In a work heavily influenced by the budding science of memetics though he never once uses the word meme , Malcom Gladwell seeks to provide a framework for explaining why certain isolated phenomena suicide in Micronesia, wearing hush puppies, reading a particular novel can suddenly become widespread and why situations can suddenly swing from one extreme rampant crime in 80s NYC to another the huge drop in crime in that same city during the 90s Gladwell postulates three mechanisms of cultural epidemiology, the axioms of the law of the few, the stickiness factor and the power of context The law of the few declares that change is often initiated by a small group of people three different types with an ever widening pyramid of influence Making up the first type are the connectors, basically human nexuses whose webs of important acquaintances note that these are not friends spread out in logarithmic vertigos of extension e.g., Revere s the British are coming spread quickly than that of William Dawes because of the many people Revere knew in the towns he visited Another group mentioned in the law of the few are mavens, whom we could term data strategists, their almost hobby like information gathering not just carried out to further their own interests, but to assist a broader sphere of people The final set of individuals counted among the few are the salesmen, persuasive communicators whose instinctual ability to adapt the non verbal cues of others and infect them with emotion is key to effecting wide sweeping change The second axiom in Gladwell s informal theory is stickiness the impact of the vector on the host, i.e., an idea or product must be memorable in order to spread otherwise, it will not be embraced by the people in the connector s network As a result, marketers must constantly devise ways to present products so that they are memorable Of course, there is no ready made science of what makes something catchy However, the effectiveness of a product or idea s packaging can be tested and tweaked, as Gladwell demonstrates in his discussion of how the creators of Sesame Street and Blue s Clues try to ensure that children remember their message in other words, learn the concept being taught The final factor leading toward the tipping point is the power of context This area is less well defined by Gladwell, and he unfortunately seems to be trying to herd together a host of disparate considerations under a single, handy rubric The basic concept is that human behavior is strongly influenced by external variables of context For example, zero tolerance efforts to combat minor crimes such as fare beating and vandalism on the New York subway led to a decline in violent crimes the perception of increased vigilance altered the behavior and attitudes of the passengers This theory of broken windows is well known in sociology attention to small details, reparation of seemingly unimportant when looking at the big picture problems, can engender massive change in a larger system this is sort of the butterfly effect of sociology On the whole, however, Gladwell has made an admirable foray into the construction of a theoretical model of memetic transmission and epidemiology Building upon his layman s approach, scientists specializing in cultural transmission might now begin testing his specific claims with an eye toward developing such a model. Really good book It read like a bestseller quick read , but had a lot of substance to stop and make you think.three Rules of the tipping point the law of the few, the stickyness factor, the power of context.Law of the Few people who influence Connectors super connectors eg Paul Revere William Dawes had the same mission as Paul Revere the same night but we haven t heard of him b c Paul Revere was a super connector knew who to rouse Mavens A Maven is a person who has information on a lot of different products or prices or places This person likes to initiate discussions with consumers and respond to requests They like to be helpers in the marketplace Salesmen people with the skills of persuasion Good at reading people entering into conversational harmony with them Facial gestures nods, smiles, frowns are key indicators Emotional Mimicry Studies showed Peter Jennings viewers voted Republican b c he unconsciously smiled while covering Reagan.Stickyness Factor Sesame street succeeded b c it learned to make TV sticky It did a TON of testing with focus groups of kids to increase stickyness how much kids remembered of each show They would cut scenes that didn t hold attention until each show was good Blues Clues did even testing and discovered that kids love repetition it plays the same show 5 times in a row and kids love it make the message personal to make it memorable The Power of Context Broken window theory NYC cleaned up its crime epidemic by cleaning off the graffiti from its subways Often to change human behavior you have to change the context the problem is presented in Stanford Prison Experiment by Zimbardo proved that context matters law of 150 a person can t know than 150 people, so companies usually start to fail at that point Gore Tex breaks up a company into 2 once it hits 150, because they ve found things work better that way. An Alternate Cover Edition Exist HereThe 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 IdeasGladwell Introduces Us To The Particular Personality Types Who Are Natural Pollinators Of New Ideas And Trends, The People Who Create The Phenomenon Of Word Of Mouth He Analyzes Fashion Trends, Smoking, Children S Television, Direct Mail, And The Early Days Of The American Revolution For Clues About Making Ideas Infectious, And Visits A Religious Commune, A Successful High Tech Company, And One Of The World S Greatest Salesmen To Show How To Start And Sustain Social Epidemics How the flying fuck did this piece of shit ever get published How on God s green earth did this thing become a bestseller Yes, I m the last person in America to read The Tipping Point, and I m glad I waited Now that all the hype has burned off, it s easy to see this book for what it is a very well crafted collection of half truths and speculation, sold as truth.Let s look at one example I read The Tipping Point as an ebook, so my pages might not match completely with yours, but it s the story about the AIDS virus, Chapter One, Section 2, page 24 In writing about a weird epidemic among newborns in the 1950s, Gladwell says of the lead scientist, Goudsmit thinks that this was an early HIV epidemic Nothing wrong with that Gladwell is reporting what a scientist thinks Gladwell then offers an extended quote from Dr Goudsmit, which is loaded with conditional statements this adult could have died of AIDS , he could have transmitted the virus , she could have given birth to an HIV infected child , unsterilized needles could have spread the virus Again, all well and good Goudsmit was speculating, and making it clear that what he was saying was not certain, but that it could have happened.Then Gladwell returns and destroys the careful foundation he had built by making concrete statements about things that a moment before were only hypotheses They defeated HIV , The strains of HIV circulating in the 1950s were a lot different from the HIV circulating today , HIV itself changed None of this is proven by any of the information Gladwell gave us All of it is speculation But Gladwell draws firm conclusions from things that are, at best, educated guesses I m sorry but that s just wrong Actually, I m not sorry What Gladwell did is so wrong it s unforgivable.I ve been a journalist for 20 years, and I work with some of the finest fact checkers in the world If I ever handed in a badly reasoned piece of shit like this book, they d tear me a new asshole No they wouldn t They re very nice people But they would tear the manuscript a new asshole, as they should More to the point, I have enough respect for myself, my readers, and my fact checkers that I d never hand in something like this in the first place That Gladwell thought he could get away with it and let s face it, he did get away with it is metaphorically criminal Fuck him. Here s why you need to read The Tipping Point You don t Look, it s not because the writing is poor, the concepts disorganized, or the book fails to instruct It s simply that the ideas are anachronistic This is no fault of Malcolm Gladwell He published in 2000, wrote in 99, and used case studies from the mid 90 s How could he have known he was publishing a book about social media on the eve of social media s inchoate move into our social DeoxyriboNucleicAcid, or that the overgrowth of social connectedness would evolve at rates understated by the term logarithmic.This is a snappy little book a good one for Thursday evening book club affairs I quite liked it Digestible chapters with jaunty titles, connecting for the reader complex sociocultural beliefs to gravid marketing slogans Pert discussion, and a context that builds on previous conclusions, leading the audience like an unbridled horse gently to water Gladwell, he s a good salesman, one that can close a deal without hiding a rotten premolar or repeatedly glancing at his wristwatch It s 3.5 stars.Nevertheless, if you ve fogged a mirror in the last 10 years, much of what Gladwell worked hard to synthesize in year 2000 is merely a matter of course in the mercurial, social, connected life we lead today Essentially the book is about marketing There s herein than marketing, but that s what I d like to focus on The title underscores a link throughout the book, viz., that no matter the medium, information reaches a tipping point beyond which it spreads above and away from any reasonable measure of altitude control He repeatedly uses the term epidemic, and I like the image that word conjures in my mind when I think of how pervasive and persistent and contagious marketing can be like the scene in Ten Commandments where the pestilence of God s wrath moves down from the moon and like a swampy yellow miasma flows through the streets of Ramses s Egypt Gladwell lays down some meaty discussion about the whys and wherefore s of the nature of networked relationships, using sociology, psychology, penal philosophy, genetics, pop culture, economics, archeobiology, and personal interviews It s a snapshot of a fossil, though He is in essence describing our world when information was still Near Real Time NRT , a military acronym meaning actionable but not exactable We upgraded that acronym circa 2004 2006 when information became no shit Real Time Real Time worldwide data is a phenomena we ve only recently begun to comprehend and manipulate Write a discussion about how your start up can triangulate consumers, and you ll have a lead story in Harvard Business Review Develop an android app that geolocates high volume consumers, and Starbucks will give credit to the first 10 people that check into their stores in Cleveland, Charlotte, and Chattanooga Twitter trends topics, not daily, but hourly Google Metrics displays global boolean traffic on word searches RIGHT NOW Crowdsourcing, flash mobs, hashtags I can set a Google alert that pings me the next time Brittany Spears has an inadvertent bush shot at the Palms Casino I can scan barcodes on my phone, and know by a factor of pennies where I can get the cheapest sun dried tomatoes I can listen to any law enforcement scanner in the country while sitting in my tighty whities in my fall out basement Gowalla, Foursquare, StumbleUpon, grooveshark, HTML5, mashable, MMORPGs, skype, Goodreads And the every present memes viral video memes, photo memes Christ, look at the major news networks during an election and watch the TV anchors in the studio move to the floating, diaphanous plates of glass and enlarge voting counties and predict elections with two fingered zoom.Malcolm Gladwell could not have foreseen the breadth and rapidity of tipping points in today s market No one could have not even industry leaders in year 2000 Tipping points are not isolated events any, like the slow resurgence of Hush Puppy shoes from 1994 1996 the most cited tipping point in the book, and one Gladwell considers by his own criteria rapid They are daily memes, forcing us into ever tighter circles of consumption, and causing many of us to brux our teeth when we lose cell coverage or go to airplane mode on our smart phones SMART PHONES a technology by itself that puts the rust on Gladwell s conception of tipping points Despite sound research methodology, and pertinent statistical evaluation, I don t envision many people going back to The Tipping Point It s like reading last week s headlines last year s Consumer Reports financial data from 2008 political promises from 2006 real estate values from 2005, or the Manhattan skyline on 10 Sep 2001 Maybe for an anecdotal dissertation by some students squirreled away at Weber State or Lehigh University, but other than that I think most of the 77,000 Goodread reviews of this book occurred much nearer the time it was on the best seller list in 2000 2001 There are 4 copies available at my library It ain t flying off the shelves any, and neither is the 1994 Rand McNally Atlas You dig But, wait, let s go deeper I dogeared these passages.Here are the titles of the 4 parts of this book I.EpidemicsII The Law of the Few Connectors, Mavens, and SalesmenIII The Stickiness FactorIV The Power of Context These are important constituents in marketing, but Gladwell speaks of months and years We both know it s days and hours in 2011 What was the connection between the East Village and Middle America The Law of the Few says the answer is that one of these exceptional people found out about the trend, and through social connections and energy and enthusiasm and personality spread the word about Hush Puppies. p 22 Social connectedness was an ephemeral measurement in 1999 Now organizations have followers see Facebook and Twitter and can measure their daily virility see the like button and most viewed videos on Youtube and watch their epidemic spread see trending topics on technorati or mashable or gizmodo It is safe to say that word of mouth is even in this age of mass communications and multimillion dollar advertising campaigns still the most important form of human communication Think, for a moment, about the last expensive restaurant you went to, the last expensive piece of clothing you bought, and the last movie you saw In how many of those cases was your decision about where to spend your money heavily influenced by the recommendation of a friendword of mouth appeals have become the only kind of persuasion that most of us respond to any. p 32 Yes, word of mouth is, indeed, persuasive But, today we are motivated and persuaded even by word of text Your friendsoccupy the same world that you do They might work with you, or live near you, and go to the same churches, schools, or parties How much, then, would they know that you wouldn t know Your acquaintances, on the other hand, by definition occupy a very different world than you They are much likely to know something that you don t Acquaintances, in short, represent a source of social power, and the acquaintances you have the powerful you arep 54 This is perhaps Gladwell s most prophetic statement I know people today having never met face to face than actual people I knew in 1999 Mavens have the knowledge and the social skills to start word of mouth epidemics What sets Mavens apart, though, is not so much what they know but how they pass it along The fact that Mavens want to help, for no other reason than because they like to help, turns out to be an awfully effective way of getting someone s attentionp 67 Today Lady Gaga, Kanye West, and Ben Affleck, combined, have followers than the population of Panama We have become, in our society, overwhelmed by people clamoring for our attention In just the past decade, the time devoted to advertisements in a typical hour of network television has grown from 6 minutes to 9 minutes, and it continues to climb every yearestimates that the average American is now exposed to 254 different commercial messages in a day, up nearly 25% since the mid 1970s There are now millions of web sites on the Internet, cable systems routinely carry over 50 channels of programming, and a glance inside the magazine section of any bookstore will tell you that there are thousands of magazines coming out each month p 98 Multiply all of the above figures by a factor of 10 to the 2nd power A rate of growth that cannot be compared by measuring from 1999 back to the existence of Abraham The spread of any new and contagious ideology has a lot to do with the skillful use of group power. p 172 The skillful use of group power makes me feel violated in today s marketing environment. I think missed the best by date for this book It s fun than an introductory course in sociology and covers some of the same material Reminded me of Bellwether by Connie Willis and William Gibson s Blue Ant series All looking for the point where people change behavior and a new trend begins.I loved the part about creating the children s education tv programs Sesame Street and Blue s Clues What worked with preschoolers, and what didn t.It seems likely Gladwell relies on his enthusiasm for his theory than fact That being said, I ll probably read of his books It s good food for thought. I wish there was another word I could use instead of sexy I mean it metaphorically, obviously, but I want to tell you about the thing that I find to be the most sexy thing imaginable and I ve realised that sexy isn t really the word I should be using at all You realise, of course, I m talking about intellectually stimulating or satisfying when I say sexy That is what I want to talk about the thing that gives me my biggest intellectual buzz.Look, it isn t any of the obvious things you might be thinking of and all of those obvious things this book has in abundance Not that I actually read this book I listened to it as an audio book, and that is important to say because I don t know if the book always has the afterword and it is something in the afterword that I loved most about this otherwise merely wonderful book As you may have guessed, we will be returning to this later What I m saying is that Gladwell is a sexy kind of guy anyway, even before he did the best of all possible things in the afterword of this book He is what I like to call an interpreter I think he even refers to himself as this somewhere He straddles a number of worlds psychology, medicine, marketing, social theory, economics and he draws lines between those worlds in the way one might if one was to place a piece of plastic film over another piece of plastic film on an overhead projector, so that what is written on both films of plastic merge to complete the picture in beautifully interesting ways Now, that is sexy but it is only level one sexy I love watching relationships and patterns appear and I love a good story and Gladwell knows his stuff when it comes to patterns and he really knows how to tell a good story Don t get me wrong, there is nothing the matter with level one sexy but it is intellectual foreplay and needs something to be truly satisfying.One of the things this book is about is trends How do trends start What makes it fashionable for kids to start smoking Why do books by unknown authors suddenly become best sellers How is it that two people can do much the same thing and he gives a fascinating example from American History to explain this and yet have completely different in fact, nearly opposite results Or why did Hush Puppies, a brand of shoes that had virtually died, suddenly become in the lingo of the streets uber cool Yes, I know, don t try being cool, McCandless, it really doesn t suit Essentially, he talks about a small number of personality types that exist in the world that kick trends along, and these types of people help make the virus of the latest thing spread to us all Those types of people are, communicators people who know essentially everyone , mavens people who know essentially everything and salesmen Sometimes we think that if we want to spread an idea far and wide we should find a way to get it to as many people as possible much like spam But when was the last time you bought something recommended to you from a piece of spam you received in your inbox See what I mean But I guess most of us know some car nut we go to when we are thinking of buying a car, someone who reads all the car magazines and maybe even spends his it is always a boy weekends test driving the latest models This is the sort of person who can not only tell you the difference between an overhead cam shaft and polyunsaturated margarine, but also why the cam shaft is better than butter In case you have not quite worked it out yet, I am not one of those mavens In a world awash with information much of which is lies although it is probably best we call it by its polite name, advertising we are becoming, ironically enough, dependent on word of mouth information from sources we know we can trust Now, isn t that a wonderful thesis and a direct confirmation of what you probably already suspected, but hadn t put into words yet I guess this might be the second level of intellectual sexy.The next level towards intellectual nirvana is when someone says something totally unexpected that makes my brains resonate in a way that I know will have me thinking for weeks And he did that this morning as I was walking back from the beach by talking about collective memory This is penultimate in the scale of intellectual sexy I knew when he said this that what he was saying was going to end up in my review.They did a test on people, they put people through a series of remembering tasks and they gave them these tests in pairs Some of the pairs were people who didn t know each other from a bar of soap and the others were people who were literally couples, people in relationships And the result Well, the people in the relationships did lots and lots better at remembering stuff than the people that the fickle hand of fate flung together Isn t that fascinating Doesn t that send a shiver down your spine But it gets better He then goes on to talk about why this might be the case and essentially he claims that we use our partners as a memory extension slot for our own brains In a relationship there is a division of labour when it comes to remembering stuff with one partner remembering the kids birthdays and the other remembering how to use the ice cream maker.And now comes the bucket of ice water that made me stop on my walk and think, God, now, isn t that really, really interesting Part of the reason people fall into a deep depression when they go through a divorce and I thought, perhaps even die shortly after their life partner dies may not just be that their partner has metaphorically taken away a part of their heart, but literally taken away a part of their brain It is that line from Laurie Anderson about when her father died how she felt like a library had burnt down I think from The Ugly One with Jewels, just before Speak My Language, but I could be wrong.But do you know what is the sexiest thing about this book And the reason why you should avoid a first edition and get an edition with the afterword It is that after he has built a pretty good case for something, made a rather good comparison that he uses to sustain the last bit of the book, after he has finished writing the book, after it is printed and done and dusted , he thinks about it some and makes a couple of major revisions to some of his thinking in the afterword that goes in a later edition It is utterly clear to me that if he had the chance to write this book again he would do it differently Essentially, the afterword is showing us how he would have made it different He is showing that no idea is ever finished with, no idea can be finally put aside as a shining trophy, only to gather dust and bird shit, but ideas are only worthy of that name if they are alive and alive things change and grow or sometimes they sicken and die.And someone who does that, that goes away and thinks about it even after it is done and finished with and then comes back and says, Actually, I could have done that a bit better, let me see if I can just say it this way Now, that is sexy that is the best This book is not nearly as good as Outliers, and I only read this book because I read that book But do you know what This book is good enough that if I d read this book first I would have gone on read that book too. The book that became a catchphrase The term tipping point has become so commonly used in news stories that I wonder how many people know it came from a book.I read this back in 2000 when I was in grad school for sociology It s a fun little book of case studies, many of which applied to what I was learning in my classes Here it is 13 years later and I can still recall many of the details and theories, which shows how interesting I thought they were Gladwell, who writes for The New Yorker, has a skill of weaving different elements and stories together into an enjoyable narrative The gist of the book is how information spreads among people why do some ideas products spread quickly and effectively, but others don t Are there kinds of people who are better at transmitting information Hint Yes, there are Some of the stories I remember best are about how Sesame Street was founded and its impact on literacy it s surprisingly high how to reduce the spread of HIV among drug addicts how the size of an office can enhance the feeling of community among its workers how suicide can become widespread in a region if someone of high stature commits it and how crime can rise and fall in a city.But perhaps the most salient concept I still use is about connectors vs mavens A connector is someone who knows lots and lots of people They are extroverts and are good at making casual acquaintances wherever they go In contrast, a maven is a Yiddish term that means one who accumulates knowledge These are people who gain the respect of friends and colleagues for giving good advice, so when they recommend something, the advice is usually followed For example, as a librarian I try to be a maven of good books Advertisers are interested in mavens because their opinions carry weight Gladwell gives several examples of the differences between connectors and mavens, the main one being that the advice of a connector is not always taken even though he she may give it to people because they know people , but almost everyone follows the advice of a maven, even though they may give it to fewer people So a maven might have of an impact on spreading an idea.It would be interesting to reread this book now to see how it holds up, because many of these ideas seem to have become part of the cultural zeitgeist I think I would still recommend it to anyone interested in some pop sociology. This book grew out of an article Malcolm Gladwell was writing for the New Yorker Frankly, it is better suited for a 5 7 page article rather than a 280 page book The crux of the book is that the stickiness factor of epidemics whatever the nature begins with a tipping point This tipping point arises because of three distinct sets of individuals mavens, connectors and salespeople He also examines the well known S curve which begins with innovators, then early adopters, followed by the early majority and finally, the late majority He is overwhelmingly redundant in expressing his ideas, providing examples of epidemics throughout the text while comparing them to one another children s television, Hushpuppy shoes, Paul Revere s ride, nicotine, and the list goes on and on The Conclusion, the eighth and final chapter, was pointless if the reader did not understand Gladwell s point by now, he or she must have been as lost as Washington Redskins new coach Jim Zorn when he commented his family was proud to wear maroon and black.All that said, the book was not horrible It was a well written first person narrative and the lessons of the emergence of epidemics are applicable to almost any career or lifestyle, as Gladwell demonstrated with his countless examples. Can I give this zero stars When I read this book, back in 2006, I got really mad and wrote a scathing review of it on.com Here it is I ve been duped , June 20, 2006By Sarah California, USA See all my reviewsThis book sucks Don t waste your hard earned money on it Let me save you a few bucks here Malcolm Gladwell is either a self aggrandizing ass who is too busy thinking he is the god of marketing to notice that a great majority of his arguments lack any kind of cohesion or credibility whatsoever, or he is just so excited about his self proclaimed paradigmatic keys to the essense of social epidemics that he conveniently forgets to include that much needed credible evidence to support his long winded theories, resulting in a book fit to satiate the appetite of audiences hungry for pop pseudo science BS that will make them feel smart for reading it Basically all this book is is a compilation of anecdotal evidence that is supposed to prove the truth in his words Gladwell s arguments clearly violate some very important rules guiding intelligent thought correlation does not imply causation and the fact that two events happened on one occasion at the same time does not necessarily imply correlation , and the idea that a theory is bankable because one instance of anecdotal evidence exists Umm, okay, that s like saying that I know a guy who won the lottery I don t, but humor me , so it must be a logically good place to invest my paychecks I don t have paychecks, but, please, humor me I mean, I m a 21 year old college student, and not even a GOOD college student at that, and I could easily point out the flaws in his arguments not just a single argument, but ALL of his arguments as soon as I read them I didn t even have to put the book down to think for a few minutes before I realized how absolutely pointless and downright ludicrous his insights were All that aside, his writing style is so patronizing and self congratulatory that I could hardly stand to read any than five pages at a time before my face got all scrunched up and I started uncontrollably muttering curse words under my breath It makes me sad that people read this book and consider it a revelation in modern psychological and scientific thinking, not seeing it for what it is an apparently very successful thanks, readers of America profit driven waste of time Gladwell made a ton of money off what probably only took him, like, 15 minutes to write, and THAT is the only thing genius about this book Yeah, I was kinda mad when I wrote that This book doesn t really do much in the way of illustrating how to market ideas rather, it seems like a marketing tool itself Gladwell sure knows how to create a brand for himself, complete with a legion of raving followers who can t think for themselves That scares me.