Books

Book Review: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

Trends are important, and I’m not only talking about fashion trends but also epidemics and crimes. In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell goes over what causes that threshold which changes something from minor issues/incidents to a widespread epidemic or fad. He writes about the law of the few (one person can cause a change,) the stickiness factor (emotions, memorability), and the power of context (time and place matters,) clarifying that connectors (knows many people), mavens (knows everything and are helpful), and salesmen (persuade and are charismatic) influence our trends. The whole concept is interesting, and I think he has a point in a time of social media when word of mouth has potential cross borders.

As I read the book, I kept wondering about my writing and book publishing. I concluded that if what he writes about is true, then following the same pattern as everyone else is doing doesn’t work any longer. To start an “epidemic” for my book(s), I have to draw in those mavens, connectors, and salesmen but uniquely and with true emotion, but that ain’t easy. If it was, the ad-agencies would control every aspect of our lives (sometimes I think they do.) Anyway, all this is beside the point. What I’m trying to say is, that The Tipping Point is a valuable book to read for anyone who wants to influence others to change their habits or to those who want to understand how we change our liking patterns. For example, doctors who need to change their communities eating, health care, or exercise customs.

While Tipping Point is interesting and worth of your time, I find the argumentation problematic. Malcolm Gladwell has this habit of proofing concepts through individual cases, throwing a bunch of them together and saying that this explains why this and this happens in general. What he writes might be true, but as a reader, I would take any statement with a grain of salt because nothing is that simple and a concept to be proven right has to go through rigorous scientific research. That said, I liked The Tipping Point. It made me think about my own pursuits in a new light and understand trends better.

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