Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.
(Summary from back cover)

This is the first nonfiction book I've read in a while and it reminded me of what I love about the genre. I do love fiction a lot but there's something reassuring and concrete about nonfiction books. They're provable and real and tangible. Reading this book, I felt like I was learning something that would benefit me later on and improve me as an individual. There are definitely many fiction books that can have that effect but a week after reading The Tipping Point, I've brought it up in conversation and recognized its different scenarios in my day-t0-day life which is something that can't be said about any fictional book that I've read lately.

The things I found most interesting about Malcolm Gladwell's research and analyses were the little factoids about humans' interactions and natures that were tucked into the book. Like how there are three influential types of people that are the kinds who make things happen and who wield a great deal more power than anyone else in society - the Mavens, Connecters, and Salesmen. He gave examples and descriptions of people that he knew who were examples of those three types and it made me realize how I know people like this but haven't realized how much they affect my life and also the lives of my social groups.

Another thing I found applicable due to the recent turn of events my life has taken (NYC) is how Gladwell explained why the New York crime rate had such a drastic decline several years ago in comparison to other cities across the nation. The NYPD used the "Broken Windows" effect/study thing. To improve the subway system, all they did was clean up the graffiti and arrest the people who were stopping up the turnstyles. They figured out that if the environment is clean and secure then fewer people will commit crimes. It's like the dirtiness and law-breaking that was previously going on acted to give permission for other crimes to happen.

Malcolm Gladwell was able to take these complex business and social theories and break them down into simpler terms so that a 15 year old girl was easily able to grasp it. His descriptions and narrations were both funny and intelligent and this book was simply a joy to read. I feel like I learned a lot and that I will remember and apply this book many years from now.

I would recommend this to anyone looking for an easy nonfiction book. It's a memorable and fast read.

I will definitely be picking up another Gladwell book in the near future.



  1. I need to read this one! It's on my wish list!

  2. I'm so glad you liked it! If you loved being able to relate it to things in your own life, I think you'd really like Outliers. Even though it's about successful people it's not necessarily full of advice but it'll make you look more closely at the world.

  3. Read this book when it first came out a couple years ago - it's good stuff!

    L. Diane Wolfe


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