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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference | [Malcolm Gladwell]

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

In The Tipping Point, New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in society happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a few fare-beaters and graffiti artists fuel a subway crime wave, or a satisfied customer fill the empty tables of a new restaurant. These are social epidemics, and the moment when they take off, when they reach their critical mass, is the Tipping Point.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Like the best social dynamics professor you never had, Malcolm Gladwell deconstructs a wide range of phenomena (from the reduction of crime in New York to the rise of Sesame Street) to deliver a fascinating understanding of how "social epidemics" spread. And while author/narrators are often a mixed blessing, Gladwell is so friendly and well-paced that I was actually disappointed when The Tipping Point was over. —Ed Walloga

Publisher's Summary

Featuring a new afterword.

Why did crime in New York drop in the mid-90s? Why is teenage smoking out of control? Why are television shows like Sesame Street good at teaching kids how to read?

In The Tipping Point, New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in society happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a few fare-beaters and graffiti artists fuel a subway crime wave, or a satisfied customer fill the empty tables of a new restaurant. These are social epidemics, and the moment when they take off, when they reach their critical mass, is the Tipping Point.

Gladwell uncovers the personality types who are natural pollinators of new ideas and trends. He analyzes fashion trends, smoking, children's television, direct mail and the early days of the American Revolution for clues about making ideas infectious.

The Tipping Point is an intellectual adventure story with an infectious enthusiasm for the power and joy of new ideas. Most of all, it is a road map to change, with a profoundly hopeful message: that one imaginative person applying a well-placed lever can move the world.

©2007 Malcolm Gladwell; (P)2007 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"Gladwell, a New Yorker staff writer, offers an incisive and piquant theory of social dynamics that is bound to provoke a paradigm shift in our understanding of mass behavioral change." (Booklist)
"Hip and hopeful, The Tipping Point is like the idea it describes: concise, elegant, but packed with social power. A book for anyone who cares about how society works and how we can make it better." (George Stephanopoulos)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Michael 12-28-07
    Michael 12-28-07

    Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Marketing has a lot to learn from this book"

    Valuable insight into why somethings take off and others possibly flop. Not sure if "The Tipping Point" is the answer or one of the contributors to why things happen. My experience is that everything is connected to each other in various degrees, but this book sure puts a good case for the authors theories. A little confusing in parts, but the authors voice is easy to listen to. A valuable book for marketing type people. Worth the listen to.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Hollister, CA, USA 03-13-10
    David Hollister, CA, USA 03-13-10 Member Since 2007
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    "Makes sense to me."

    It really makes you think, but it doesn't hurt your head. Well written, easy to understand, interesting, engaging... and the information is actually useful. I loved it.
    Okay, so M. Gladwell says some things that wouldn't make him popular everywhere. Doesn't that make us wonder about his critics' motives? He cites his research, but doesn't bore with citations... he's trying to be interesting enough to be read. Generally, his opinions are clearly delineated from the facts used to create them, so I feel he treats his subjects fairly while trying to advance ideas and concepts. I don't agree with everything the book says, but it does make me think and I believe we could all learn something if we consider its end message.

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marian Hanganu Ploiesti, Romania 05-18-08
    Marian Hanganu Ploiesti, Romania 05-18-08 Member Since 2006

    Marian Hanganu

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Exceptional!"

    This is one of the greatest books I ever listened! We are programmed to think in a linear growth model and in a cause-effect model. This book shows that we need to abandon these easy models. Great book-you should not miss it!

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keren San Rafael, CA, USA 07-06-07
    Keren San Rafael, CA, USA 07-06-07
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    "Excellent"

    This is one of the best books I have ever read. Some of the examples actually gave me goose bumps and still do when I think of them. I was able to also implement some of the ideas in my business and I have made some great decisions based on Gladwell's suggestions. Most recommended.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 09-30-12
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 09-30-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "3 ½ stars."

    Interesting examples of how new ideas become widespread. Good topics for dinner conversation. Not much science.

    I loved Outliers by this author, so I wanted to try another of his books and chose this. It’s not as fascinating or entertaining, but it has interesting ideas. There is not much science. It’s more about suggestions and musings about why things happen. These are anecdotal stories which happen to fit his theories. It’s psychology and sociology about what makes people do things and how a new idea becomes widespread. His examples include Hush Puppies (shoes) becoming popular, syphilis epidemic growing, reduced crime in New York City, suicide spreading, and the influential ride of Paul Revere. He defines three types of people involved in this “influencing process.” He also talks about a few other subjects, for example 150 being the maximum number of people for a community that allows them to get along well with each other. He talks about normal well balanced guys who became cruel and sadistic when they were assigned to be prison guards.

    I was particularly interested in how a book by an obscure author took off and became a best seller. I was disappointed that he only talked about it briefly. I wish he would have spent more time on how books become popular. He spoke about one book, “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” by Rebecca Wells. San Francisco has a large number of female book clubs. A few of them read this book and encouraged daughters and others to read it. These book club members started doing social activities with each other that they hadn’t done before which were motivated by events in the book. Gladwell thinks part of the success was due to Wells being an actress. She was entertaining when she performed readings at book stores. But I wonder about that because she wrote an earlier book titled “Little Altars Everywhere” which did not take off the way Ya-Ya did. I assume she did readings for that as well, but Gladwell didn’t talk about why one succeeded and the other did not.

    I had another question. The author showed specific things being done in New York City in the 1990s that significantly reduced crime. That was fascinating, but it reminded me of another book “Freakonomics.” The Freakonomics authors state that crime was reduced “across the country” in the 1990s. They suggest a reason being abortion was legalized in the early 1970s and fewer unwanted babies were born in environments which produce more criminals, who would have been at a key criminal age in the 1990s.

    As the author spoke about various subjects, he would refer to his examples (Hush Puppies, Paul Revere, etc.) over and over again throughout the book. At times it was repetitive. He could have just stated “for example Hush Puppies,” but he would say several sentences about Hush Puppies each time he referred to it, and those sentences had been said before.

    Narrator: The author narrated Malcolm Gladwell this book. His manner and voice were good.
    Genre: Psychology & Sociology Nonfiction.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benny Singapore 05-23-07
    Benny Singapore 05-23-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fully Explained"

    This book is full of explanation. If you like lots of reason for 1 point, then this book is for you. I cut 1 star because this book is too long.. too bored.. but exceptional... Must have book!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dean 10-28-10
    Dean 10-28-10 Member Since 2009

    a Tech Exec who loves the stories about what could be and what should have been. Mixed with histories told from an outside perspective.

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    "Sociology for the masses."

    Another hit by Mr. Gladwell. He take something as dry as sociology and presents the theories in vignettes that are so interesting, yet are factual demonstrating the points he is walking the reader through. I wish more teachers were as stimulating as him. One other point, this book is read by the author which I really appriciate. This gives you more the intent and tone of the original author.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dane R. King Jr. Reynoldsburg, OH USA 08-04-08
    Dane R. King Jr. Reynoldsburg, OH USA 08-04-08 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Tipping Point"

    The author explains why some things catch on and others don't. I think if you liked the book Freakonomics you will like this. It has the same eclectic almost jumping around feel, but at the same time putting out very interesting information.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel Stanesa 09-21-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Book, especially for listening"

    I enjoyed this book so much, I had to listen to it a 2nd time and then some. I especially like the fact that the author reads his own book. I suspect it adds more emphasis in the right areas... Same is true of his other book "Blink" too!

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana - Audible 04-17-12 Member Since 2010

    Thinker Meets Explorer

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    "My tipping point…for audio"

    Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point was the first book I ever listened to, well at least completely. I had a hard time grasping all the characters and unfolding plot lines in fiction at first – and had listened to the beginnings of some novels as many as seven times – before I fell in love with being read to in The Tipping Point.

    I’m not sure if it was Gladwell’s fascinating concepts, or the feeling as if he was talking right with me, but I remember listening the whole way through, alone at home, one quiet autumn night.

    …And the rest is history. I’ve listened to many more books since then – both fiction and nonfiction – but this one will always remain a favorite of mine.

    22 of 26 people found this review helpful
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  • Neil
    BROSELEY, SHROPSHIRE, United Kingdom
    5/27/09
    Overall
    "Surprising - but maybe not!"

    Gladwell the maverick gives us his take on the spread of ideas, urban myths, and "sticky" advertising.
    I found it hard to get out of the car when this was playing, and wanting to go for a drive just so that i could indulge myself a little more with this exquisite book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Roger
    Southwick, West Sussex, United Kingdom
    2/16/09
    Overall
    "The tipping point is great"

    Try his videos on 'TED' if you want a free intro to him. It doesnt get to marketing really, until the end. To me thats fine as I prefer the idea of viral ideas than how to make people buy stuff.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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