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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference [Paperback]

Malcolm Gladwell
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Amazon Review

"The best way to understand the dramatic transformation of unknown books into bestsellers, or the rise of teenage smoking, or the phenomena of word of mouth or any number of the other mysterious changes that mark everyday life," writes Malcolm Gladwell, "is to think of them as epidemics. Ideas and products and messages and behaviours spread just like viruses do." Although anyone familiar with the theory of mimetics will recognise this concept, Gladwell's The Tipping Point has quite a few interesting twists on the subject.

For example, Paul Revere was able to galvanise 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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Gladwell argues that many contemporary problems - from crime to teenage delinquency and traffic jams - behave like epidemics that are capable of sudden and dramatic changes in direction. Yet the right intervention at just the right time - the Tipping Point - can start a cascade of change and provide a method for developing strategies for everything from raising a child to running a company.

Book Description

The book that changed the way we think: The book that launched Malcolm Gladwell and gave us the phrase 'tipping point'.

From the Publisher

'The point of this book is to try to analyse the seemingly magical processes by which some products, ideas and ways of behaving cross a threshold or "tip" and take off -- and, conversely, why so many more fail. The subject should be of interest to most of us -- we all have products, messages or causes, after all, that we want to see advanced. But it is here much enlivened by the sort of easy, vivid illustrations which are fast making Malcolm Gladwell something of a journalistic star ... THE TIPPING POINT provides some profoundly suggestive arguments and insights. Its account of the pivotal role that identifiable individuals play in the spread of ideas, information and trends is, in particular, fascinating. It is also heartening: individual men and women can, it turns out, really make a difference' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

'Hip and hopeful, THE TIPPING POINT is like the idea it describes: concise, elegant but packed with social power. A book for anyone who cares about how society works and how we can make it better' GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

'You might be forgiven for supposing that the processes involved [in tipping points] are so complex as to defy analysis. Yet by applying a few simple principles, Gladwell seems able to dismantle them. What’s even more impressive is the way this staff writer for the NEW YORKER then lays out the parts and labels them in a language that is entirely accessible to the ordinary reader' TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT

'Gladwell soon fascinates the reader ... THE TIPPING POINT is full of interesting stuff ... Gladwell is intelligent, articulate, well-informed and thought-provoking' OBSERVER

'Genuinely fascinating and frequently startling ... It is a widely researched, closely argued investigation of how ideas, trends and social behaviour spread through populations, specifically of those cases where the spread takes on wildfire proportions ... Likening the spread of social behaviours to an epidemic of contagious disease, Gladwell’s project is to identify the factors that converge in the "tipping point", when such an epidemic crosses a threshold, or achieves some critical mass, and its expansion goes into near-exponential overdrive ... The way in which the material is arranged -– peppered with surprising statistics, telling anecdotes and human colour -– makes it chattily readable without being frivolous or condescending. It’s the kind of book from which you’ll be regaling your friends with intriguing snippets for weeks to come, in addition to being, potentially, a powerful, practical tool for anyone with an idea to peddle or a campaign to promote' SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY

'THE TIPPING POINT is one of those rare books that changes the way you think about, well, everything. 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' JEFFREY TOOBIN, author of A VAST CONSPIRACY

'Want to change the world? Find out how in Malcolm Gladwell’s THE TIPPING POINT. He has "the rules" for engineering social epidemics. You’ll see how to turn an idea, product or practice into a virulent mind virus that will sweep through society to become the latest craze, fad or fashion ... Gladwell’s engaging style brings to life aspects of social contagion research by weaving together some of its more colourful case studies and insights with his own anecdotes. As such, it is an excellent source of brain candy ... THE TIPPING POINT contains enough to entertain your mind and the minds with whom you share your dinner for several weeks ... By showing us the strings by which we are so often moved, Gladwell takes us a step towards our own liberation' NEW SCIENTIST

'A fascinating book that makes you see the world in a different way' FORTUNE

'What someone once said about the great Edmund Wilson is as true of Malcolm Gladwell: he gives ideas the quality of action. Here he’s written a wonderful page-turner about a fascinating idea that should affect the way every thinking person thinks about the world around him' MICHAEL LEWIS, author of LIAR’S POKER

'A wonderfully offbeat study of that little-understood phenomenon, the social epidemic ... THE TIPPING POINT is a very subtle piece of work, coming out with ideas -– not necessarily his own -– that make conventional solutions to social problems seem criminally naïve ... In America THE TIPPING POINT has already authenticated its own claims about the power of word of mouth. I bought my copy in Seattle. Moving down the coast, I spent the weekend in San Francisco, where my cousin borrowed the book and sat up reading it until the early hours. In Los Angeles, my hosts read the book on alternate nights and peppered their conversations with titbits from it. In Pasadena, I tried to buy an extra copy. "Sorry," said the man in the bookstore. "I bought the last two for my friends"' DAILY TELEGRAPH --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

'In the words of that now-famous book that everybody is reading, it reaches a kind of tipping point and people kind of get it' Bill Clinton

In this brilliant and original book, Malcolm Gladwell explains and analyses the 'tipping point', that magic moment when ideas, trends and social behaviour cross a threshold, tip and spread like wildfire. Taking a look behind the surface of many familiar occurrences in our everyday world, Gladwell explains the fascinating social dynamics that cause rapid change.

'The Tipping Point provides some profoundly suggestive arguments and insights . . . Fascinating' Sunday Telegraph

'Frequently startling . . . it's the kind of book from which you'll be regaling your friends with intriguing snippets for weeks to come' Scotland on Sunday

'Gladwell gives ideas the quality of action. Here he's written a wonderful page-turner about a fascinating idea that should affect the way every thinking person thinks about the world around him' Michael Lewis, author of Liar's Poker

About the Author

Malcolm Gladwell is a writer for the New Yorker and the author of several other bestsellers, including Outliers and Blink.
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