In this brilliant and groundbreaking book, New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in our society so often happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Ideas, behavior, messages, and products, he argues, often spread like outbreaks of infectious disease. 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.
In The Tipping Point, Gladwell introduces us to the particular personality types who are natural pollinators of new ideas and trends, the people who create the phenomenon of word of mouth. He analyzes fashion trends, smoking, children's television, direct mail, and the early days of the American Revolution for clues about making ideas infectious, and visits a religious commune, a successful high-tech company, and one of the world's greatest salesmen to show how to start and sustain social epidemics.
The Tipping Point is an intellectual adventure story written 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.
©2000 Malcolm Gladwell; (P)2005 Time Warner AudioBooks
"A fascinating book that makes you see the world in a different way." (Fortune)
I really enjoyed this audio book. I've heard Malcolm Gladwell speak before and had been interested to "read" The Tipping Point for a while. It's a mixture of anectdotes, psychology, economics, marketing, epidemiology and more.
The principle focus of The Tipping Point is how small changes, can bring about large effects. With examples such as marketing of Hush Puppies shoes, the broken windows theory, Airwalk shoes, Paul Reveres midnight ride, word of mouth, mass hysteria and more.
The only disappointing thing about this audio book is that it is abridged. If you like short 3 hour "quick listen"'s, you may not mind, but it felt to me, like a reasonable amount of material was cut out. This was even more apparent at the end during the afterword, when it references several things that did not appear in this audio book.
But overall, it was enjoyable, fairly "light reading", and kept my interest throughout.
This book is a true classic. I read the text version a while ago and thought i would hear a "refresher". I was hihgly dissapointed that many of the examples and topics covered in the paper version were not even mentioned here.
This book will get you acquianted with the general concepts, but if this stuff really interest you find the nonabridged version or read the paper back.
The book is incredible. The audiobook is lousy. The authors voice is great but the abridgment is truly horrible. I wonder if the author deliberately made the abridgement so bad to "tip" people into going and buying his book to fill in the gaps. Hmmmmm....
I too found the work well written and well read and fascinating, though I did wonder whether the part that was abridged-out was just as good. Sure wish they had taught this stuff when I went to college 30 years ago. If you're starting your career or if you are thinking about how to run your business, reach your customers or influence your students, you'd be wise to listen. Little things can and do make all the difference sometimes.
I've been an Audible subscriber since 2000 and my original subscription was packaged with a Rio 500 player. I was so impressed with both in the dark days of 2001 that I bought stock in both companies. Audible to its credit acheived the tipping point. But what of Rio? Five years ago my Rio did most of what an IPOD can do today. It still does. Yet Rio was bankrupted twice over while the IPOD made a fortune for Apple and its investors. The IPOD "tipped", while the Rio tanked. Rio didn't get it, but Apple and Audible did. After listening to "The Tipping Point", I understand.
This book and another Audible selection I would recommend - "Linked: The New Science of Networks" (Barabasi) both give an interesting and perhaps essential slant on how things work in our well connected world. Don't set sail on your career without them.
I had high hopes for this book (a breeding ground for disappointment, I realize), but they seemed well-founded. I had heard nothing but good things about it. The subject matter is fascinating and I had already listened to "Blink" (Gladwell's current bestseller), also read by Gladwell, and enjoyed it immensely. What went wrong?
I have to imagine that it suffered from being overly-truncated to fit the 3 hour constraint. To add insult to injury, the actual book itself comprises only approx. 2:20. The remaining 40 minutes are an afterward added (maybe for the paperback release?) that did little to add to/explain the content itself.
I've subsequently borrowed the printed book from the library to fill-in what was missing and hae found it much more elucidating. As it stands, I would only recommend this if you were considering reading the full book and were not sure if you wanted to commit the time to it.
I found the topic and the examples to be mostly quite interesting but having just listened to Freakonomics, I found the latter's analyses more compelling and *definitely* preferred Stephen Dubner's voice. I'm interested to read Blink for content, but a little hesitant for speaking style. Maybe that's one for good ol' print.
Normally I steer clear of abridgments, but this was an excellent way to spend five hours. I'm not sure how much longer an unabridged version would have been, but I felt the argument of this book proceeded very logically and was adequately developed and supported by the factual examples.
That argument is essentially this: that many social trends and phenomena follow the same basic pattern as epidemics; that they follow the same pattern because they are caused and sustained in much the same way; that the difference between trends that get past the "tipping point" and those that do not may often be one or more very small factors; and that if one wants to create any sort of social trend (whether that be buying a product or committing fewer crimes), it is important to attend to such very small factors.
The book is anecdotal, and for all I know there may be respected social scientists who think Gladwell is a rank amateur who is dabbling beyond his depth. But for my part, I think Gladwell is a perspicacious observer whose insights here are original, interesting, and even useful.
Wow... What a great read. Malcom Gladwell really captures the spirit of human connections and the human need to feel part of something. A definate must read for anyone interested in looking at what moves people and how a small event can result in large response.
The idea of a social tipping point is definitely intriguing and Gladwell gives plenty of anecdotal examples. In a nutshell, social phenomena happen because of a complex inter-relationship between social innovators, mavens, and first adopters. It's basically the theory behind viral marketting, and "cool hunting", though the $1M question "What makes something (ex iPods) cool and others not?" remains unanswered beyond the elusive "because the mavens showed it to their friends". Beyond that, why do some crazes stay in a niched and loyal subculture (linux adoption) whlie others become mainstream? And taking into attempts like ilovebees and subservientchicken, I have to wonder if viral marketing even works, or if it's just another unmeasureable gimmick/fad in marketing and advertising.
It's certainly an interesting theory, full of possibilities, but I suggest reading "Linked" by Alberto-Laszlo Barabasi for what I believe to be a broader look at not only social phenomenae but also the properties of highly connected networks as general model, and how networks apply to other phenomena like computer virii, AIDS epidemiology, power outtages, and computer security. Although I felt that Gladwell did a suitable job covering the subject, having just finished "Linked", the "The Tipping Point" felt like a weaker, more limited, reiteration of network theory.
This is a very current topic, with which business persons should be familiar.
I found the audible format, which I could absorb while commuting, far more useful than reading the printed text. The pace and vocal timbre were suitable to the material.
Mr. Gladwell has another book, Blink, which I hope will be available soon.
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