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VINE VOICEon 3 January 2009
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is an immensely readable analysis of what makes epidemics happen. However its not really about nasty diseases, although they do feature, but more about business and marketing. It is not just a social science book, but also a philosophy cum marketing primer for anyone trying to get something to take off. To me it seemed to boil down to two main things which may seem very straight-forward, but are immensely difficult in the detail and practice.

Firstly, you need to identify and get the right people involved to spread the word. Gladwell categorises these into three groups: Connectors - who know people especially across normal group boundaries; Mavens - who are gifted information collectors and distributors; and Salesmen - no more explanation needed there. Get one or two of them on board and your idea will begin reach enough of the right people. To illustrate this he uses Paul Revere's midnight ride to tell the people of New England that 'the English are coming'. Revere it turns out knew people and when he knocked on the right doors he was taken seriously. Revere's colleague who went in a different direction tried to do the same, he failed as he didn't have the same networking skills. This section was absolutely fascinating - I like the idea of being a Maven - sounds very grand.

Even more interesting was the second main premise - Stickiness. So you've got your idea or product out there, now how to make it stick and get staying power. Gladwell uses the landmark kids TV show Sesame Street as an example. The production team really worked on finding the right mix of puppets, humans, graphics etc to keep kids' attention and drum the literacy and teaching messages in in a positive way.

What was really fascinating here was looking at a kids TV show that came after Sesame Street - Blue's Clues! For anyone without recentish toddlers, it's a very simple show. Blue is a cartoon dog with a young human owner (Steve in the US version, Kevin in the UK). Each episode follows the same format - Blue sets Steve/Kevin a puzzling problem and gives him clues, they have a little adventure to find the clues, then he sits down in the 'Thinking Chair' summarises and works out the right answer. There are large thinking gaps all the way through to allow your toddler to join in. Then - the killer! You and I would probably call this cut-price television - but the Blue's Clues episodes are deliberately repeated to create that stickiness of information - yes you did read correctly - repetition really works, children get (or remember) the answers faster on the repeats! Meanwhile I used to get so frustrated watching the same episodes over and over again with my daughter when she was little and always wished that Kevin would change his shirt (consistency was part of the recipe). Now I know it's deliberate in this case, (but of course a lot of other non-educational programmes are just plain lazy).

There was much more to the book, but as you can tell, I really enjoyed it. Highly recommended.
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on 17 April 2016
Good value arrived on time
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on 2 October 2011
Great value for money, super speedy service and the book was in pristine condition! Excellent seller, very happy customer :D
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on 21 April 2010
Excellent and thought provoking.

Malcolm Gladwell's writing stimulates the mind and makes one never want to stop learning.
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on 14 November 2011
Good book, I recieved it quickly and read it quickly as well but it was well written and with good examples. I recommend it.
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on 1 November 2010
Another intriguing read from Mr Gladwell, providing us with a framework for understanding why it is that some products/ideas start epidemics and spread like wildfire. The examples, as expected are an interesting read ranging from explaining fashion trends, crime waves and teenage smoking. Fascinating to read about the social channel capacity, and the fact that Humans are engineered to function optimally in a group only as large as 150. Beyond that things just become too much for us! The broken window theory was also interesting as was the origins of the six degrees of separation experiment. The more you read you do feel that despite being able to articulate the key criteria for understanding the tipping point, it's more of an art than a science. There are just too many parameters involved.
However, Gladwell does summarise them well from a top down perspective. Essentially, what he says is that you need few influential/knowledgeable people, an advertising campaign to ensure that you message makes an impact and sticks in the mind of people, and finally appreciating that your environment needs to be constantly reviewed and tweaked to ensure that your stoking the wildfire to that tipping point.
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on 28 May 2016
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on 7 July 2009
High soporific value
`The Tipping Point' is typical of many (most) non-fiction books that come out of America - verbose explanations of the simplest of topics. The premise of the book is interesting, but using so many pages to repeatedly explain the examples becomes boring in the extreme; I kept saying, sometimes out loud, "get on with it". Soporific value is high.
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on 15 March 2011
I am happy that I bought it. Really good book. It is must read book to understand Word of Mouth. Good price.
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on 29 December 2008
I bought this book as it was recommended by a friend who said that it was full of some revolutionary ideas on viral marketing. However, I don't think they could have read it cover to cover and only really read about Hush Puppies becoming the latest fashion trend in the US. I did enjoy the book in parts and it certainly had some great anecdotes about how it is often the smallest things that can have the greatest effect on the success of a social project or marketing campaign. Such as how mending broken windows in New York and arresting everyone who committed an offence on their subway began to lead to drastic reduction in crime in the city. However, I found some of the chapters on Sesame Street and Blues Clues dragged on and laboured the point.

In brief the book is good, but some chapters are better than others. If you take the time to read it you will learn something about how the human mind can be tipped by the smallest detail.
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