the name given to that one dramatic moment in an epidemic when everything can change all at once is the tipping point.
i know i’m about 15 years late to the tipping point‘s bandwagon, but i am so glad i finally convinced myself to read malcolm gladwell’s book. in his stories and studies, i learned a lot about the little things that can sometimes make a big difference.
why is it that some ideas or behaviors or products start epidemics and others don’t? and what can we do to deliberately start and control positive epidemics of our own?
the tipping point presents a number of different cases and studies – epidemics, as gladwell calls them – to find out what made them tip. why did hush puppies suddenly make a comeback after people essentially stopped wearing them? what made sesame street and blues clues so popular with children? what makes some things stick and others not? gladwell looks at all these examples, and many others, to dissect and determine who and what makes things tip.
epidemics are a function of the people who transmit infectious agents, the infectious agent itself, and the environment in which the infectious agent is operating.
gladwell takes the reader through his three change agents – the law of the few, the stickiness factor, and the power of context – to explain how the three work together to create epidemics. i will admit that he lost me a little toward the end when discussing the cigarette epidemic, but otherwise i found all of the examples very interesting.
in the case of connectors, their ability to span many different worlds is a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.
one of the things i really enjoyed reading about was the connectors that gladwell describes in the beginning of the book. i first heard about the concept a few years ago from maggie and have been intrigued ever since, so i was glad to finally learn more about it. it was interesting to read about connectors and think about all of the connectors i know in my life, the people who naturally bring others together, who always know everything about everything, and who seamlessly blend their worlds [i’m looking at you, katie walsh].
the point about connectors is that by having a foot in so many different worlds, they have the effect of bringing them all together.
overall i really enjoyed the tipping point. i learned a lot in reading it, and it was made especially interesting because my brother was reading it at the same time in memphis. it was fun to discuss various scenarios with him, and i feel as though it made my reading experience that much fuller. i am excited about reading another of gladwell’s books in the near future.
in the end, tipping points are a reaffirmation of the potential for change and the power of intelligent action.
my goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 // average rating is 3.87
crossing off the popsugar reading list: a book a friend recommended.
currently reading: finishing christopher mcdougall’s born to run and kazuo ishiguro’s the remains of the day this week! and continuing to make my way through a path appears and chamber of secrets.