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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

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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.

301 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2000

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About the author

Malcolm Gladwell

143 books34.6k followers
Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers—The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath. He is also the co-founder of Pushkin Industries, an audio content company that produces the podcasts Revisionist History, which reconsiders things both overlooked and misunderstood, and Broken Record, where he, Rick Rubin, and Bruce Headlam interview musicians across a wide range of genres. Gladwell has been included in the TIME 100 Most Influential People list and touted as one of Foreign Policy's Top Global Thinkers.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 15,810 reviews
Profile Image for Nick.
183 reviews145 followers
February 20, 2008
This book is fascinating and I was disappointed to read that many other readers didn't think so. So here's my response.

I think those readers are approaching this book the wrong the way when they critisize Gladwell for his inability to prove his points thoroughly. Sure, Gladwell could have dotted every i and crossed every t and shown every counter-example to the theories he's proposing. There's a word for the books that accomplish that: BORING. Gladwell is a storyteller and he knows how to keep the reader involved. By going into too much detail, he would lose his audience. Hopefully the reader who isn't convinced entirely can go into further detail by reading Gladwell's sources which are exhaustively referenced in the back of the book.

Another criticism is that Gladwell doesn't come to a specific point or that his points are hazy (this was probably more true with "Blink"). I almost want to say "who cares?" This book and "Blink" are veritable digests of the latest advances in psychology and sociology. So what if the overarching idea of the book is loose? You have now understood countless fascinating anecdotes which you can reconstruct in your own way. It is Gladwell's loose structure that allows him to connect these disparate dots in a story that you can digest, and despite the accusations that he is not precise about his overall thesis, the individual incidents are very well explained.

I love knowing the differences between Sesame Street and Blue's Clues and the differences between an adult's and a child's cognitive capabilities. Would I have read an entire book devoted solely to that? Probably not, but I was happy to read a chapter devoted to it, and a very well-written one at that.

Perhaps I approach non-fiction in a different way than most--and I will admit that I'm fascinated by almost any new, dramatically different idea about any subject, regardless of whether or not I believe it to be true--but I think that people who go into this book seeking a different way of thinking about the world around us, macro & microcosmically, will enjoy themselves. Those who go into the book seeking to be convinced beyond doubt that that way of thinking is the correct way, will not.
Profile Image for Jessica.
76 reviews59 followers
February 27, 2008
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.
Profile Image for Sarah.
7 reviews52 followers
July 6, 2008
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 Amazon.com. Here it is:

"I've been duped!, June 20, 2006
By Sarah (California, USA) - See all my reviews

This 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 more 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 more 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.
Profile Image for Patrick DiJusto.
Author 5 books60 followers
August 13, 2016
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.
Profile Image for Otis Chandler.
392 reviews114k followers
March 22, 2017
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 more 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 more 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' more 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.
Profile Image for Lori.
308 reviews99 followers
August 11, 2018
I think missed the best by date for this book. It's more 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 more than fact. That being said, I'll probably read more of his books. It's good food for thought.
Profile Image for Jason.
114 reviews629 followers
December 27, 2010
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 more 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 anymore, 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 anymore, 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.
II. The Law of the Few: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen
III. The Stickiness Factor
IV. 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 friend...word-of-mouth appeals have become the only kind of persuasion that most of us respond to anymore. (p. 32)
-- Yes, word of mouth is, indeed, persuasive. But, today we are motivated and persuaded even more by word of text!!!

Your friends...occupy 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 more likely to know something that you don’t... Acquaintances, in short, represent a source of social power, and the more acquaintances you have the more powerful you are. (p. 54)
-- This is perhaps Gladwell’s most prophetic statement. I know more 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 attention. (p. 67)
-- Today Lady Gaga, Kanye West, and Ben Affleck, combined, have more ‘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 year...estimates 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.

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews50 followers
October 21, 2020
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell defines a tipping point as "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point". The book seeks to explain and describe the "mysterious" sociological changes that mark everyday life. As Gladwell states: "Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do".

عنوانها: «نقطه‌ ی اوج»؛ «‫نقطه شروع»، «نقطه عطف»؛ نویسنده:‬‏‫ مالکوم گلدول‬؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هفتم ماه آوریل سال 2009میلادی

عنوان: نقطه‌ی اوج: چگونه چیزهای کوچک تفاوت‌های بزرگ می‌آفرینند؟ نویسنده: مالکلم گلدول؛ مترجم: ندا شادنظر؛ تهران افراز‏‫‏‏‏، 1387؛ در 200ص؛ شابک 9786005218893؛ موضوع: روانشناسی اجتماعس از نویسندگان کانادایی - سده 21م‬

عنوان: ‏‫نقطه شروع: چگونه چیزهای کوچک تفاوت‌های بزرگ ایجاد می‌کند؛ نویسنده: مالکولم گلادول‮‬‏‫؛ مترجم: مهدی قراچه‌ داغی؛ ‏‫کرج‬‏‫: در دانش بهمن‮‬‏‫، 1396؛ در 237ص؛ شابک 9789641741886؛

عنوان: نقطه عطف : چگونه اتفاقات کوچک، تغییرات بزرگی را رقم می‌زنند؛ نويسنده مالکوم گلدول؛‌ مترجم: فهیمه فتحی؛ ویراستار نرگس مساوات؛ تهران انتشارات آرایان‏‫، 1397؛ در 311ص؛ شابک 9786009879427؛

عنوان: ‏‫نقطه عطف؛ نویسنده:‬‏‫ مالکوم گلدول‬؛ مترجم: فریبرز آذرنیا؛ ویراستار مهدی فرج‌الهی؛ تهران روزبهان‏‫، 1396؛ در 246 ص؛ شابک 9789648175998؛‬‬‮

کتاب با مثالی از شیوع بیماری‌ها آغاز می‌شود؛ نخست عده‌ ی کمی مبتلا می‌شوند، سپس در زمان کوتاهی بیماری منتشر و همه‌ گیر می‌شود؛ این شکل انتشار و شایع شدن، تنها از آن بیماری‌ها نیست؛ انتشار ایده‌ ها، رفتارها و محصولات هم به همینگونه است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 29/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
288 reviews561 followers
November 14, 2020
"But a small change is often all that it takes."

There are many schools of thought when it comes to interpreting the reasons behind why somethings 'stick', while others just exist in background. Malcolm Gladwell's own take on this is what The Tipping Point is mostly about. And it sure is interesting.

"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."

This is a relatively short book - compared to some other books on same subject - and attempts to explain the author's three principles with the help of some well known 'social epidemics'. Also, there were some new concepts (at least for me) such as the concept of six degrees of separation (Most of the humans are linked to almost everyone in approximately through 6 'connectors') and rule of 150.

"The subtle circumstances surrounding how we say things may matter more than what we say."

However, for a book that is categorized under philosophy, I found it to be a bit too straight forward, and somewhat repetitive. It's true that examples are there help the reader comprehend better but still, given the principles were a little simple, I believe this could've been shorter. Anyway, the book was interesting and provided some new insights for some of the curious reasons behind what becomes a trend.

"It is the formal features of television - violence, bright lights, loud and funny noises, quick editing cuts, zooming in and out, exaggerated action, and all other other things we associate with commercial TV - that hold out attention. In other words, we don't have to understand what we are looking at, or absorb what we are seeing, in order to keep watching."
Profile Image for Trevor.
1,302 reviews22.1k followers
January 18, 2009
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 more 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 more polite name, advertising) – we are becoming, ironically enough, more 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 more 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.
Profile Image for Paul Weiss.
1,255 reviews237 followers
March 18, 2023
The biography of a very simple idea

The back cover marketing blurb describes it very simply.

THE TIPPING POINT is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”

The introduction covers that summary in slightly greater detail,

“It is the best way to understand the emergence of fashion trends, the ebb and flow of crime waves, or, for that matter, the transformation of unknown books into bestsellers, or the rise of teenage smoking, or the phenomena of word of mouth, … Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.”

Teachers, advertising executives, business owners, politicians, social workers, authors and the like would do very well to read Malcolm Gladwell’s brilliant musings concerning the characteristics of “epidemic” style societal change – contagiousness; little causes can have enormous effects; and change happens, not gradually, but a single dramatic moments. I’m not sure that I learned anything that would affect my personal life or cause me to change my behaviour in any way but there is no question that I did learn stuff and I also enjoyed the ride.

Indeed, there is every likelihood that if I had read THE TIPPING POINT as a young man, I would almost certainly have added Psychology as an elective to my university course list. It’s compelling, convincing and astonishingly interesting. BLINK, another of Malcolm Gladwell’s work, was just as amazing and I’ll look forward eagerly to trying more. OUTLIERS and TALKING TO STRANGERS come to mind as top of the list candidates.

(On a related note, I'm wondering, given the world's current overwhelming concern with Coronavirus pandemic, if any public health officials have given thought to applying Gladwell's ideas to the intractable problem of persuading blockheaded American anti-vaxxers to change their minds??)

Paul Weiss
Profile Image for Diane.
1,081 reviews2,720 followers
August 12, 2013
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 more 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 more people (because they know more people), but almost everyone follows the advice of a maven, even though they may give it to fewer people. So a maven might have more 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.
Profile Image for Moeen Sahraei.
29 reviews36 followers
February 9, 2021
کتاب عالی ای بود، اولش یکم سرد شروع میشه و موضوعش تکراری بنظر میاد ولی تو بخش the law of the few اوج میگیره. مفاهیم connector و maven و salesman فوق العاده جالب و کاربردی بود مخصوصا برای افرادی که به بیزینس و روان شناسی علاقه دارن. توی بخش the stickness factor با اینکه موضوع جالبه ولی باز یکم معمولی میشه و جزئیات زیادی مطرح میشه که لزومی نداره ولی دوباره تو بخش power of context اوج میگیره. دو فصل راجب context هست که هم فواید کاری هم فواید فردی و شخصی میتونه براتون داشته باشه. در کل بسیار لذت بردم از خوندن این کتاب گرچه هنوز outliers تو کتاب های گلدول بهترینه بنظرم. واسه کتاب بعدی سراغ David and Goliath میرم و بعد ازون ریویو کامل راجب کتاب های گلدول مینویسم
Profile Image for David.
Author 68 books1,041 followers
September 21, 2007
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 more 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 more 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.
Profile Image for Juliet Rose.
Author 11 books380 followers
August 26, 2022
This was a reread for me (15 years later) and it was interesting how my perspective on the information shifted somewhat. I didn't love the chapter about Goetz and NYC because I felt only certain factors were looked at in assessing the why's of what happened and the later clean up by the police. I felt only the factor of increased policing was looked at for the change in crime and not other farther reaching factors such as poverty, programs, and investments into communities. However the rest of the book stood about the same. Still a great read and food for thought!
Profile Image for Caroline.
506 reviews587 followers
May 20, 2015
Malcolm Gladwell has written five books, all of which have been on the New York Times bestseller list. He is extremely readable.

This now-famous book is about popular ideas and products, and how they spread through society. Starting off small at first, they slowly gather momentum until they reach a 'tipping point', where they take off and become fantastically popular. This book is all about the mechanics of how this happens, and the different types of people and businesses enabling the process.

The best bits for me? The illustration of how we are all incredibly different - how some people are freakishly sociable, others are freakishly knowing, informative and knowledgeable, whilst others have the charisma to sell you anything. Given Gladwell's clear examples I was easily able to slot a couple of my friends into these categories, and therefore relate to the ideas he was describing. These are the movers and shakers - the people who make things happen.

He uses a wide range of phenomena to illustrate the idea of social epidemics - the rise to popularity of Hush Puppy shoes, a sudden decline of crime in New York, the success of the children's programmes Sesame Street and Blue Clues, the cleaning up of the New York subway, the spread of new corn seed in Iowa in the 1930s, an increase of suicides in the South Pacific islands of Micronesia, plus the reasons why smoking has drastically increased amongst teenagers in the US, despite strenuous efforts to discourage it. I was impressed by the wide range of his examples.

My one criticism is that it was all rather predictable. The relationship between causes and effects were often ones I had heard before, or that I had worked out for myself. Unlike the book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything I didn't feel that I was being exposed to some really original ideas behind society's statistics.

Still - an interesting read by an excellent writer. It clarified several concepts I already had, and made them a lot less woolly.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,256 followers
July 17, 2013
Holy suppositions, Gladwell! There's a whole lotta coulds, may haves, apparentlies, perhapses up in here!

Malcolm Gladwell's basic premise in The Tipping Point: To explain how word-of-mouth is spread.

A couple of the examples he used were how crime was reduced in NYC under Giuliani's reign and how an old, dead-in-the-water brand of shoes seemingly suddenly were selling like hotcakes. But honestly, my favorite bit was the section on Sesame Street.

It's interesting stuff, no doubt with some truth to it, hell maybe even all of it, but it seemed like every hypothesis put forth was followed by misrepresentation of studies. Scientists were quoted as saying that possibly their study pointed towards such-and-such a conclusion, and then Gladwell took it and ran with it. That's not the case through out the book, but even if it only happens once, it casts doubt on the whole freaking thing.

There were times I hated this and times I actually enjoyed it. In fact, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, more than I wanted to. For you see, this is the sort of thing feasted upon by ladder-climbing, power-lunchers, who want to put Gladwell's theories into practice for the purposes of creating their own wildfire word-of-mouth epidemic in the exalted name of the great and almighty greenback. That sort of greed, rising above the heads of most of humanity to serve the bloodsucking desires of one, is repellent.

I guess I'm one of the few who didn't read this about 10 years or more back. I resisted for a while, but succumbed to peer pressure and misrepresentation of the book's content. Regardless, here I am. I've read it and probably you have too. So I ask you, is this shit or is it genius? After all, this stupid little book managed to put its theories into practice and the damn thing blew up like nobody's business.
Profile Image for Amir Tesla.
161 reviews682 followers
January 7, 2017
موضوع: نقطه اوج، چه طور مسائل جزئی موجب تغییرات بزرگ می شوند

خلاصه ای از محتویات: به طور کلی مالکوم گلدول، ژورنالیست مشهور نیویورکر در این کتاب علت وقوع اتفاقات اپیدمیک رو بررسی می کنه. اینکه تحت حضور چه شرایط و عواملی یک تبلیغ، یک شایعه، یا یک رویه در جامعه مد واپیدمیک می شه. از اطلاعاتی که در کتاب هست می شه در بحث های مارکتینگ و بازریابی، تبلیغات موثر استفاده کرد.

خلاصه ای از جالبات کتاب:
1. six degrees of separation: یکی از مطلب های جالبی که توی کتاب یاد گرفتم مفهوم شش درجه جدایی هست. به طول خلاصه طبق این تئوری، هر چیز یا شخصی که در دنیا وجود داشته باشه، با یک واسطه شش نفره از ذنجیره دوستان ما، و دوستان آن ها در دست رس ما خواهد بود.

2. Connectors: یکی از عوامل اپیدمیک شدن یک موضوع وجود افرادی با هویت رابط هست. این ها افرادی هستن با شبکه ای بزرگ از ارتباطات میان فردی. افرادی اجتماعی و خوش مشرب که معمولا مورد اعتماد و تحسین دوستانشون هستن.
یک مثال خیلی جالب در خصوص این افراد این بود که می گه یک لیست 40 نفری از دوستانتون تهیه کنید و مشخص کنید چه طور با هر یک از این دوستانتون آشنا شدین، در نهایت به یک عدد کوچک می رسید. به این معنی که یکی یا دو نفر از دوستانتون موجب آشنا شدن شما با ما بقی افراد موجود در لیست دوسانتون هستن. این افراد همون اشخاص با هویت رابط هستند.

3. بر خلاف باور عموم مبنی بر اینکه انتخاب دوستانشون بر اساس ویژگی های مشترک هست، مطالعات و بررسی ها نشون می ده که ما دوستانمون رو بر اساس نزدیکی محیطی و اجتماعی انتخاب می کنیم. کسانی که فعالیت های مشترکی با اون ها داریم و نه ویژگی های مشترک.
We're friends with the people we do things with, as much as we are with the people we resemble. We don't seek out friends, in other words. We associ­ate with the people who occupy the same small, physical spaces that we do.

4. Six degrees of separation doesn't mean that everyone is linked to everyone else in just six steps. It means that a very small number of people are linked to everyone else in a few steps, and the rest of us are linked to the world through those special few.

5. یکی دیگه از مطالبی که یاد گرفتم این بود که این دسته افرادی که با هویت رابط می شناسیم و دایره دوستان زیادی دارن آدم هایی هستن که ناخودآگاه معتقند که همه آدم هایی که قراره ببینن به یک نحوی فوق العاده و شگفت انگیزن و این طرز فکر باعث می شه زیبایی های آدم ها رو در حالی که از دید بقیه پنهان هست ببینن... جای بسی تامل داره این موضوع...

6. یک موضوع کاربردی و بسیار جالب دیگه در خصوص پیدا کردن شغل این هست که طبق آمار، اغلب افرادی که مشغول به کارهای رده بالا و خوب می شن اغلب شغلشون رو از طریق آشنایانشون (چه خیلی دور و چه خیلی نزدیک) پیدا می کنن که این مسئله اهمیت داشتن شبکه دوستان بزرگ رو مشخص می کنه.
The strength of weak ties... Acquaintances, in short, represent a source of social power, and the more acquaintances you have the more power­ful you are.

7. The more close an idea a message come to a connector, the more probability that it spreads.

8. Mavens: Those people who hoard knowledge if particular subjects and present them to anyone need that type of information merely out of goodwill which in turns make them popular and trustworthy.

9. The broken window theory این نظریه بسیار جالب می گه اگر یک پنجره ای شکسته بشه و تعمییر نشه، باعث می شه که به مرور پنجره های بیشتری شکسته بشن و این آغازی می شه برای گسترش بی نظمی و جرم. وجود کوچکترین نشانه از آلودگی یا بی نظمی و بی توجهی به اون باعث گسترش اون می شه.
crime is the inevitable result of disorder. If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge. Soon, more windows will be broken, and the sense of anarchy will spread from the building to the street on which it faces, sending a signal
that anything goes.

10. the convictions of your heart and the actual contents of your thoughts are less important, in the end, in guiding your actions than the immediate context of your behavior

11. Peer influence and community influence are more important than family influence in determining how children turn out

12. Caring about someone deeply is exhausting thus limiting us on the number of people we can mentally afford to heartily and truly care about.

13. Transactive memory: حافظه انتقالی به این معنی هست که ما مواردی در زندگیمون داریم مثل شماره تلفن، آدرس، یا مجموعه مواردی که باید بهشون رسیدگی کنیم که این ها رو در حافظه خودمون حفظ نمی کنیم، بلکه در جایی ذخیرشون می کنیم و آن جا را که نگهدارنده اون موارد هست به خاطر می سپاریم.
مثلا مسائل زیادی هستن مثل یک تجربه یا یک نوع بازی یا محاوره که حفظ و نگهداریشون رو بر عهده شریک زندگیمون می سپاریم. به همین خاطر طلاق یا جدایی انقدر دردناک می شن، به این دلیل که دیگه به بخشی از اون خاطرات دست رسی نمی توانیم داشته باشیم.

کلام آخر: یک ستاره ای که کم شد از امتیازش به دلیل حجیم بودن کتاب بود که می تونست خیلی خلاصه تر باشه. البته این مورد بین اغلب کتاب ها مشترک هست که دلیلش مسائل اقتصادی و مالی هست بیشتر. اما در کل کتاب واقعا خواندنی و آموزنده ای بود، و از مطالعش لذت بردم.
Profile Image for Stacy.
52 reviews
December 23, 2007
Malcolm Gladwell shows us with this book that he is a jack-of-all-trades (or intellectual disciplines) and master of none. He very loosely weaves together existing social science and economic research to support his thin idea that there is a "tipping point" in all epidemics. While it was a page turner and interesting to read, his glib conclusory statements interpreting others' research was a bit jarring... For example, use of the word "always" when describing a social phenomenon is not a practice to which most trained social scientists would subscribe. I was also hoping for more practical advice resulting from his work, but not much was to be found other than that many complex forces (people, context, etc.) are at work in achieving a tipping point in most epidemics.
Profile Image for Khalid.
21 reviews45 followers
November 6, 2012
تجربة قراءة كتاب اللغة الإنجليزية هي تجربة رائعة جداً,تفتقد شعورك تجاه لغتك الأم تجاه لغة الضاد..ولكن لا يعني ذلك أنك تؤثرها على الإنجليزية,عندما يفتح لك باب القراءة بلغة أخرى إنما هي نعمة أنعم الله بها عليك فلا فضل لك ولا قوة فـ لله الحمد والشكر أولاً وأخيراً. الكتاب نقطة التحول عندما بدأت في قراءة لم أكن أستطيع تصنيف الكتاب بأي قسم أضعه وتحت أي مجموعة أصنفة فما كان مني إلا أن أنتهيت من الكتاب وقلت في نفسي هذا كتاب قد يكون تسويقي وقد يكون جزء من علم النفس. الكتاب يدور حول ثلاث فصول مهمة:
فصل قانون القلة.وهو كيف أن قلة من الناس هي التي تقوم بنشر "الأمراض"كما يسميها قلادويل وماهي الأمراض هي كلمة تخرج من الفم ويحدد ذلك بثلاث شروط أساسية وهم (المتواصلون-الذين يعرفون كل شيء - والمسوقيّن-)فـ بهؤلاءِ تكون الأفكار والأمراض تنتشر ويقول أنها تنطبق على جميع الحالات الإنسانية وقد لا تكون كذلك.وبعد ذلك هو فصل قوة اللزوجة وليس معناها الحرفي ولكن "الإلتصاق" المعلومة أو الخبر أو حتى الإعلان في رأس المتلقي وأخيراً هو فصل"قوة السياق" وأن بعض الحوادث والأحداث تكون قوية نتيجة سياقها وتكون ضعيفة نتيجة السياق أو الحالة التي وجدت فيها.
الكتاب يحتاج تركيز أكثر.جميل بـ مجملة وأفكارة ولكن كثرة الأمثلة كما هي عادت الأجانب فهم يعشقون شيء أسمه"الإحصائيات والأمثلة"لكي يعزز فكرته بكل صغيرة وكبيرة يذكرها.ولم أكن معتاد على هذا النوع من الكتب فكان صعباً أن أهضمة داماً قرأته في تاريخ ١٢-١٠ وإنتهيت منه في تاريخ ٣-١١.

Profile Image for C C.
104 reviews27 followers
June 14, 2018
To understand "The Tipping Point," one must understand what led to its creation: In 2000, there were 5.5 billion people living on the planet Earth. Many of them were considered human beings, but a few were thought to be celery. The difference between the two categories bewildered the top dog breeders of the day.

To help us think more deeply about the consequences of the problem, consider the following fact: If you were born after 1975 and tried to ride a bicycle from Iceland to Darfur, the chances of crashing your bike into a British nanny increased 13% based on the number of Blossom reruns you watched as a child. Whether or not your parents are divorced is immaterial, as is the amount of padding in your seat. Social Scientists had a term for this late 20th century phenomenon: "Whoa!"

Meanwhile, in Canada (if that's your real name), a young, mild-mannered boy named Malcolm recognized the unique power of combining individual letters into meaning-units called “words.”

He quit his job making ice sculptures out of rusted fenders and moved south of the border to America (the nation, not the ice-cream stand).

His timing was impeccable. At the end of the 90s, America had just entered a period of reckless behavior wherein, with little prompting, Americans would try to arrange words into "sentences" and, if sufficiently coked-up, slap those sentences into "paragraphs."

Conservatives like Pat Buchanan were furious. Senator Bob Dole went on Meet the Press and blamed his erectile dysfunction on syntax. The era ended suddenly on December 31st, 1999, when, according to a budding bow-tie fanatic named Bill Nye, both the year AND the century had run their course.

Feeling threatened, Gladwell went on national television to declare "writing" is the radical, counterintuitive explanation for the existence of what he called "books" but what conservatives called "syphilis".

The strategy worked: He signed a contract with the biggest publishing house in America, which then promptly issued his first minor masterpiece: "Writing: How Letters, Sentences, Paragraphs, and Chapters Add Up To The Thing That Came Before the Colon." From that point on, it was all gin and roses (until Slash and Hypen left the band).
Profile Image for Hannah.
241 reviews60 followers
October 3, 2017
1 Start - Horrible book.

Yes, yes, even though I started this yesterday I did actually finish it. And after doing so, I regret reading this.

Full disclosure, the subject matter didn't really interest me but I've been wrong before so I gave it a go. I'll never be able to get back those precious reading hours.

There are two things that make this book, in my opinion, unreadable. The first is that the concept/central theme of this book is nothing new. Now, I know this was published ca. 2000 so I'm about 17 years late to the party but come on. I can't imagine how this book struck a chord with so many people. The idea that there is some sort of tipping point (clever) that causes certain trends, ideas, etc. to become phenomenon's. To me that seems logical and a no-brainer. I mean, duh. There are certain elements that cause certain things to catch on while others don't. I just wasn't impressed with the author's fervor and excitement in trying to explain a logical thing. I felt as if he was talking down to the reader.

The second thing that made me despise this book was that the author leaves a lot of half-thoughts. He rarely finishes an idea all the way to the end and the book is full of cases that are unfinished. He leaves one example before he's fully explained how it relates to his thesis and begins on another. I found it irritating and a bad way to write a book.

I have Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by the same author and while I'll probably read it, I need to cool down from this one before I can jump into another one of his (what I presume will be horribly done) books.

Do not read.
Profile Image for Riku Sayuj.
656 reviews7,107 followers
February 4, 2012
Inductive reasoning but still believable for the most part. Extreme fun to read.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,621 reviews994 followers
June 20, 2020
The tipping point', an analysis of that magic moment when ideas, trends, social behaviours etc. tips over, and spread like nobody business sometimes into becoming mainstream. An interesting theory… I liked the examples and note that this much more than just a book of examples. To me, I liked the breaking down of how something started and grew to something more from the likes of Sesame Street and rumours through to sneakers and New York crime! The magic number 150 chapter is thought provoking, although to be clear Gladwell was far from the first to identify essentially the maximum number of acquaintances one can have. Recommended read, just to be aware of the trend examples provided. 7 out of 12, up to 9 out of 12 after my 2016 reread!
Profile Image for Natali.
456 reviews288 followers
March 9, 2009
This is Gladwell's most thorough book. It has everything that I wanted from Outliers and Blink: research, diagnosis, and a clear call to action. Although admittedly, the research is not quite as fun as it is in his two following books.

If I had Gladwell's attention, I would ask him this: How do you capitalize on your role as either a Connector, Maven, or Salesmen? And what if you are none of the above, but rather a part of the phenomenon-following mob? Can you aspire to a different role than the one you are naturally gifted with? I identified with the Maven, as I'm sure most journalists do. So what do I do with that beyond disseminating news and culture? Can a Maven be a trend setter or a Connector? Since I don't have Gladwell's attention, I guess that is rhetorical.

One thing I love about Gladwell is that he presents strong theory and analysis in a way that allows for variance. One of my favorite quotes from this book: "That's why social change is so volatile and so often inexplicable, because it is the nature of all of us to be volatile and inexplicable."
Profile Image for Saud Omar.
16 reviews275 followers
June 25, 2015
من مدونتي: ثمانون كتابا بحثا عن مخرج



طوال تاريخ الشرق الأوسط الحديث لم تشهد المنطقة أي ثورة حقيقية, لم يكن هناك سوى مظاهرات نادرة مبعثرة هنا وهناك. وفجاءة, ومن دون سابق إنذار, تندلع الثورات الواحدة تلو الأخرى في أرجاء المنطقة .. تونس .. مصر .. اليمن .. البحرين .. ليبيا .. المغرب .. والقادم مذهل أكثر.

ليس من الصعوبة بمكان أن نحلل سبب نشوء كل ثورة من هذه الثورات على حدة, لكن الشيء الذي يستعصي على الفهم هو سبب حدوث كل هذه الثورات في هذه الفترة القصيرة ( حوالي خمسين يوماً ). ما لذي دفع بعجلة الثورة لأن تتدحرج بهذه السرعة الرهيبة من دولة لأخرى؟ هذا السؤال, في وجهة نظري, جوهري جداَ, ويستحق التأمل والتفكير مطولاً. إذا عرفنا السر, ما لذي يمنعنا من إعادة استخدام الوصفة لإستحداث ثورات جديدة على امتداد الوطن العربي؟ إن الشعوب العربية التي انقلبت على انظمتها السياسية المستبدة ما يزال أمامها طريق طويل, وما تزال بحاجة لأن تقوم بثورات أخرى لإصلاح التعليم, لإصلاح القضاء, لإصلاح القطاع الصحي, لإصلاح القيم الاجتماعية البالية, وغيرها, كي تصل للمكانة التي تبغيها لنفسها. يوم من الأيام, بعد أن تهدأ الثورات في الوطن العربي, سوف تجد الشعوب العربية نفسها أمام تحديات جديدة تستلزم تغييرات جذرية, وحينها سوف يكون السؤال الذي يتداوله الجميع: كيف نفعلها مرة ثانية؟

كتاب ( نقطة التحول ) للكاتب الكندي ( مالكوم غلادويل ) كتاب بعيد كل البعد عن المجال السياسي, لكنه يقدم ثلاث قوانين لتفسير التغيرات التي تنتشر في أي مجتمع بشكل مفاجئ وسريع. هذه القوانين مرنة جداً, تستطيع استخدامها كي تحلل سبب انتشار الثورات العربية, كما تستطيع أن تستعملها لتفسير نجاح تقنيات معينة مثل الآي باد وفشل تقنيات أخرى مثل قوقل ويف, تستطيع استخدامها لفهم أسباب انخفاض أو ارتفاع معدلات الجريمة, تحليل نجاح الكتب والروايات الأكثر مبيعاً, شيوع موضة معينة, بل إنك تستطيع أن تستخدمها لفهم سبب الإقبال غير العادي للشعب السعودي على شراب ( الفيمتو ) في رمضان.

قبل أن نستعرض هذه القوانين الثلاثة, لنبدء بسؤال يطرح نفسه حول عنوان الكتاب: ( ما هي نقطة التحول؟ ) أي تغيير يحدث في المجتمع يحدث عادة بشكل تدريجي وعلى فترة طويلة من الزمن. على سبيل المثال, في فترة ليست بعيدة في السعودية كان منظر الشخص الذي يربط حزام الأمان مثير للاستغراب ( وربما للضحك أحياناً ), وإن لم تخني الذاكرة بدأت الجهود تتركز على التوعية بحزام الأمان في عام 2000, ومنذ ذلك الحين ونحن نشهد زيادة طفيفة سنوياً في أعداد من يلتزمون بربط حزام الأمان. هذا هو التحول الطبيعي؛ تحول يحدث بشكل تدريجي وعلى فترة طويلة من الزمن. لكن من جهة أخرى, هناك تحولات اجتماعية تحدث في غضون فترة قصيرة جداً, وبشكل غير متوقع, مثل الثورات العربية الراهنة. لحظة الغليان التي تنقلب فيها الأمور رأساً على عقب فجاءة ومن دون أي سابق أنذار لتنتشر ظاهرة أو سلوك غير متوقع في المجتمع انتشار النار في الهشيم, هي اللحظة التي يسميها مالكوم غلادويل ( نقطة التحول ).

مصطلح نقطة التحول
( The Tipping Point )
هو أساساً مصطلح يستخدمه علماء الأوبئة لوصف اللحظة الحرجة التي ينفجر فيها الوباء بشكل شنيع في المجتمع. عندما كان غلادويل يعمل كمراسل لصالح ( واشنطن بوست ) أسندت له مهمة تغطية انتشار وباء الإيدز, ومع احتكاكه بعلماء الأوبئة بدأ يذهل من الطريقة الغير مألوفه, والمخيفه, والتي يصعب التنبؤ بها لإنتشار الأوبئة. في عام 1982 حدثت نقطة تحول شنيعة لوباء الأيدز, فقد انتقل من كونه وباء يعاني منه أفراد قلة, لكونه وباء عالمي. هذه الحادثة, وهذا الوصف لها, جعل غلادويل يطرح فكرة أن لكل شيء, وليس فقط الأوبئة, نقطة تحول. ما لذي يمنع, تساءل غلادويل, من أن يكون للأعمال التجارية, الموضة, الأفكار, التيارات, المنتجات, الإعلانات, نقطة تحول أيضاً؟

الفكرة الأساسية التي يبني عليها غلادويل قوانينه الثلاثة لحدوث ( نقطة التحول ) هي في أن نتصور أفكار وسلوكيات المجتمع كأوبئة, ومثل الأوبئة, هذه الأفكار والسلوكيات لها خاصية الانتقال والعدوى. لذلك, يسمي غلادويل قوانينه ( القوانين الثلاثة للأوبئة ). دعونا الآن نتسعرض هذه القوانين.

القانون الأول لإنتقال الفكرة أو السلوك في المجتمع اسمه ( قانون الأقلية ). ينص القانون الأول أن هناك أشخاص قليلون جداً في المجتمع بإمكانهم نقل العدوى ( الفكرة أو السلوك أو الرسالة ) أفضل من غيرهم. هناك ثلاث ملكات اجتماعية اذا امتلكها الشخص صار موصلاً فعالاً للعدوى, وهي: القدرة على الاقناع, القدرة على تكوين صلات اجتماعية, والقدرة على جمع المعلومات.

القانون الثاني هو ( قانون عامل الإلتصاق ): محتوى الرسالة وطريقة عرضها تلعب دوراً أساسياً في انتشارها. من السهولة إيصال رسالتك للجماهير, لكن كيف تجعلهم يتذكرونها؟ كيف تجعلها ترسخ في أذهانهم؟ كيف تجعلهم يؤمنون بها؟ هذا هو التحدي الحقيقي, وهذا هو لب القانون الثاني.

القانون الثالث هو ( قانون قوة السياق ): ينص على أن الظروف والأحوال المحيطة بالعدوى تلعب دوراً مهماً في انتشارها. حتى نستطيع أن نتصور كيف تعمل هذه القوانين الثلاثه, من الأفضل أن نربطها بالشكل التالي: القانون الأول هو قانون عن الشخص الذي ينقل الرسالة ( العدوى ) والقانون الثاني عن الرسالة نفسها, والقانون الثالث عن الظروف المحيطة بها.

باستخدام هذه القوانين الثلاثة تستطيع أن تعيد النظر لتحلل الأفكار, والسلوكيات, والرسائل الذائعة في المجتمع لتفهم سبب ذيوعها, بل إنك تستطيع أن تستخدمها عن عمد لنشر أفكار معينة. في الطبعات اللاحقة من الكتاب, قام غلادويل بإلحاق فصل في أخر الكتاب اسمه ( دروس من العالم الحقيقي ) في هذا الفصل نشر غلادويل بعض محاولات القراء لتنفيذ نقاط تحول في بيئتهم ومجال أعمالهم.

حقيقة أني, وبكل صراحة, أعتبر نفسي قد ظلمت كتاب ( نقطة التحول ) أشد الظلم حتى الآن. غلادويل ينال على المحاضرة الواحدة التي يلقيها أربعين ألف دولار, وقد باع من هذا الكتاب أكثر من مليونين نسخة حتى عام 2006, قبل أن تعود مبيعات للترتفع مرة أخرى بعض صدو�� كتابه التالي. صدقني, هذا الانتشار الغير عادي لم يكن لأن الناس تريد ان تعرف سبب انتشار السلوكيات والأفكار في المجتمع ( رغم أن هذا شيء مثير ) .. هناك أسباب مغايرة لشعبية غلادويل الجارفة.

أسلوب غلادويل في الكتابة هو أسلوب من عالم أخر. غلادويل يؤسس فكرة الكتاب في البداية, ثم ينطلق بعد ذلك بسرد قصص قصيرة وأبحاث علمية متتالية عن اشياء غير مترابطة إطلاقاً ( في أحد الفصول تجده يتحدث عن برنامج الأطفال الشهير شارع السمسم والفصل التالي تجده يتحدث عن الثورة الأمريكية ) لكنك تجده في النهاية, وبشكل مدهش وعاصف للعقل, يجر حبلاً سحريا من مكان مجهول لتترابط كل هذه القصص لتدعم وتؤكد فكرة الكتاب الأساسية. إن أسلوبه في السرد لهو إعجازي بكل معنى الكلمة. إن كل من وجّه إنتقادات حاده لكتبه (بمن فيهم العالم والمؤلف الشهير ستيفن بانكر) لم يستطع ألا أن يعلن إنبهاره بهذا الأسلوب الساحر في الكتابة.

إنني أتحداك الأن أن تفتح هذا الكتاب ( أو أي كتاب أخر له ) وأن تشير لسطر واحد ( فقط سطر واحد ) وتقول هذا سطر ممل. هذا الرجل باستطاعته ان يجعلك أن تنهي كتابه في جلسة واحدة من دون أن تشعر بوجودك. في الكوميديا هناك ما يعرف بسطر الخبطة
(Punch Line)
وهو عبارة عن الجملة التي تأتي في نهاية النكتة أو القصة كي تفاجأ الجمهور وتضحكهم ( وكأنها خبطة على رؤسهم ). كل قصة من قصص غلادويل تنتهي بسطر خبطة هستيري على رؤوس القراء؛ إما تحليل أ�� استنتاج أو إعادة تشكيل للقصة أو إبراز لعنصر خفي يتم بطريقة لا استطيع ان اصفها الا بأنها طريقة ( غلادويلية ). حتى لو كنت تعرف القصة التي يقصها, سوف تتفاجئ بانها يعيد صياغتها بشكل درامي ليجعل منها ملحمة تنتهي بنهاية واستنتاج غير قابل للتوقع ولو بعد مئة عام.

كتب غلادويل تستعصي حتى على التصنيف, في كل مره ازور مكتبة جديدة أجد تصنيف جديد لكتب غلادويل. أحيانا أجدها في قسم (الأعمال) وأحيانا في (علم النفس) واحياناً في (تطوير الذات). بالنسبة لي, أفضل تصنيف وجدته لكتب غلادويل هو, كما يقترح هو نفسه في موقعه, مغامرات فكرية. كتبه تتحدى الحكمة التقليدية, وتفتش في الخفايا والدقائق الماكرة, وتعتبر كل شيء ( موضة, برامج اطفال, رياضة, أبحاث علمية, جرائم .. كل شيء ) مادة خصبة للتفكير والتأمل والكتابة, تعالج القضايا بطريقة جريئة جداً, بل إنها تتطرق لقضايا غير مألوفة.

غلادويل هو من أصل كندي, ولد في إنجلترا عام 1963, ويعيش حاليا في نيويورك, ويكتب منذ عام 1996 في مجلة نيويوركر. نشئت فكرة الكتاب في البداية كمقال قدمه للمجلة, والذي تم على أثره قبوله ككاتب فيها. استلم مبلغ مليون دولار مقدما لنشر كتابه, وتم نشره في عام 2000, لكن مبيعات الكتاب فاقت أشد توقعات غلادويل جموحاً, وربما وجد بعض العزاء لاحقاً في الطلب الساحق عليه لإلقاء محاضرات نظير مبالغ ضخمه. من المثير للإنتباه ان هذا الكتاب أدخل الكثير من المفردات للغة الإنجليزية وجعلها مفردات متداولة حتى بين من لم يقراءه, مثل:

The Tipping Point, The Law of The Few, Mavens وغيرها.

في عام 2005 ضمت مجلة التايم غلادويل ضمن قائمة أكثر 100 شخص تأثير, وفي عام 2006 قدم محاضرة رائعة في مؤتمر تيد بعنوان ( صلصة السباغيتي ), وفي عام 2007 نال جائزة من من منظمة علم الاجتماع الأمريكية للتميز في تقديم القضايا الإجتماعية, وفي نفس العام نال درجة شرفية من جامعة واترلو.

الترجمة العربية للكتاب صدرت من ( الدار العربية للعلوم ) وتقييمي لها بأنها ترجمة ( قابلة للقراءة ) لكن هناك ( كالعادة ) أخطاء في الترجمة لا يقع فيها طالب إعدادية تجعل من بعض السطور مربكة وصعبة الفهم. مشكلة الترجمة في العالم العربي, في تصوري كقارئ, انها تتبع نظام ( ترجم وانشر ) من دون وجود أي مرحلة للتنقيح أو مراجعة الترجمة. على كل حال, بإمكانك فهم النص الأصلي من خلال الترجمة مع وجود حاجة لسد بعض الحفر والثغرات في الترجمة.

تمنياتي لكم بقراءة ممتعة
Profile Image for Ahmad.
26 reviews11 followers
August 18, 2017
هو ثالث كتاب أقرأه لغلادويل بعد آوتلايرز الذي أثار إعجابي جدا ، وبلنك الذي كان شبه محبط بالمقارنة . سعيد بأن أقول إن غلادويل قدم في ذا تيبينغ بوينت مادة بقوة كتاب آوتلايرز من ناحية قراءة وتحليل الواقع وقولبته في قوالب إستنتاجات تفيد أصحاب الأفكار سواءا تجارية أو هادفة أو مجتمعية أو غيرها في إحداث التغيير في المجتمع بأخذ العوامل التي يطرحها بعين الإعتبار.
Profile Image for Shaimaa Hassan شيماء.
301 reviews184 followers
September 19, 2023
احب قراءة مثل هذه الكتب فهي تجعل الإنسان يلتفت لأشياء لم تكن تثير اهتمامه من قبل، ويفسر الأمور بشكل مختلف، وتتغير نظرته كثيرا حتى في حياته العادية.

كيف يمكن لسلوك اجتماعي، أو فكرة معينة، أن تنتشر في فترة زمنية قصيرة فجأة ومن دون سابق إنذار لتتحول إلى عدوى.

هل يحتاج الامر إلى جهود مضنية ام أنه يعتمد على بعض العوامل التي قد تبدو بسيطة في ظاهر الأمر.

يحاول الكتاب تفسير هذا الأمر بأسلوب مشوق يعتمد على الكثير من الأمثلة الجذابة والدراسات النفسية والاجتماعية.

القواعد الثلاث لنقطة التحول
قانون الأقلية
عامل الالتصاق
قوة السياق

يقول قانون الأقلية إن هناك عاملا أساسيا في الأوبئة وهو طبيعة باعث الرسالة
فانتشار الوباء يعتمد على وجود اشخاص ذوي صفات معينة؛
الموصلون: الذين يعرفون الكثير من الأشخاص.
اصحاب الخبرة: من يعرفون الكثير من المعلومات ويريدون نقلها إلى غيرهم.
البائعون: من يمتلكون مهارات الاقناع.

عامل الالتصاق:
ان تكون الرسالة نفسها تعلق بالذهن.

قوة السياق:
يمكن لعدد من التغيرات البسيطة نسبيا أن تؤثر بشدة على طريقة تصرفنا وكينونتنا.
هناك اوضاع معينة تستطيع الطغيان على ميولنا الفطرية، والأساس هو الظرف او السياق الذي يحيط بالأمر.
Profile Image for Joy D.
2,074 reviews241 followers
September 20, 2020
This book deals with epidemics, both medical and social. It explains the principles of epidemic transmission. Gladwell uses examples such as syphilis, suicide, AIDS, teenage smoking, and crime reduction. He looks at how and why certain products “catch on” in popular culture. He examines advertising methods and receptivity to new ideas.

Gladwell explains the differences between connectors, mavens, salesmen, & translators. I am particularly interested in psychology and sociology, and this book relates the results of a variety of studies. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the psychological concepts behind childhood learning, and how the concepts of stickiness and context were used in the creation of Sesame Street and Blues Clues.

Published in 2000, it is a little dated, with references to letters, fax machines, 1-800 numbers, and Rolodexes. The author includes an Afterward to address some questions he has been asked since publication. It could use further updating, especially with regard to the pervasive use of social media. It would be interesting to find out what Gladwell thinks about the current pandemic.
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