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At the urging of my wife and two students, I finally read The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell.  (I knew this book would be good because when my wife read it she could hardly not put it down.)  The Tipping Point explains why social epidemics occur.  For instance, Gladwell explained why the crime rate dropped in New York City in the 1990s.  It was due to some small insignificant changes: cleaning graffiti off buildings and posting guards at the subway ticket machines.  Doesn’t make sense?  That is Gladwell’s point in what he calls the “Law of the Few.”  A few small modifications altered the crime rate in New York.  A few young people resurrected a dying market for Hush Puppy Shoes.  Gladwell explains why the children’s show Blues Clues was so successful.  In Gladwell’s words, Blues Clues was ‘sticky.’  Marketers seek to make their ads ‘sticky’ or memorable.  Also little known fact is that Paul Revere was not the only one who announced that the ‘British were coming!’  Actually, two men in history alerted townspeople that the British were coming.  The reason we don’t know about the other guy was because he was not a ‘connector.’  Paul Revere was a ‘connector.’  Gladwell argues that there are three kinds of people who are behind social epidemics: connectors, mavens, and salesman.  Gladwell uses many human interest accounts or short stories to prove his arguments.  This book is a great read!

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One Comment

  1. I have read The Tipping Point, and it influenced me to start a blog of my own. Perhaps you would like to comment on it. I need some feedback “Societal tipping points and epidemics.”


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