Compared to similar, better researched and more tightly written and argued books like "Freakanomics" or "The Wisdom of Crowds," this book comes off as something that a self-satisfied Ivy League student might write as his thesis paper. There are a lot of interesting ideas and facts, but other than some highly contrived arguments Gladwell half-heartedly tries to work in, there simply isn't much tying them to the central thesis.
In short, the book is just a bunch of disjointed anecdotal examples of "tipping points" which Gladwell tries to buttress with a lot of interesting and tangential information, presumably hoping the reader be entertained enough to fail to notice that he's not actually proving his point in any substantial way. Apparently, he's been very successful at this, but it doesn't change the fact that the "Tipping Point" has plenty to SHOW, but pretty much nothing to SAY.
And the book simply ignores or dismisses in a sentence or two the broad social trends that were going on during specific "epidemics" that were probably as responsible for them as the narrow and inaccurate reasons Gladwell gives. For example, does anyone actually think that if extreme sports hadn't exploded in the 1990's Airwalk would have succeeded through clever advertising? Of course not. Yet Gladwell would have one believe that clever advertising taking advantage of "social innovators" and "mavens" were singlehandedly responsible for Airwalk's success. And "Freakonomics'" explanation for why crime in New York dropped is a LOT more compelling (and statistically disproves) Gladwell's argument that the NYC authorities successfully engineered an "anti-crime epidemic."
On the whole, this is the second glib, insubstantial and overrated book by Gladwell I've listened to, which seems like plenty.
Rogers has been goofing off, travelling the world and telling us about it since the FIRST Bush Administration, and it's becoming tiresome. Yes, he's rich and smart and not some working stiff like us, but does he really need to keep writing vanity books about that, and do we really need to buy them? I think not. His brilliant insights are usually along the lines of "you have to play the stock market SMART to make money (like me)" or "what's better than going to B-school is becoming a successful businessman without going to business school (like me)" or "what this [insert developing nation here] has to do to get ahead is to stabilize its currency, build an economic infrastructure and create a positive business environment (like duh)." If you haven't read Investment Biker or his numerous articles and features you'll probably enjoy this book. But I wouldn't put it on my list of 1,000 books to read before I die.
First, I should say that I've always admired former president Clinton and generally agreed with his political objectives, so nothing I heard here was bound to be alter my opinion about him greatly. Overall, it's a good listen, and one can only think with regret about what might have been accomplished for the betterment of America if the Neo-cons had placed the interests of the people before party interests. Or if the American people had placed their long-term interests before extremely modest (for most) tax cuts. However, Clinton's claims that the Republicans were out to get him from the start, even resorting to flat-out lies to shame and discredit him, makes his tryst with Monica Lewinsky all the more baffling and disappointing. Overall, the book (as read by Clinton) is absorbing, good-humored, intelligently composed, states all kinds of good intentions and ideas . . . but gives the sense that there's a lot being held back. Just like its author/narrator I suppose.
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