“WHY IS IT THAT SOME IDEAS…START EPIDEMICS AND OTHERS DON’T?” “What can we do to deliberately start and control positive epidemics of our own?” Early on, Malcolm Gladwell arms us with these two questions as readers prepare to dive into his highly engaging and controversial book, The Tipping Point.
Gladwell defines the tipping point as the one dramatic moment in an epidemic when everything can change all at once. He explores how cleaner subways can reduce crime, how Hushpuppies could go from a trend of misfits to fashion runways, and even how public health messages can be disseminated through hair shops. As Gladwell weaves through his analysis, he makes his point loud and clear: small steps can make a major impact on a major problem.
THIS BOOK WILL MAKE YOU THINK ABOUT EVERYTHING DIFFERENTLY. For example, Gladwell urges us to rethink the significance some play in making certain ideas “tip.” He describes the role of a Connector, or someone with such an incredible amount of social prowess that they naturally send birthday cards to individuals they met once, throw parties with diverse crowds, and have the ability to make a recommendation that could turn a fledgling restaurant into a thriving business. Surely, instead of screaming your message hoping someone will listen–it is more expedient to share that message through an individual with heightened social capital.
Right along with all its remarkable insights, The Tipping Point also carries its fair share of controversy. For instance, Gladwell states that “character is more like a bundle of habits and tendencies…and dependent, at certain times, on circumstance and context.” This statement is largely supported by the Princeton University Good Samaritan study which illustrated that even preachers can fail to help others in need when pressured by external factors. In order to read this book, you must be careful. On one hand, you can dismiss the limitations of the Good Samaritan study, and come to trivialize the role that character plays in decision-making. On the other hand, you could become so offended by Gladwell’s often simplified logic that you miss the point of the overall book. The key is to read for the message and avoid taking everything at face value.
This book is a must-read for anyone who has a desire to make social change. Read it now. Your mind will never be the same.
NEW INSIGHT: Everyone has a gift, but no one has every gift. Recognize the abilities of others. Work together. Build a movement.
“What must underlie successful epidemics, in the end, is a bedrock belief that change is possible, that people can radically transform their behavior or beliefs in the face of the right kind of impetus.”
“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.”
“Success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts”