Malcolm Gladwell provides a thoroughly researched theory he calls the “Tipping Point.” The Tipping Point argues that there are three factors that converge to cause social epidemics. The three factors he calls the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context. The book is logically structured to help the reader understand each concept, and then he brings them together to show that not every situation is clearly caused by only one of the factors.
The book is gripping from the first line to the last paragraph. Gladwell knows how to relate to his readers in a way that will help them understand the concept that he is arguing for, while fascinating them with concepts they may have never thought about. His tone seems somewhat causal yet he is so educated on the subject that it is very professional. The reader understands Gladwell is quite intelligent, but he never seems arrogant or matter a fact in his writing. The book is genuine in the way that it makes an effort to connect to the reader in attempt to help him or her understand the “Tipping Point.” By writing about human behavioral patterns, he opens the reader’s eyes to subtle findings that he or she may not have noticed before.
This book would be extremely beneficial to most of society. It would be particularly helpful to anyone trying to make a certain idea “tip” or in other words start a social epidemic. Gladwell examines different situations to fit each part of the “Tipping Point.” In the Law of the Few section, he uses examples such as Paul Revere and a businessman Tom Gau to explain that Mavens and Salespeople can cause these epidemics. On page 60, Gladwell explains a Maven is “one who accumulates knowledge.” Tom Gau was a Maven because he got pleasure from explaining his knowledge to other people for their benefit.
Gladwell uses examples such as Blue’s Clues and Sesame Street to explain the Stickiness Factor. He explains why Blue’s Clues was ultimately more effective in capturing kids’ attention because of their Stickiness. Sesame Street was getting their attention as much, Gladwell explains, because children pay attention to what they understand. The concepts on Sesame Street were too hard to understand at their level.
In the Power of Context section, he uses a story about a subway vigilante in New York, Bernard Goetz, that one day shot four young African American boys. The purpose of this chapter is show that people will do things they wouldn’t normally do under different circumstances. Bernard Goetz was a usually calm tempered man with a stable job and family. In a different context, it appears Goetz likely wouldn’t have shot the four young men. Gladwell also reveals the four young men had priors and between the four of them had stole, harassed, and raped women.
It is difficult to explain such large concepts in so little words. To fully understand the idea of the “Tipping Point,” you must read it yourself. It’s an easy read and you won’t regret it.