken window theory. NYC cleaned up its crime epidemic by cleaning off the graffiti from its subways. - Often to change human behavior you have to change the context the problem is presented in. - Stanford Prison Experiment by Zimbardo proved that context matters. - law of 150: a person can't 'know' more than 150 people, so companies usually start to fail at that point. Gore-Tex breaks up a company into 2 once it hits 150, because they've found things work better that way.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Patrick DiJusto

    How the flying fuck did this piece of shit ever get published? How on God's green earth did this thing become a bestseller? Yes, I'm the last person in America to read The Tipping Point, and I'm glad I waited. Now that all the hype has burned off, it's easy to see this book for what it is: a very well crafted collection of half-truths and speculation, sold as "truth". Let's look at one example. I read The Tipping Point as an ebook, so my pages might not match completely with yours, but it's the s How the flying fuck did this piece of shit ever get published? How on God's green earth did this thing become a bestseller? Yes, I'm the last person in America to read The Tipping Point, and I'm glad I waited. Now that all the hype has burned off, it's easy to see this book for what it is: a very well crafted collection of half-truths and speculation, sold as "truth". Let's look at one example. I read The Tipping Point as an ebook, so my pages might not match completely with yours, but it's the story about the AIDS virus, Chapter One, Section 2, page 24. In writing about a weird epidemic among newborns in the 1950s, Gladwell says of the lead scientist, "Goudsmit thinks that this was an early HIV epidemic." Nothing wrong with that. Gladwell is reporting what a scientist thinks. Gladwell then offers an extended quote from Dr. Goudsmit, which is loaded with conditional statements: "this adult could have died of AIDS", "he could have transmitted the virus", "she could have given birth to an HIV infected child", "unsterilized needles could have spread the virus". Again, all well and good: Goudsmit was speculating, and making it clear that what he was saying was not certain, but that it "could have" happened. Then Gladwell returns and destroys the careful foundation he had built by making concrete statements about things that a moment before were only hypotheses: "They defeated HIV", "The strains of HIV circulating in the 1950s were a lot different from the HIV circulating today", "HIV itself changed" None of this is proven by any of the information Gladwell gave us. All of it is speculation. But Gladwell draws firm conclusions from things that are, at best, educated guesses. I'm sorry but that's just wrong. Actually, I'm not sorry. What Gladwell did is so wrong it's unforgivable. I've been a journalist for 20 years, and I work with some of the finest fact checkers in the world. If I ever handed in a badly reasoned piece of shit like this book, they'd tear me a new asshole. (No they wouldn't. They're very nice people. But they would tear the manuscript a new asshole, as they should.) More to the point, I have enough respect for myself, my readers, and my fact checkers that I'd never hand in something like this in the first place. That Gladwell thought he could get away with it (and let's face it, he did get away with it) is metaphorically criminal. Fuck him.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I think missed the best by date for this book. It's more fun than an introductory course in sociology and covers some of the same material. Reminded me of Bellwether by Connie Willis and William Gibson's Blue Ant series. All looking for the point where people change behavior and a new trend begins. I loved the part about creating the children's education tv programs Sesame Street and Blue's Clues. What worked with preschoolers, and what didn't. It seems likely Gladwell relies on his enthusiasm for I think missed the best by date for this book. It's more fun than an introductory course in sociology and covers some of the same material. Reminded me of Bellwether by Connie Willis and William Gibson's Blue Ant series. All looking for the point where people change behavior and a new trend begins. I loved the part about creating the children's education tv programs Sesame Street and Blue's Clues. What worked with preschoolers, and what didn't. It seems likely Gladwell relies on his enthusiasm for his theory more than fact. That being said, I'll probably read more of his books. It's good food for thought.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Here’s why you need to read The Tipping Point. You don’t!! Look, it’s not because the writing is poor, the concepts disorganized, or the book fails to instruct. It’s simply that the ideas are anachronistic. This is no fault of Malcolm Gladwell. He published in 2000, wrote in ‘99, and used case studies from the mid-90’s. How could he have known he was publishing a book about social media on the eve of social media’s inchoate move into our social DeoxyriboNucleicAcid, or that the overgrowth of soci Here’s why you need to read The Tipping Point. You don’t!! Look, it’s not because the writing is poor, the concepts disorganized, or the book fails to instruct. It’s simply that the ideas are anachronistic. This is no fault of Malcolm Gladwell. He published in 2000, wrote in ‘99, and used case studies from the mid-90’s. How could he have known he was publishing a book about social media on the eve of social media’s inchoate move into our social DeoxyriboNucleicAcid, or that the overgrowth of social connectedness would evolve at rates understated by the term logarithmic. This is a snappy little book--a good one for Thursday evening book club affairs. I quite liked it. Digestible chapters with jaunty titles, connecting for the reader complex sociocultural beliefs to gravid marketing slogans. Pert discussion, and a context that builds on previous conclusions, leading the audience like an unbridled horse gently to water. Gladwell, he’s a good salesman, one that can close a deal without hiding a rotten premolar or repeatedly glancing at his wristwatch. It’s 3.5 stars. Nevertheless, if you’ve fogged a mirror in the last 10 years, much of what Gladwell worked hard to synthesize in year 2000 is merely a matter of course in the mercurial, social, connected life we lead today. Essentially the book is about marketing. (There’s more herein than marketing, but that’s what I’d like to focus on). The title underscores a link throughout the book, viz., that no matter the medium, information reaches a ‘tipping’ point beyond which it spreads above and away from any reasonable measure of altitude control. He repeatedly uses the term epidemic, and I like the image that word conjures in my mind when I think of how pervasive and persistent and contagious marketing can be (like the scene in Ten Commandments where the pestilence of God’s wrath moves down from the moon and like a swampy yellow miasma flows through the streets of Ramses’s Egypt) . Gladwell lays down some meaty discussion about the ‘whys’ and ‘wherefore's’ of the nature of networked relationships, using sociology, psychology, penal philosophy, genetics, pop culture, economics, archeobiology, and personal interviews. It’s a snapshot of a fossil, though. He is in essence describing our world when information was still Near Real Time (NRT), a military acronym meaning ‘actionable’ but not ‘exactable.’ We upgraded that acronym circa 2004-2006 when information became--no shit--Real Time. Real Time worldwide data is a phenomena we’ve only recently begun to comprehend and manipulate. Write a discussion about how your start-up can triangulate consumers, and you’ll have a lead story in Harvard Business Review. Develop an android app that geolocates high volume consumers, and Starbucks will give $$credit$$ to the first 10 people that check into their stores in Cleveland, Charlotte, and Chattanooga. Twitter trends topics, not daily, but hourly. Google Metrics displays global boolean traffic on word searches RIGHT NOW. Crowdsourcing, flash mobs, #hashtags. I can set a Google alert that pings me the next time Brittany Spears has an inadvertent bush shot at the Palms Casino. I can scan barcodes on my phone, and know by a factor of pennies where I can get the cheapest sun dried tomatoes. I can listen to any law enforcement scanner in the country while sitting in my tighty-whities in my fall-out basement. Gowalla, Foursquare, StumbleUpon, grooveshark, HTML5, mashable, MMORPGs, skype, Goodreads. And the every present memes--viral video memes, photo memes--Christ, look at the major news networks during an election and watch the TV anchors in the studio move to the floating, diaphanous plates of glass and enlarge voting counties and predict elections with two-fingered zoom. Malcolm Gladwell could not have foreseen the breadth and rapidity of tipping points in today’s market. No one could have--not even industry leaders in year 2000. Tipping points are not isolated events anymore, like the slow resurgence of Hush Puppy shoes from 1994-1996 (the most cited tipping point in the book, and one Gladwell considers--by his own criteria--rapid). They are daily memes, forcing us into ever tighter circles of consumption, and causing many of us to brux our teeth when we lose cell coverage or go to airplane mode on our smart phones. SMART PHONES--a technology by itself that puts the rust on Gladwell’s conception of tipping points. Despite sound research methodology, and pertinent statistical evaluation, I don’t envision many people going back to The Tipping Point. It’s like reading last week’s headlines; last year’s Consumer Reports; financial data from 2008; political promises from 2006; real estate values from 2005, or the Manhattan skyline on 10 Sep 2001. Maybe for an anecdotal dissertation by some students squirreled away at Weber State or Lehigh University, but other than that I think most of the 77,000 Goodread reviews of this book occurred much nearer the time it was on the best seller list in 2000-2001. There are 4 copies available at my library. It ain’t flying off the shelves anymore, and neither is the 1994 Rand McNally Atlas. You dig? But, wait, let’s go deeper. I dogeared these passages. Here are the titles of the 4 parts of this book. I.Epidemics II. The Law of the Few: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen III. The Stickiness Factor IV. The Power of Context -- These are important constituents in marketing, but Gladwell speaks of months and years. We both know it's days and hours in 2011. What was the connection between the East Village and Middle America? The Law of the Few says the answer is that one of these exceptional people found out about the trend, and through social connections and energy and enthusiasm and personality spread the word about Hush Puppies. (p. 22) -- Social connectedness was an ephemeral measurement in 1999. Now organizations have followers (see Facebook and Twitter) and can measure their daily virility (see the ‘like’ button and most-viewed videos on Youtube) and watch their epidemic spread (see trending topics on technorati or mashable or gizmodo). It is safe to say that word of mouth is--even in this age of mass communications and multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns--still the most important form of human communication. Think, for a moment, about the last expensive restaurant you went to, the last expensive piece of clothing you bought, and the last movie you saw. In how many of those cases was your decision about where to spend your money heavily influenced by the recommendation of a friend...word-of-mouth appeals have become the only kind of persuasion that most of us respond to anymore. (p. 32) -- Yes, word of mouth is, indeed, persuasive. But, today we are motivated and persuaded even more by word of text!!! Your friends...occupy the same world that you do. They might work with you, or live near you, and go to the same churches, schools, or parties. How much, then, would they know that you wouldn’t know? Your acquaintances, on the other hand, by definition occupy a very different world than you. They are much more likely to know something that you don’t... Acquaintances, in short, represent a source of social power, and the more acquaintances you have the more powerful you are. (p. 54) -- This is perhaps Gladwell’s most prophetic statement. I know more people today having never met face to face than actual people I knew in 1999. Mavens have the knowledge and the social skills to start word-of-mouth epidemics. What sets Mavens apart, though, is not so much what they know but how they pass it along. The fact that Mavens want to help, for no other reason than because they like to help, turns out to be an awfully effective way of getting someone’s attention. (p. 67) -- Today Lady Gaga, Kanye West, and Ben Affleck, combined, have more ‘followers’ than the population of Panama. We have become, in our society, overwhelmed by people clamoring for our attention. In just the past decade, the time devoted to advertisements in a typical hour of network television has grown from 6 minutes to 9 minutes, and it continues to climb every year...estimates that the average American is now exposed to 254 different commercial messages in a day, up nearly 25% since the mid-1970s. There are now millions of web sites on the Internet, cable systems routinely carry over 50 channels of programming, and a glance inside the magazine section of any bookstore will tell you that there are thousands of magazines coming out each month... (p. 98) -- Multiply all of the above figures by a factor of 10 to the 2nd power. A rate of growth that cannot be compared by measuring from 1999 back to the existence of Abraham. The spread of any new and contagious ideology has a lot to do with the skillful use of group power. (p. 172) -- The skillful use of group power makes me feel violated in today’s marketing environment.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    I wish there was another word I could use instead of sexy. I mean it metaphorically, obviously, but I want to tell you about the thing that I find to be the most sexy thing imaginable – and I’ve realised that sexy isn’t really the word I should be using at all. You realise, of course, I’m talking about intellectually stimulating or satisfying when I say sexy. That is what I want to talk about – the thing that gives me my biggest intellectual buzz. Look, it isn’t any of the obvious things you migh I wish there was another word I could use instead of sexy. I mean it metaphorically, obviously, but I want to tell you about the thing that I find to be the most sexy thing imaginable – and I’ve realised that sexy isn’t really the word I should be using at all. You realise, of course, I’m talking about intellectually stimulating or satisfying when I say sexy. That is what I want to talk about – the thing that gives me my biggest intellectual buzz. Look, it isn’t any of the obvious things you might be thinking of – and all of those obvious things this book has in abundance. Not that I actually read this book – I listened to it as an audio book, and that is important to say because I don’t know if the book always has the afterword – and it is something in the afterword that I loved most about this otherwise merely wonderful book. (As you may have guessed, we will be returning to this later) What I’m saying is that Gladwell is a sexy kind of guy anyway, even before he did the best of all possible things in the afterword of this book. He is what I like to call an interpreter. I think he even refers to himself as this somewhere. He straddles a number of worlds – psychology, medicine, marketing, social theory, economics – and he draws lines between those worlds in the way one might if one was to place a piece of plastic film over another piece of plastic film on an overhead projector, so that what is written on both films of plastic merge to ‘complete the picture’ in beautifully interesting ways. Now, that is sexy – but it is only level one sexy. I love watching relationships and patterns appear and I love a good story and Gladwell knows his stuff when it comes to patterns and he really knows how to tell a good story. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing the matter with level one sexy – but it is intellectual foreplay and needs something more to be truly satisfying. One of the things this book is about is trends. How do trends start? What makes it fashionable for kids to start smoking? Why do books by unknown authors suddenly become best sellers? How is it that two people can do much the same thing (and he gives a fascinating example from American History to explain this) and yet have completely different (in fact, nearly opposite) results? Or why did Hush Puppies, a brand of shoes that had virtually died, suddenly become – in the lingo of the streets – uber-cool? (Yes, I know, ‘don’t try being cool, McCandless, it really doesn’t suit’.) Essentially, he talks about a small number of personality types that exist in the world that kick trends along, and these types of people help make ‘the virus of the latest thing’ spread to us all. Those types of people are, communicators (people who know essentially everyone), mavens (people who know essentially everything) and salesmen. Sometimes we think that if we want to spread an idea far and wide we should find a way to get it to as many people as possible – much like spam. But when was the last time you bought something recommended to you from a piece of spam you received in your inbox? See what I mean. But I guess most of us know some car nut we go to when we are thinking of buying a car, someone who reads all the car magazines and (maybe) even spends his (it is always a boy) weekends ‘test driving’ the latest models. This is the sort of person who can not only tell you the difference between an overhead cam-shaft and polyunsaturated margarine, but also why the cam-shaft is better than butter. (In case you have not quite worked it out yet, I am not one of those mavens) In a world awash with ‘information’ – much of which is lies (although it is probably best we call it by its more polite name, advertising) – we are becoming, ironically enough, more dependent on word of mouth information from sources we know we can trust. Now, isn’t that a wonderful thesis and a direct confirmation of what you probably already suspected, but hadn’t put into words yet. I guess this might be the second level of intellectual sexy. The next level towards intellectual nirvana is when someone says something totally unexpected that makes my brains resonate in a way that I know will have me thinking for weeks. And he did that this morning as I was walking back from the beach by talking about collective memory. This is penultimate in the scale of intellectual sexy – I knew when he said this that what he was saying was going to end up in my review. They did a test on people, they put people through a series of remembering tasks – and they gave them these tests in pairs. Some of the pairs were people who didn’t know each other from a bar of soap – and the others were people who were literally couples, people in relationships. And the result? Well, the people in the relationships did lots and lots better at remembering stuff than the people that the fickle hand of fate flung together. Isn’t that fascinating? Doesn’t that send a shiver down your spine? But it gets better. He then goes on to talk about why this might be the case – and essentially he claims that we use our partners as a memory extension slot for our own brains. In a relationship there is a division of labour when it comes to remembering stuff – with one partner remembering the kids’ birthdays and the other remembering how to use the ice cream maker. And now comes the bucket of ice water that made me stop on my walk and think, “God, now, isn’t that really, really interesting”. Part of the reason people fall into a deep depression when they go through a divorce (and I thought, perhaps even die shortly after their ‘life partner’dies) may not just be that their partner has metaphorically taken away a part of their heart, but literally taken away a part of their brain. It is that line from Laurie Anderson about when her father died how she felt like a library had burnt down (I think from The Ugly One with Jewels, just before Speak My Language, but I could be wrong). But do you know what is the sexiest thing about this book? And the reason why you should avoid a first edition and get an edition with the afterword? It is that after he has built a pretty good case for something, made a rather good comparison that he uses to sustain the last bit of the book, after he has finished writing the book, after it is printed and ‘done and dusted’, he thinks about it some more and makes a couple of major revisions to some of his thinking in the afterword that goes in a later edition. It is utterly clear to me that if he had the chance to write this book again he would do it differently. Essentially, the afterword is showing us how he would have made it different. He is showing that no idea is ever finished with, no idea can be finally put aside as a shining trophy, only to gather dust and bird shit, but ideas are only worthy of that name if they are alive and alive things change and grow or sometimes they sicken and die. And someone who does that, that goes away and thinks about it even after it is done and finished with and then comes back and says, “Actually, I could have done that a bit better, let me see if I can just say it this way…” Now, that is sexy – that is the best. This book is not nearly as good as Outliers, and I only read this book because I read that book. But do you know what? This book is good enough that if I’d read this book first I would have gone on read that book too.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    The book that became a catchphrase! The term "tipping point" has become so commonly used in news stories that I wonder how many people know it came from a book. I read this back in 2000 when I was in grad school for sociology. It's a fun little book of case studies, many of which applied to what I was learning in my classes. Here it is 13 years later and I can still recall many of the details and theories, which shows how interesting I thought they were. Gladwell, who writes for The New Yorker, h The book that became a catchphrase! The term "tipping point" has become so commonly used in news stories that I wonder how many people know it came from a book. I read this back in 2000 when I was in grad school for sociology. It's a fun little book of case studies, many of which applied to what I was learning in my classes. Here it is 13 years later and I can still recall many of the details and theories, which shows how interesting I thought they were. Gladwell, who writes for The New Yorker, has a skill of weaving different elements and stories together into an enjoyable narrative. The gist of the book is how information spreads among people -- why do some ideas/products spread quickly and effectively, but others don't? Are there kinds of people who are better at transmitting information? (Hint: Yes, there are.) Some of the stories I remember best are about how "Sesame Street" was founded and its impact on literacy (it's surprisingly high!); how to reduce the spread of HIV among drug addicts; how the size of an office can enhance the feeling of community among its workers; how suicide can become more widespread in a region if someone of high stature commits it; and how crime can rise and fall in a city. But perhaps the most salient concept I still use is about connectors vs. mavens. A connector is someone who knows lots and lots of people. They are extroverts and are good at making casual acquaintances wherever they go. In contrast, a maven is a Yiddish term that means one who accumulates knowledge. These are people who gain the respect of friends and colleagues for giving good advice, so when they recommend something, the advice is usually followed. (For example, as a librarian I try to be a maven of good books.) Advertisers are interested in mavens because their opinions carry weight. Gladwell gives several examples of the differences between connectors and mavens, the main one being that the advice of a connector is not always taken even though he/she may give it to more people (because they know more people), but almost everyone follows the advice of a maven, even though they may give it to fewer people. So a maven might have more of an impact on spreading an idea. It would be interesting to reread this book now to see how it holds up, because many of these ideas seem to have become part of the cultural zeitgeist. I think I would still recommend it to anyone interested in some pop sociology.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David

    In a work heavily influenced by the budding science of memetics (though he never once uses the word meme), Malcom Gladwell seeks to provide a framework for explaining why certain isolated phenomena (suicide in Micronesia, wearing hush puppies, reading a particular novel) can suddenly become widespread and why situations can suddenly swing from one extreme (rampant crime in 80s NYC) to another (the huge drop in crime in that same city during the 90s). Gladwell postulates three mechanisms of cultu In a work heavily influenced by the budding science of memetics (though he never once uses the word meme), Malcom Gladwell seeks to provide a framework for explaining why certain isolated phenomena (suicide in Micronesia, wearing hush puppies, reading a particular novel) can suddenly become widespread and why situations can suddenly swing from one extreme (rampant crime in 80s NYC) to another (the huge drop in crime in that same city during the 90s). Gladwell postulates three mechanisms of cultural epidemiology, the axioms of the law of the few, the stickiness factor and the power of context. The law of the few declares that change is often initiated by a small group of people (three different types) with an ever-widening pyramid of influence. Making up the first type are the connectors, basically human nexuses whose webs of important acquaintances (note that these are not friends) spread out in logarithmic vertigos of extension (e.g., Revere’s “the British are coming” spread more quickly than that of William Dawes because of the many people Revere knew in the towns he visited). Another group mentioned in the law of the few are mavens, whom we could term data strategists, their almost hobby-like information-gathering not just carried out to further their own interests, but to assist a broader sphere of people. The final set of individuals counted among the few are the salesmen, persuasive communicators whose instinctual ability to adapt the non-verbal cues of others and infect them with emotion is key to effecting wide-sweeping change. The second axiom in Gladwell’s informal theory is stickiness: the impact of the vector on the host, i.e., an idea or product must be memorable in order to spread; otherwise, it will not be embraced by the people in the connector's network. As a result, marketers must constantly devise ways to present products so that they are memorable. Of course, there is no ready-made science of what makes something catchy. However, the effectiveness of a product or idea’s packaging can be tested and tweaked, as Gladwell demonstrates in his discussion of how the creators of Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues try to ensure that children remember their message (in other words, learn the concept being taught). The final factor leading toward the tipping point is the power of context. This area is less well defined by Gladwell, and he unfortunately seems to be trying to herd together a host of disparate considerations under a single, handy rubric. The basic concept is that human behavior is strongly influenced by external variables of context. For example, "zero tolerance" efforts to combat minor crimes such as fare-beating and vandalism on the New York subway led to a decline in more violent crimes; the perception of increased vigilance altered the behavior and attitudes of the passengers. This theory of broken windows is well-known in sociology: attention to small details, reparation of seemingly unimportant (when looking at the big picture) problems, can engender massive change in a larger system (this is sort of the butterfly effect of sociology). On the whole, however, Gladwell has made an admirable foray into the construction of a theoretical model of memetic transmission and epidemiology. Building upon his layman’s approach, scientists specializing in cultural transmission might now begin testing his specific claims with an eye toward developing such a model.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Holy suppositions, Gladwell! There's a whole lotta coulds, may haves, apparentlies, perhapses up in here! Malcolm Gladwell's basic premise in The Tipping Point: To explain how word-of-mouth is spread. A couple of the examples he used were how crime was reduced in NYC under Giuliani's reign and how an old, dead-in-the-water brand of shoes seemingly suddenly were selling like hotcakes. But honestly, my favorite bit was the section on Sesame Street. It's interesting stuff, no doubt with some truth to Holy suppositions, Gladwell! There's a whole lotta coulds, may haves, apparentlies, perhapses up in here! Malcolm Gladwell's basic premise in The Tipping Point: To explain how word-of-mouth is spread. A couple of the examples he used were how crime was reduced in NYC under Giuliani's reign and how an old, dead-in-the-water brand of shoes seemingly suddenly were selling like hotcakes. But honestly, my favorite bit was the section on Sesame Street. It's interesting stuff, no doubt with some truth to it, hell maybe even all of it, but it seemed like every hypothesis put forth was followed by misrepresentation of studies. Scientists were quoted as saying that possibly their study pointed towards such-and-such a conclusion, and then Gladwell took it and ran with it. That's not the case through out the book, but even if it only happens once, it casts doubt on the whole freaking thing. There were times I hated this and times I actually enjoyed it. In fact, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, more than I wanted to. For you see, this is the sort of thing feasted upon by ladder-climbing, power-lunchers, who want to put Gladwell's theories into practice for the purposes of creating their own wildfire word-of-mouth epidemic in the exalted name of the great and almighty greenback. That sort of greed, rising above the heads of most of humanity to serve the bloodsucking desires of one, is repellent. I guess I'm one of the few who didn't read this about 10 years or more back. I resisted for a while, but succumbed to peer pressure and misrepresentation of the book's content. Regardless, here I am. I've read it and probably you have too. So I ask you, is this shit or is it genius? After all, this stupid little book managed to put its theories into practice and the damn thing blew up like nobody's business.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Malcolm Gladwell has written five books, all of which have been on the New York Times bestseller list. He is extremely readable. This now-famous book is about popular ideas and products, and how they spread through society. Starting off small at first, they slowly gather momentum until they reach a 'tipping point', where they take off and become fantastically popular. This book is all about the mechanics of how this happens, and the different types of people and businesses enabling the process. Th Malcolm Gladwell has written five books, all of which have been on the New York Times bestseller list. He is extremely readable. This now-famous book is about popular ideas and products, and how they spread through society. Starting off small at first, they slowly gather momentum until they reach a 'tipping point', where they take off and become fantastically popular. This book is all about the mechanics of how this happens, and the different types of people and businesses enabling the process. The best bits for me? The illustration of how we are all incredibly different - how some people are freakishly sociable, others are freakishly knowing, informative and knowledgeable, whilst others have the charisma to sell you anything. Given Gladwell's clear examples I was easily able to slot a couple of my friends into these categories, and therefore relate to the ideas he was describing. These are the movers and shakers - the people who make things happen. He uses a wide range of phenomena to illustrate the idea of social epidemics - the rise to popularity of Hush Puppy shoes, a sudden decline of crime in New York, the success of the children's programmes Sesame Street and Blue Clues, the cleaning up of the New York subway, the spread of new corn seed in Iowa in the 1930s, an increase of suicides in the South Pacific islands of Micronesia, plus the reasons why smoking has drastically increased amongst teenagers in the US, despite strenuous efforts to discourage it. I was impressed by the wide range of his examples. My one criticism is that it was all rather predictable. The relationship between causes and effects were often ones I had heard before, or that I had worked out for myself. Unlike the book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything I didn't feel that I was being exposed to some really original ideas behind society's statistics. Still - an interesting read by an excellent writer. It clarified several concepts I already had, and made them a lot less woolly.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    Malcolm Gladwell shows us with this book that he is a jack-of-all-trades (or intellectual disciplines) and master of none. He very loosely weaves together existing social science and economic research to support his thin idea that there is a "tipping point" in all epidemics. While it was a page turner and interesting to read, his glib conclusory statements interpreting others' research was a bit jarring... For example, use of the word "always" when describing a social phenomenon is not a practic Malcolm Gladwell shows us with this book that he is a jack-of-all-trades (or intellectual disciplines) and master of none. He very loosely weaves together existing social science and economic research to support his thin idea that there is a "tipping point" in all epidemics. While it was a page turner and interesting to read, his glib conclusory statements interpreting others' research was a bit jarring... For example, use of the word "always" when describing a social phenomenon is not a practice to which most trained social scientists would subscribe. I was also hoping for more practical advice resulting from his work, but not much was to be found other than that many complex forces (people, context, etc.) are at work in achieving a tipping point in most epidemics.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shahzad Suleman

    It has a number of eye openers and will broaden one’s vision to see how little things matter so much. A combination of lucid explanation with vivid (and often funny) real-world examples, the book sets out to explain nothing less than why human beings behave the way they do.

  15. 4 out of 5

    C C

    To understand "The Tipping Point," one must understand what led to its creation: In 2000, there were 5.5 billion people living on the planet Earth. Many of them were considered human beings, but a few were thought to be celery. The difference between the two categories bewildered the top dog breeders of the day. To help us think more deeply about the consequences of the problem, consider the following fact: If you were born after 1975 and tried to ride a bicycle from Iceland to Darfur, the chanc To understand "The Tipping Point," one must understand what led to its creation: In 2000, there were 5.5 billion people living on the planet Earth. Many of them were considered human beings, but a few were thought to be celery. The difference between the two categories bewildered the top dog breeders of the day. To help us think more deeply about the consequences of the problem, consider the following fact: If you were born after 1975 and tried to ride a bicycle from Iceland to Darfur, the chances of crashing your bike into a British nanny increased 13% based on the number of Blossom reruns you watched as a child. Whether or not your parents are divorced is immaterial, as is the amount of padding in your seat. Social Scientists had a term for this late 20th century phenomenon: "Whoa!" Meanwhile, in Canada (if that's your real name), a young, mild-mannered boy named Malcolm recognized the unique power of combining individual letters into meaning-units called “words.” He quit his job making ice sculptures out of rusted fenders and moved south of the border to America (the nation, not the ice-cream stand). His timing was impeccable. At the end of the 90s, America had just entered a period of reckless behavior wherein, with little prompting, Americans would try to arrange words into "sentences" and, if sufficiently coked-up, slap those sentences into "paragraphs." Conservatives like Pat Buchanan were furious. Senator Bob Dole went on Meet the Press and blamed his erectile dysfunction on syntax. The era ended suddenly on December 31st, 1999, when, according to a budding bow-tie fanatic named Bill Nye, both the year AND the century had run their course. Feeling threatened, Gladwell went on national television to declare "writing" is the radical, counterintuitive explanation for the existence of what he called "books" but what conservatives called "syphilis". The strategy worked: He signed a contract with the biggest publishing house in America, which then promptly issued his first minor masterpiece: "Writing: How Letters, Sentences, Paragraphs, and Chapters Add Up To The Thing That Came Before the Colon." From that point on, it was all gin and roses (until Slash and Hypen left the band).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    Inductive reasoning but still believable for the most part. Extreme fun to read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    1 Start - Horrible book. Yes, yes, even though I started this yesterday I did actually finish it. And after doing so, I regret reading this. Full disclosure, the subject matter didn't really interest me but I've been wrong before so I gave it a go. I'll never be able to get back those precious reading hours. There are two things that make this book, in my opinion, unreadable. The first is that the concept/central theme of this book is nothing new. Now, I know this was published ca. 2000 so I'm abo 1 Start - Horrible book. Yes, yes, even though I started this yesterday I did actually finish it. And after doing so, I regret reading this. Full disclosure, the subject matter didn't really interest me but I've been wrong before so I gave it a go. I'll never be able to get back those precious reading hours. There are two things that make this book, in my opinion, unreadable. The first is that the concept/central theme of this book is nothing new. Now, I know this was published ca. 2000 so I'm about 17 years late to the party but come on. I can't imagine how this book struck a chord with so many people. The idea that there is some sort of tipping point (clever) that causes certain trends, ideas, etc. to become phenomenon's. To me that seems logical and a no-brainer. I mean, duh. There are certain elements that cause certain things to catch on while others don't. I just wasn't impressed with the author's fervor and excitement in trying to explain a logical thing. I felt as if he was talking down to the reader. The second thing that made me despise this book was that the author leaves a lot of half-thoughts. He rarely finishes an idea all the way to the end and the book is full of cases that are unfinished. He leaves one example before he's fully explained how it relates to his thesis and begins on another. I found it irritating and a bad way to write a book. I have Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by the same author and while I'll probably read it, I need to cool down from this one before I can jump into another one of his (what I presume will be horribly done) books. Do not read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kathrynn

    Thoroughly enjoyed this easy to read non-fiction, business/sociology book. The author did a nice job putting information together in a clear, concise manner and I enjoyed the examples used throughout the book. Some examples used early on are carried through the entire book, i.e., Hush Puppies (shoe) fad, AIDS, etc. The Tipping Point explains the phenomenon of why some products, businesses, authors, etc become hugely successful (tip) while others never seem to break apart from the masses as anythi Thoroughly enjoyed this easy to read non-fiction, business/sociology book. The author did a nice job putting information together in a clear, concise manner and I enjoyed the examples used throughout the book. Some examples used early on are carried through the entire book, i.e., Hush Puppies (shoe) fad, AIDS, etc. The Tipping Point explains the phenomenon of why some products, businesses, authors, etc become hugely successful (tip) while others never seem to break apart from the masses as anything special. The author introduced the following labels: Mavens: People that are very particular about products. They thoroughly research products or businesses and like to stay in the "know" about many things. "Mavens have the knowledge and social skills to start a word-of-mouth epidemic." Mavens are the data banks. They are the messengers. * Enjoyed reading how Lexus dealt with keeping the Mavens happy when they had a recall. Neat! Connectors: People who KNOW a lot of people. Not just close friends, but acquaintances. Interesting to note, that a connector is not out for self-serving goals, i.e., authors acquiring massive GRs friends, but they are more observers who genuinely like people. They come off an airplane knowing names of several new people in their lives...People with the gift of "bringing the world together." Connectors are the social glue--they spread the word. Salesmen: People with the skills to persuade us when we aren't sure. They are the critical point for the "tipping" of word-of-mouth epidemic. Why was Paul Revere known for his "midnight ride" when William Dawes was not? Paul Revere was a connector. Why does one restaurant or book become hugely successful while another just as good (or better) remain fairly unknown? They had a Maven, Connector and Salesmen in their corner that spread the news of their product or business like a virus. I enjoyed the "Broken Windows" theory and how it was presented in cleaning up the New York Subway System and subsequently used to clean up run-down, crime-filled neighborhoods. The Magical Number Seven--had no idea. The information about Gore Associates (business) and how they are all "associates" with mentors in lieu of supervisors. They practice the idea that each building hold a maximum of 150 employees because beyond that and the employees no longer know each other or stay aware of what is going on in another department, loosing the personalization and job satisfaction... The last section involved smoking, trying to quit smoking and teen smoking. Wow! Some really good ideas presented here. This section also touched on peer pressure. How teens attempted or copied the Columbine shootings and why, how teens have suicide "epidemics" and why. Why do teens want to smoke? The Afterword that the author added to this book was neat because he addressed e-mail and it's overuse. He used the telephone as an example. Telemarketers, etc. Fax machines. All were neat when they weren't overused, now we are inundated with e-mails everyday and we don't take the time to respond to most and if we do, it's usually very short. A lot of good information packed into this book for business as well as sociology.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Natali

    This is Gladwell's most thorough book. It has everything that I wanted from Outliers and Blink: research, diagnosis, and a clear call to action. Although admittedly, the research is not quite as fun as it is in his two following books. If I had Gladwell's attention, I would ask him this: How do you capitalize on your role as either a Connector, Maven, or Salesmen? And what if you are none of the above, but rather a part of the phenomenon-following mob? Can you aspire to a different role than the This is Gladwell's most thorough book. It has everything that I wanted from Outliers and Blink: research, diagnosis, and a clear call to action. Although admittedly, the research is not quite as fun as it is in his two following books. If I had Gladwell's attention, I would ask him this: How do you capitalize on your role as either a Connector, Maven, or Salesmen? And what if you are none of the above, but rather a part of the phenomenon-following mob? Can you aspire to a different role than the one you are naturally gifted with? I identified with the Maven, as I'm sure most journalists do. So what do I do with that beyond disseminating news and culture? Can a Maven be a trend setter or a Connector? Since I don't have Gladwell's attention, I guess that is rhetorical. One thing I love about Gladwell is that he presents strong theory and analysis in a way that allows for variance. One of my favorite quotes from this book: "That's why social change is so volatile and so often inexplicable, because it is the nature of all of us to be volatile and inexplicable."

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eric_W

    I first read about this concept several years ago in a New Yorker article that discussed the theory of epidemics as it relates to crime, particularly the power of context. A book (Fixing Broken Windows Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities by George Kelling) proposed that police should spend more time dealing with the little things, e.g., arresting people for public drunkenness, going after the street hookers small-time dope dealers, rather than putting resources into the high-pr I first read about this concept several years ago in a New Yorker article that discussed the theory of epidemics as it relates to crime, particularly the power of context. A book (Fixing Broken Windows Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities by George Kelling) proposed that police should spend more time dealing with the little things, e.g., arresting people for public drunkenness, going after the street hookers small-time dope dealers, rather than putting resources into the high-profile, big crimes. "If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge." This theory was adopted by David Gunn, the new director of the New York Transit System, after Kelling was brought in as a consultant. New York and the subway system were in the throes of a terrible crime wave (remember Bernard Goetz?). Gunn had the transit cops arrest fare-beaters, and they never allowed a graffiticovered car to enter service. The kids would spend three nights painting cars and then the workers would paint over what the kids had done. "It was a message to them. If you want to spend three nights of your time vandalizing a train, fine. But it's never going to see the light of day." The cops, at first angry they were spending time arresting simple fare-beaters — after all, only $1.25 was at stake — discovered that many of those they caught had records and were carrying guns, and many had outstanding warrants, and an important signal was being sent. In less than six years, the subway system became one of the safest. Mayor Giuliani hired the top transit cop to implement the same theory city-wide. The emphasis was now on the socalled "minor" stuff, the "squeegee men" who extorted money from drivers at intersections, public urination, throwing trash on the streets, and other "minor" crimes. The effect was sensational. The crime rate in New York plummeted. The murder rate fell to one of the lowest in the nation. Context was everything. Studies over the years have revealed that we are mistaken when we view character as something innate, and that we overestimate the importance of character traits when it comes to interpreting other people's behavior. It turns out that "character isn't what we think it is, or rather, what we want it to be. . . It's more like a bundle of habits and tendencies and interests, loosely bound together and dependent, at certain times, on circumstance and context." Broken Windows and the Power of Context theory say "that the criminal — far from being someone who acts for fundamental, intrinsic reasons and who lives in his own world — is actually someone acutely sensitive to his environment, who is alert to all kinds of cues, and who is prompted to commit crimes based on his perception of the world around him." The book is much more than about crime and its causes. Gladwell is interested in systems and why certain people and linkages can create social epidemics, be they the purchasing of certain items in a store or how children react to concepts on television. Ideas and messages spread just the way viruses do, and if a certain mass is reached the epidemic begins and is caught by millions. Why do we remember Paul Revere's ride, but not the other fellow who set off in a different direction but carried the same message in the same manner? Gladwell has an explanation. He had two things going for him. He was a "connector," i.e., he knew and was known by almost everyone in the Boston area, but he was also a "maven," an individual that collected information about the regulars. Gladwell has filled the book with lively anecdotes that support the data he is presenting, making a fascinating read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dru

    I can see now that the Freakonomics boys took quite a few pages out of this book. The Tipping Point launched the trend of examining social experiments with results that are, to use Mr. Gladwell's phrase, "wildly counterintuitive". I breezed right through this one--the most popular books always seem to be quick reads--because I was so caught up in Gladwell's straightforward style of writing and fascinating subject matter. (I particularly enjoyed the Sesame Street/Blue's Clues experiments.) The I can see now that the Freakonomics boys took quite a few pages out of this book. The Tipping Point launched the trend of examining social experiments with results that are, to use Mr. Gladwell's phrase, "wildly counterintuitive". I breezed right through this one--the most popular books always seem to be quick reads--because I was so caught up in Gladwell's straightforward style of writing and fascinating subject matter. (I particularly enjoyed the Sesame Street/Blue's Clues experiments.) The book only lags (and then only slightly) towards the very end with his "case studies". Someone named DeeDee Gordon, whom Gladwell tells us is an expert in spotting "trendsetters", delivers the following monologue: "I've run into trendsetters who look completely Joe Regular Guy. I can see Joe Regular Guy at a club listening to some totally hard-core band playing, and I say to myself, omigod, what's that guy doing here, and that totally intrigues me, and I have to walk up to him and say, hey, you're really into this band. What's up? You know what I mean? I look at everything. If I see Joe Regular Guy sitting in a coffee shop, and everyone around him has blue hair, I'm going to gravitate toward him because, hey, what's Joe Regular Guy doing in a coffee shop with people with blue hair?" What's sad is that almost everyone knows someone who talks like this. And sometimes we want to punch them. I mean, can you even imagine these "Joe Regular Guy" scenarios actually occurring? First at the club: DeeDee Gordon: Hey, Joe Regular Guy... JRG: Pardon me? DeeDee Gordon: You're really into this band. What's up? JRG: They're okay, I guess. What do you mean? DeeDee Gordon: You really intrigue me, Joe Regular Guy. JRG: My name is Ted. DeeDee Gordon: I want to know what Joe Regular Guy is doing listening to a band. In a club. JRG: Are you hitting on me? DeeDee Gordon: Is this a new trend I spy, Joe Regular Guy? JRG: I'm going to go stand over there. (JRG leaves) DeeDee Gordon: I wonder what Joe Regular Guy is doing standing over there? Or, in the coffee shop: DeeDee Gordon: Hey there. JRG: Um, hello. DeeDee Gordon: What's Joe Regular Guy doing in a coffee shop with people with blue hair? Blue Hair #1: She has identified our leader! Blue Hair #2: Pummel her! (Joe Regular Guy and blue-haired acolytes pummel Deedee Gordon) At least that's what I hope would happen. Anyway, good book, this.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Belhor

    This is a book on epidemics. In this book, Malcolm tries to explain, with the wit, clarity and beauty you'd expect from him, the way something small and insignificant turns into a huge wave. The book started slow and gradually became more and more interesting. I loved chapter 7, which was partly about smoking. I always knew there was something fundamentally wrong about anti-smoking campaigns. Turns out I was right! Here I just want to note the beauty of mass data gathering. Without mass data, th This is a book on epidemics. In this book, Malcolm tries to explain, with the wit, clarity and beauty you'd expect from him, the way something small and insignificant turns into a huge wave. The book started slow and gradually became more and more interesting. I loved chapter 7, which was partly about smoking. I always knew there was something fundamentally wrong about anti-smoking campaigns. Turns out I was right! Here I just want to note the beauty of mass data gathering. Without mass data, the late parts of the book, in my opinion, could not have existed. For example we always had data on anti-smoking campaigns, the money the spent and the results they got. But it's only when you have access to limited but wast amounts of data that you can really figure out what is going on inside the system. Now, this is the first lesson of the Tipping Point: Starting epidemics requires concentrating your efforts in a few key areas. The second lesson of the tipping point is that whether we like it or not, our intuitions are often wrong. People and organizations that start the epidemics don't stumble upon them by chance. They deliberately test their intuitions. What we need to understand is that human communication has its own set of unusual and often counter-intuitive rules. Here again, mass gathering of data and analysis comes into play. The final and maybe the most important lesson of tipping point is that change is possible! That people can radically transform their behaviors and their beliefs in the face of the right kind of impetus. This also has ties to problems of free will. I think here we can see that the best philosophy is explained by compatibilism (soft determinism)! Here we can see that our understanding of freedom must change radically. I can go on, but I don't want to!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    I bought this book for half price at Borders. I should have thought to myself: "Hey, there's probably a reason this book is on the half price table." But I didn't. I bought the book. The best way I can describe this one is to remind people of what it was like to take an essay exam for a liberal arts course in college. You have a full hour to fashion a coherent thesis out of the trivia you've learned over the past five months. So you come up with a topic sentence, build up a head of steam, and st I bought this book for half price at Borders. I should have thought to myself: "Hey, there's probably a reason this book is on the half price table." But I didn't. I bought the book. The best way I can describe this one is to remind people of what it was like to take an essay exam for a liberal arts course in college. You have a full hour to fashion a coherent thesis out of the trivia you've learned over the past five months. So you come up with a topic sentence, build up a head of steam, and start sprinkling in facts to build up verisimilitude. You're not really convinced of the correctness or importance of your thesis; you just want that A grade. When I went to college, the technique was called BSing. Malcolm Gladwell is very good at it. The only problem is that after about 100 pages, you can tell he's BSing. Like many journalists who write books, he doesn't know what to do with all the extra space he needs to fill. If I were his editor, I'd tell him to pare down "The Tipping Point," "Blink," and another BS extravaganza into one tight book. I would probably give that book three stars. This one only gets two. Sorry, Malcolm.

  24. 4 out of 5

    J. hothot

    I was one of those a-holes that referenced this book to my friends in casual conversation, over and over and over again right after reading it. I'M REALLY BRIGHT, I JUST READ MALCOLM GLADWELL, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT HUSH PUPPIES AND SESAME STREET. That said, it was one of my favorites in college and I still enjoy Gladwell's stuff, unashamedly.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference is a standalone nonfiction/educational business book written by journalist Malcolm Gladwell. As noted in the synopsis, "the tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire." Mr. Gladwell offers multiple examples of this phenomenon in various domains including business, education, religion, health, and crime. My husband ONLY reads business books (how boring The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference is a standalone nonfiction/educational business book written by journalist Malcolm Gladwell. As noted in the synopsis, "the tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire." Mr. Gladwell offers multiple examples of this phenomenon in various domains including business, education, religion, health, and crime. My husband ONLY reads business books (how boring right?) and he has suggested this book to me on multiple occasions. When he shared with me the definition of a tipping point, I thought it was pretty much common sense and wasn't overly motivated to read this. But, my husband doesn't get excited over much in the reading world so I gave in. I have to admit though that Mr. Gladwell's thoroughness provided a valuable learning experience. I anticipate viewing business advertisements and public policy/protocol with new eyes now that I have a bit more insight into the psychology, sociology, and epidemiology behind them. Check it out! If interested, take a look at a Q&A with the author HERE.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nicko

    I've heard Malcolm Gladwell speak a few times at Harvard and had been interested to read The Tipping Point for a while. It's a mixture of anectdotes, psychology, economics, marketing, epidemiology and more. The principle focus of The Tipping Point is how small changes, can bring about large effects. With examples such as marketing of Hush Puppies shoes, the broken windows theory, Airwalk shoes, Paul Reveres midnight ride, word of mouth, mass hysteria and more. Gladwell really captures the spirit I've heard Malcolm Gladwell speak a few times at Harvard and had been interested to read The Tipping Point for a while. It's a mixture of anectdotes, psychology, economics, marketing, epidemiology and more. The principle focus of The Tipping Point is how small changes, can bring about large effects. With examples such as marketing of Hush Puppies shoes, the broken windows theory, Airwalk shoes, Paul Reveres midnight ride, word of mouth, mass hysteria and more. Gladwell really captures the spirit of human connections and the human need to feel part of something. A definate must read for anyone interested in looking at what moves people and how a small event can result in large response. I felt the argument of this book proceeded very logically and was adequately developed and supported by the factual examples. That argument is essentially this: that many social trends and phenomena follow the same basic pattern as epidemics; that they follow the same pattern because they are caused and sustained in much the same way; that the difference between trends that get past the "tipping point" and those that do not may often be one or more very small factors; and that if one wants to create any sort of social trend (whether that be buying a product or committing fewer crimes), it is important to attend to such very small factors. But for my part, I think Gladwell is a perspicacious observer whose insights here are original, interesting, and even useful.

  27. 5 out of 5

    David

    Malcolm Gladwell interests me for one reason only. I wonder how it is that this man's book spent many many weeks on top of the new york times best seller list?(But then again look at the new york times best sellers list.) What struck me the most about this book is its total lack of in depth analysis. The question which lead to the writing of this book has to do with how fads start. He explains the process of what takes place in order for a fad to happen with the implication that if these steps a Malcolm Gladwell interests me for one reason only. I wonder how it is that this man's book spent many many weeks on top of the new york times best seller list?(But then again look at the new york times best sellers list.) What struck me the most about this book is its total lack of in depth analysis. The question which lead to the writing of this book has to do with how fads start. He explains the process of what takes place in order for a fad to happen with the implication that if these steps are not met then the fad will not happen. This to a certain point is interesting, where the book disappoints is that he never gets into why one fad is started presumably at the expense of another. Suppose we have two things in the possession of a connector/maven, why does this maven/connector choose one thing over the other. Presumably these types of people also own other things and wear more than one pair of shoes or pants. Why the Levi's instead of the Dockers or the Nike's instead of the Reeboks?

  28. 4 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    An interesting book about how fads, social movements, and learning occur. Lots of simple social theory combined with very concrete, specific examples from our current world.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Angela Blount

    2 Stars Note: I listened to the audiobook. Gladwell reads his own work, and the vocal effect is generally pleasing. Having first read Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, this earlier work of Gladwell's was a bit disappointing. The premise is intriguing, particularly from a sociological and marketing standpoint. Gladwell explores numerous factors that seem to provide compelling explanations as to why certain products or ideas (intentionally or otherwise) become virulent phenomenon, wh 2 ½ Stars Note: I listened to the audiobook. Gladwell reads his own work, and the vocal effect is generally pleasing. Having first read Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, this earlier work of Gladwell's was a bit disappointing. The premise is intriguing, particularly from a sociological and marketing standpoint. Gladwell explores numerous factors that seem to provide compelling explanations as to why certain products or ideas (intentionally or otherwise) become virulent phenomenon, while others simply fade into obscurity. On the one hand, there's no denying this book is dated. The studies mentioned are largely from the early to mid-90's, though he goes back in the epilogue to revise some of his examples (particularly of epidemic youth suicide in Micronesia—which he initially tried to parallel to teen smoking in the U.S., but amended with a far more fitting claim regarding school shootings in the post-Columbine era.) On the other hand...there are a few takeaway concepts that could possibly be considered timeless if properly translated to one's own field/situation: the law of the few, the power of context, and the stickyness factor. But an instructional guide, this book is not. Repetition is overused, at times, to the point of tedium. (While he suggests this principle worked well for certain children's TV shows, it was perhaps not the most effective approach to his target audience.) To this reader, the most fascinating part of the book involves the history of Sesame Street and Blue's Clues, two of the most successful and effectively educational children's TV programs to date. I'd previously had no idea of many studies and tweaking went into the production of these shows. (Although, some information on their long-term effects would have felt a bit more meaningful.) Historically speaking, the story he kept coming back to about Paul Revere's midnight ride was thought-provoking. Even if it did sometimes seem this was being used to force the author's point rather than to point the readers toward their own conclusions. The author makes some interesting observations—some that may very well have some credence. But then, in many instances, he seems to go the unnecessary extra mile of drawing problematic (if not outright faulty) conclusion. One glaring example would be his early-on illustration involving the AIDs virus: In mentioning an anomalous 1950's epidemic among newborns, Gladwell says of the lead scientist, "Goudsmit thinks that this was an early HIV epidemic." This is an interesting bit of speculation. He follows that up with a connect-the-dot's trail of how an AIDs-infected adult could have passed the virus on to a woman who became pregnant, infecting her own baby in-utero, and how the practice of sharing out unsterilized needles could possibly have spread the virus through the maternity ward. The problem isn't Goudsmit's possible-yet-unproven scenario. The problem I have (which many have pointed out before me) is that Gladwell takes this and runs with it, making oddly definite statements like: "They defeated HIV"(in reference to the surviving infants) and "The strains of HIV circulating in the 1950s were a lot different from the HIV circulating today." Those are pretty bold leaps to make without citing any evidence beyond the anecdotal. And unfortunately, because this came so early on in the book, Gladwell's later postulations were then brought into serious question in the mind of this reader.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mahlon

    Malcolm Gladwell discusses how trends spread, or reach their "Tipping Point" in this thought provoking book. He identifies 3 Laws in his theory: 1. The law of the few: Gladwell identifies 3 types of people that aid in "tipping" trends: Connecters- Socially outgoing people who seem to know everyone (he cites Paul Revere as an example) Mavens- A person who likes to collect information on various subjects or products, and delights in distributing it to friends to aid in their decision making process. Malcolm Gladwell discusses how trends spread, or reach their "Tipping Point" in this thought provoking book. He identifies 3 Laws in his theory: 1. The law of the few: Gladwell identifies 3 types of people that aid in "tipping" trends: Connecters- Socially outgoing people who seem to know everyone (he cites Paul Revere as an example) Mavens- A person who likes to collect information on various subjects or products, and delights in distributing it to friends to aid in their decision making process. A maven also knows where the deals are. For example if you want to buy a car but have no idea which model gets the best gas mileage, you might want to seek out a maven. Salesmen- A person blessed with the gifts of gab and empathy, they are able to persuade people. 2. Stickyness Factor: The art of making a message memorable- Gladwell examines the world of children's television for examples of this. 3. The Power of Context: The law of 150: 150 people is the maximum amount that we can have in our circle of friends and still maintain a meaningful relationship with. I was skeptical of this until I looked at my facebook page, and saw that my friend list is nearing 150. Gladwell uses these examples and other enthralling case studies to drive home his points. I was surprised at the writing style employed in the book. It wasn't poor by any means, it was just very repetitive. While I can understand that the author did this to ensure that his ideas stick with the reader, it got annoying rather quickly. Gladwell also cited many sources verbatim, using long block quotes, which made some sections of the book tough to wade through. Also he needed better organization, the chapters were too long. The Tipping Point is a quick read, and a must-read for anyone with a business, marketing, or management background. However, the case studies are so intriguing that they should interest the casual reader as well. This was my #1 book of 2000, and made my Top 25 of the decade as well.

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