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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Paperback – 14 Feb 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 242 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (14 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349113467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349113463
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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.

Review

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book. I'm always fascinated by Malcolm Gladwell's observations of people and how they behave.
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By Tee TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Aug. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A thought-provoking read beyond the surface of real life social events. Social dynamic observations of why Hush Puppies suddenly became trendy and how Kitty Genovese was murdered openly.
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If you're into music, you need to read this book, super useful information.
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This book is great
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Very good
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Amazing. Just read it.
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Format: Paperback
Since its publication, The Tipping Point has become one of the most iconic non-fiction books on the market, as well as the one that Gladwell is most well-known for. Loosely speaking, it looks at the idea that there’s a moment at which a cultural phenomenon hits a ‘tipping point’, a point of no return after which something will take off. Gladwell applies this to marketing, such as the rise and fall of Hush Puppies, as well as to things like crime and smoking, which can actually increase on a large scale due to things like graffiti, which can form a tipping point.

It might sound complicated, but it’s pretty easy to get your head around it once you start to get absorbed into Gladwell’s writing, which I guarantee will happen. It happened to me before, when I read Blink – he has a gift for taking complex subjects and scientific studies and making them easy for you to swallow. You feel smart when you’re reading it, and you should do – you’re learning things, things that you can put into practice both in business and in your day-to-day life.

Honestly, I’d recommend this book to anyone who works in marketing, like I do – the core concepts of it are valuable to both marketers and advertisers, as well as to communicators in general. It also introduces Mavens, which I’m not going to explain here – however, the concept of Mavens has taken on a life of its own, and it’s interesting to see how it all comes back to this book. Go read it!
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Format: Paperback
I started this book several times but it seems a conundrum about why a book about viral ideas wasn't able to hold my attention when everyone else was rushing to read it.

The main idea is that ideas, trends and social behaviours can cross a threshold. Before the threshold, growth is slow but after the threshold - or tipping point - growth becomes exponential.

The three critical concepts that the Tipping Point are based on are:
1 - The law of the few - how connectors (people who know a lot of other people), mavens (trusted experts) and salesmen (evangelists) can spread ideas quickly and effectively.
2 - The stickiness factor of the idea - how well the concept is able to stay true and pass from one to another.
3 - The power of context - how the idea fits with the prevailing environment.

The book is certainly wide-ranging from innocent activities like educational TV for children through to how syphilis, crime and drug taking spread through disadvantaged communities. For me that was part of the problem. I was reading the book to learn about how business ideas can spread quickly and effectively. The Tipping Point tells the story of Hush Puppies and Airwalk sneakers but I wanted more.

The heart of the book lies in the three factors which are little more than common sense. It is packed with thought-provoking studies of many different social issues but for some reason I found it much easier to put down than to pick up.

A book about compelling ideas should have been much more compelling to me but it has taken about five years to complete and about four sequences of starting and stopping. I finally took the book away on holiday with me, confident that such a popular book must contain secrets that I needed to know.
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