The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
I feel like this book is probably famous enough that I shouldn’t highlight it, but I have to. I found it so fascinating, and Gladwell’s other books so thought-provoking and memorable, that I feel like I’d be remiss to skip it just because most people have heard of it and read it if they were interested.
Even before reading the book, I’d wondered how some things became popular – how come it seemed like out of nowhere, suddenly everywhere I looked everyone was doing “x” or wearing “y.” What made some things blow up and become huge, while other ideas or products went nowhere.
Gladwell talks about this, with the key being the tipping point – the moment when something tips and becomes unstoppable.
I love the anecdotes, I love how memorable he makes the various categories of people who help make something “tip” (such as connectors – I’ve found myself noting people I know in real life who are great connectors.)
Heads-up, no, I do not love everything about the book – his ideas on teenage drug use I think are foolish, but that doesn’t keep me from still enjoying the book.
Another potential criticism is that the book feels at times more like a collection of vignettes instead of a cohesively organized book (perhaps Gladwell’s background in writing articles for the New Yorker plays a role in this structure). I actually enjoyed that; it made it easy to read the self-contained chapters and think about them before moving on to the next chunk of information.
The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.
To see all the books featured in 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads, go to the series page.
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