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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Kindle Edition
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“A wonderful page-turner about a fascinating idea that should affect the way every thinking person looks at the world.” —Michael Lewis
For example, Paul Revere was able to galvanize the forces of resistance so effectively in part because he was what Gladwell calls a "Connector": he knew just about everybody, particularly the revolutionary leaders in each of the towns that he rode through. But Revere "wasn't just the man with the biggest Rolodex in colonial Boston," he was also a "Maven" who gathered extensive information about the British. He knew what was going on and he knew exactly whom to tell. The phenomenon continues to this day--think of how often you've received information in an e-mail message that had been forwarded at least half a dozen times before reaching you.
Gladwell develops these and other concepts (such as the "stickiness" of ideas or the effect of population size on information dispersal) through simple, clear explanations and entertainingly illustrative anecdotes, such as comparing the pedagogical methods of Sesame Street and Blue's Clues, or explaining why it would be even easier to play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon with the actor Rod Steiger. Although some readers may find the transitional passages between chapters hold their hands a little too tightly, and Gladwell's closing invocation of the possibilities of social engineering sketchy, even chilling, The Tipping Point is one of the most effective books on science for a general audience in ages. It seems inevitable that "tipping point," like "future shock" or "chaos theory," will soon become one of those ideas that everybody knows--or at least knows by name. --Ron Hogan--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B000OT8GD0
- Publisher : Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (November 1, 2006)
- Publication date : November 1, 2006
- Language : English
- File size : 1012 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 298 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #29,954 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2016
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The first concept Gladwell discusses is the law of the few. This concept states that there are a few people who will push an idea until it gains a lot of popularity. These people can be broken up into three categories: connectors, mavens, and salesmen. Connectors are people that have many social connections, and can create relationships, deals, and connections that may have otherwise not occurred. Mavens are the people who feel passionately about the trend that is expanding, and help to sell its ideas to others over other choices. Mavens give information to other consumers that help them to make well-versed decisions. Last, salesmen are the people who have unusual charm and charisma, who are able to persuade other people’s buying decisions.
The first example that Gladwell uses is the spread of syphilis in the streets of Baltimore. He applies his the law of few concept to this scenario by pointing out that there are many people in the city who fit his model of connector, maven, or salesmen; who helped to contribute to the spread of the disease. One of these people is “Darnell ‘Boss Man’ McGee. He was big- over six feet- and charming, a talented skater, who wowed young girls with his exploits on the rink,” (20). His charming personality easily allowed him to persuade girls to do what he wanted, which is a perfect fit for Gladwell’s law of the few. McGee is an easy fit for Gladwell’s salesmen concept, because he is able to easily convince and persuade people to make decisions. There is truth to Gladwell’s concepts, because McGee was a huge instigator in the spread of syphilis, and he fits Gladwell’s mold of the salesmen so perfectly there can be no denying his involvement in the advancement of the disease.
The next key concept that Gladwell introduces is his idea of the stickiness factor. This concept states that a trend cannot become popular unless it is memorable and sticks to the minds of those who encounter it. This concept usually cannot be applied to the spread of diseases, but is crucial to other kinds of trends such as a business selling a product. The stickiness factor is simple, but essential to a trend’s success, if something is not memorable, then it cannot become a popular idea or product. Gladwell uses examples from television in order to explain the uses and importance of the stickiness factor. He talks about Joan Ganz Cooney’s, “show… that was contagious enough it could serve as an educational Tipping Point: giving children from disadvantaged homes a leg up once they began elementary school… lingering long enough to have an impact well after the children stopped watching the show,” (89). Cooney’s plan would later turn into Sesame Street which not only achieved this goal, but received great popularity and praise for doing so as well. Sesame Street won such praise for meeting this goal because teaching is usually done to target a child’s strengths and weaknesses, which is extremely difficult to do through television because there is a set script that cannot be changed and must effectively teach all the children that may be watching. The show’s founders discovered ways to still successfully deliver educational messages to children, which are still efficient today. These techniques are what give the show its stickiness factor, proof that a stickiness factor will help something gain immense popularity.
Gladwell’s final concept he discusses is the power of context. The power of context is an interesting concept that has largely to do with human nature. Gladwell’s definition of the power of context is that human nature is heavily influenced by its environment; the environment being not just a physical location, but the actual situational surroundings and social settings of a group of people as well. In his exact words, Gladwell says, “Epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur,” (139). In order to justify this concept, Gladwell used the declining crime rate in New York City during the 1990s. In this example, Gladwell states that the decline in crime in New York was due to a lot of factors, but mostly argues that the change in environment was the largest contributing factor. 1990s New York was a time that the broken window theory was introduced, which stated that many neighborhoods were becoming tremendously conscious of their own quality of living and would not allow even small signs of deterioration to occur; even a broken window. This made numerous New York neighborhoods a lot nicer, and safer, reducing the sale and use of crack cocaine, and violent crimes.
Gladwell’s concepts to hold strong truth in the world that we live in. There is no denying the fact that trends exist, and that they receive enormous popularity, and Gladwell’s concepts finally give us a sense of how this occurs. The law of the few, the stickiness factor, and the power of context all have clear implications on how trends spread, and they are all backed up in Gladwell’s historical research. The examples Gladwell provides are exemplary when it comes to arguing his points because they show all sorts of trends in history that blew up because of all his theories. The example I found to be particularly strong was the stickiness factor of Sesame Street. Sesame Street is one of the most popular children’s television shows and now there is a solid explanation as to why this is true. Gladwell was smart to use this example because it is relatable to a large number of people, which makes it easy for a large audience to quickly grasp and understand his concept that is the stickiness factor. This example is, in its own way, the novel’s own stickiness factor.
The concepts discussed in The Tipping Point are closely related to another book, which is entitled Made to Stick, written by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Made to Stick builds off of The Tipping Point’s concept of the stickiness factor, examining what makes ideas memorable. It states that in order for an idea to be memorable, it must meet these requirements: simplicity, it must be a concrete idea, it must be unexpected, emotional, and have stories behind it (Heath). Since this book even exists, it is a statement to how well written and truthful The Tipping Point actually is. Other authors want to explore the concepts that Gladwell created, showing his success in dissecting how trends are set.
I found Gladwell to achieve his goals very efficiently throughout the novel. He clearly shows his audience how his concepts create trends, and provides explicit examples of historic trends that prove his concepts to be true. For example, Gladwell used the spread of syphilis as his topic, applied a concept to it; the law of the few; and showed an example of it. In that case, he showed his audience the exploits of Darnell “Boss Man” McGee, a flawless example for the law of the few.
All in all, The Tipping Point is a must read because it shows so much light on how things spread, or gain popularity. Whether the reader is a doctor, trend setter, or even a chief marketing officer of a firm, there is valuable information for just about everyone. Even casual readers should take joy in learning about the causes of trend setting and maybe even find ways to apply it to their lives. Anyone involved in marketing should definitely give The Tipping Point a read because it contains extremely valuable information, in the three concepts of trend setting, which can be used to market any product.
Review by Ben Lundeen
Whether it is H1N1 or a social epidemic, epidemiologists help track patterns in relation to changes. Malcolm Gladwell in his book, The Tipping Point , uses the work of epidemiologists who evaluate how small changes gradually have a big effect on social events. Gladwell has a history of a very solid career working for the New Yorker, The Washington Post and many of his books have gained national attention like Blink and Outliers. The Tipping Point focuses on the minority viewpoint of epidemiologists. The author envisioned Tipping Point to show examples of past historical events, media, and how epidemiologist's patterns change people without a whole lot of effort or awareness. Gladwell helps the average person look at a world though a microscope of little daily changes in life in connection to their own. His past experiences and idea for this book came from talking to epidemiologists on the spread of aids in the 1980s. Aids is a worldwide issue today, but started out at a local scale.
Certain behaviors carry the traits of a virus. People tend to feed off the energy and nonverbal actions of others. The average person if they saw someone yawning or smiling at them they would smile back, if the motion was repeated enough and the circumstances were right. If you have ever remembered how you felt at a funeral, you remember your emotions run high. Once you think you have a threshold of pain, you see someone crying and most people mimic the emotion. In movies that aspect has played with people's emotions and has acted as a major selling point for the industry. In the movies Simon Birch and Shawshank Redemption your mind feeds your body emotions to act upon the visual images. Once you leave the room whatever feeling of agony or anger you felt vanishes. If you ever have had a child, parents can recall all the cute faces their kid has made. Studies show that babies are trying to mimic what adults are saying and doing through facial expressions. TV shows such as Blues Clues and Sesame Street have used two strategies to target the youth. Blues Clues used repetition by putting a 30-minute show on five times a week to get a simple message across. In a similar fashion, Sesame Street used magazine norms like 60-second trials of clips to engage its viewers to link characters like Big Bird to themes like the alphabet by tinkering the message. The youth don't mind repetition because each time their brains process the show in a different way and they want predictability in their shows.
Media affects us in ways we don't want it to and, at times, have no control over. Repetition is the key to why most commercials and billboards become so successful. Transitive property like a song to sell a product, under the right circumstances, affects our habits. Gladwell says it becomes irresistible to customers; this is referred to as the "stickiness factor." Another example is attaching an emotional message to a product like in 1954 Winston Filter Up Cigars Slogan, "Winston tastes like a cigar should." This was a simple message that got a lot of people to act on it. Sometimes commercials try to say too much and this creates a clutter problem. In 1992, Coca-Cola was the main sponsor of the Olympics, but only 12% of viewers knew this due to the massive amounts of commercials put on before and after their segment. It's amazing how powerful the human mind can become under the influences of outside media forces. The "stickiness factor" has changed the way marketers target potential age groups and teachers reinforce key concepts in education.
Social epidemics in the past have been documented in several different periods in history. The 1920s started with a minority group of women who started to express their feelings through nonverbal cues like short hair and more revealing clothing lead to a huge fashion movement and voting rights. This trend turned into the roaring twenties and inspired the youth to experiment outside the walls of their family's ideals to explore social experiences. In 1960's, Martin Luther King Jr. used speeches to inspire action for equal civil rights for the African American population. This was an example of "word of mouth epidemic" and change slowly started to happen. This was large part of the civil rights movement.
In the mid 1990s, Baltimore experienced a massive Syphilis epidemic. Experts pointed the causes towards: the type of people that lived there, economic status, and knowledge about the disease. Gladwell bought in a new theory called the 80/20 concept to explain the spread of the STDs. He said that twenty percent of the people do eighty percent of the damage or inventions. We use this concept to explain a lot of trends and issues in our society to the average person. Darnell "Boss Man" McGee was a coach in St. Louis who slept with 100 underage girls and single handling increased the HIV epidemic by infecting thirty of them. As a whole our culture maybe following and functioning according to the rules created by our constitution, but the minority twenty percent become the difference in an epidemic occurring or not in connection to a social trend. A couple more people like McGee take that path and it creates an epidemic issue for the rest of society to deal with. Not all epidemics are perceived as negative. Some of the greatest changes in the history of the world have been decisions made by individuals like Franklin Roosevelt to push the New Deal to tip the depression or cars being made in more than one color of black opened up a huge market for the auto industry to customize cars and break up the Ford Monopoly. How people react to situations will always be the X- factor; if an epidemic trend will turn into a positive or negative outcome for the people involved in it.
Cell phones in the 1990s became the center of media once they became cheaper and the epidemic eventually tipped due to the demand being so high. In the phone industry, this opened the door for new products with added benefits like the Internet with the I-phone and Blackberry. The market seems to tip and better products become available as the result. Social epidemics occur at the hands of exceptional people to create them. When trends tip it opens up the window of opportunity for new markets, people and products to shine or habits to haunt us. Let's thank Malcolm Gladwell for explaining the power behind the words "tipping point" in a very structured way to his readers.
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The one downside to the book is that it doesn't quite manage to tie everything together into giving advice about how to create a "tipping point" for your own business. It all seems to boil down to "know the right people", and "do the right thing at the right time". It can explain very well why "tipping points" have happened, but it doesn't explain so well how to create a "tipping point" for your own organisation or activities. If this is the kind of advice you are looking for, then the book is not going to achieve your goals completely. However, I must reiterate that it gives superb explanations of "tipping points" that have happened, these analyses are very thought provoking, and you could certainly take many of the lessons and ideas and try to apply them to your own business.
Just not a book for me, will put it in the local lending library and hopefully someone who appreciate it will pick it up!