• Woody

The Tipping Point

Updated: Jul 14, 2020


At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am once again fascinated by the way Malcolm Gladwell's brain operates. The Tipping Point, his original work, is a masterpiece.

Like the last book I read, Switch (Chip &Dan Heath), The Tipping Point is a book about change. More specifically, it is about the type of change that happens on an epidemic level, spreading like wildfire.

"To make sense of social epidemics, we must first understand that human communication has its own set of very unusual and counterintuitive rules."

From Paul Revere, to fashion trends, to educational television shows for children, to teenage smoking, Gladwell examines and clearly explains the atypical and virtually unnoticeable (unless you know what you're looking for) things that can tip the scale, leading to massive change.

"Tipping Points are a reaffirmation of the potential for change and the power of intelligent action. Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push — in just the right place — it can be tipped."

As per usual, Gladwell doesn't offer up ideas about how you should live your life. He does, however, give you plenty to think about. It is up to you to determine how to apply Tipping Point principles effectively.

The first step for me: the kids have been introduced to Blues Clues and have been watching it all week.

Finally, this quote from Paula Geyh, Chicago Tribune, is one of the blurbs in the front of the book, and it sums it up way better than I can:

"...While The Tipping Point is largely a popularization of earlier scientific work in epidemiology, psychology, sociology, and group dynamics, it is valuable because it synthesizes this knowledge, bringing insights gleaned from these disparate fields together and applying them to an impressive array of contemporary social behaviors and cultural trends. Such knowledge, properly applied, could have enormous potential."

Like any of Gladwell's work, I can't recommend it enough.



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