Book Review: The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

We’ve all seen them come and seen them go. It’s possible we’ve participated in them, or in defiance, watched them pass us by.

I’m talking about trends, epidemics, or social change.

In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell gives the reader an inside look at how an epidemic or trend starts, who starts it, and why some trends survive while others fail. It all comes down to a tipping point…

“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire…”

Filled with stories, studies and examples, Gladwell has written us a rich study focused on human nature and the social acceptance of new ideas and changes. We see how people have succeeded, and how others failed. He talks about Paul Revere, Sesame Street, Crime in New York City, and the Broken Glass Theory. He studies how group size affects a message, and describes the types of people who give trends a new life.

For me, the most fascinating part of the book came in the chapter discussing a dramatic drop in crime in New York City. As a college student I had heard, in passing, about the Broken Window Theory,but never had a chance to study it in depth.  The theory basically says that if you want to change a neighborhood and eliminate crime, begin by fixing all the broken windows. Broken windows show neglect, and that neglect is an open invitation to criminals. When you cease to care for your property, you can believe that criminals will be soon to follow. Gladwell paints the picture of life before New York’s crime drop, he describes the tough decisions made to get the ball rolling, the ingenuity needed to continue with the plan, and the dramatic effects that came from the hard work.

The social sciences can, at times, be dry and make watching paint dry feel like an UFC title fight. I found, though, that this book is anything but boring. Filled with the colors painted by the stories provided by real life, The Tipping Point is example of how our lives can be enough to make a significant change in the world. In this book is the idea that anyone, anywhere can make a difference in the lives of millions of people.

I highly recommend reading this book.

It scores a 9/10

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One thought on “Book Review: The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell | Michael Palmer

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