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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

Why did crime in New York drop so suddenly in the mid-90s? How does an unknown novelist end up a best-selling author? Why is teenage smoking out of control, when everyone knows smoking kills? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? Why did Paul Revere succeed with his famous warning?
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Publisher's Summary

Why did crime in New York drop so suddenly in the mid-90s? How does an unknown novelist end up a best-selling author? Why is teenage smoking out of control, when everyone knows smoking kills? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? Why did Paul Revere succeed with his famous warning?

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.

Don't miss any of Malcolm Gladwell's books, articles, and interviews.

©2000 Malcolm Gladwell; (P)2005 Time Warner AudioBooks

What the Critics Say

"A fascinating book that makes you see the world in a different way." (Fortune)

What Members Say

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  •  
    John Drexel Hill, PA, USA 12-08-06
    John Drexel Hill, PA, USA 12-08-06
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    "Interesting, but where's the info?"

    This was an interesting book, but too much time was devoted to detailed accounts of studies and anecdotes, which seemed endless. I also kept waiting for a summary of the author's view of what we should learn from these stories, but it seemed to never come. I always was disappointed. For example, after several anecdotes about "stickiness", the author concluded by saying, you can make your message have impact if it has stickiness. The key is for you to find it (i.e. what will make it stick). Well, my reaction is, no kidding! I was hoping for a little more insight rather than constant stories.

    Maybe I expected too much and read it for the wrong reason. I was hoping to obtain another view providing insight and hints and opinions on how to make a message persuasive and have impact. I was very disappointed because that info was lacking in the book.

    In addition,the book should have been read by some one with a little more inflection and intonation. The reader in this case, who I think was the author, put me to sleep and after about 2 hours got on my nerves. It seemed as though he was falling asleep as well. The 3 hour CD seemed much, much longer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elliot Gulf Coast of Texas 07-17-06
    Elliot Gulf Coast of Texas 07-17-06 Member Since 2005
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    "Gets Mental Gears Turning"

    I'm glad I bought and listened to this book. Although no gound-swell of wisdom overtook me, the book caused me to think. What else can you really expect these days. Easy listen and well-told.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deanna Nicole Davis 05-25-06
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    "Insightful, Important Information"

    Gladwell gives us the microscope on why people trend in one direction or another. I received the hardcopy from a friend who is the director of a major CA hospital. I have since shared it with CEO's and COO's and the feedback I've received is that it is perhaps the most important book anyone in business could read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Claremont, CA, USA 02-02-06
    Richard Claremont, CA, USA 02-02-06
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    "Clever premise, zero insight"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rina A. Stein Wooster, OH 08-17-05
    Rina A. Stein Wooster, OH 08-17-05 Member Since 2006

    sewkrazy

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    "Awesome!!!"

    This is an incredible book and narrated by the author whom has a beautiful voice and adds feeling to the words. I was enthrawled.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles M. Wyzanski CAMBRIDGE, MA USA 11-27-05
    Charles M. Wyzanski CAMBRIDGE, MA USA 11-27-05 Member Since 2005
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    "Freakanomics has my vote."

    I have the highest regard for Malcolm Gladwell from what I have read of him in the New Yorker. However, I found this audiobook nowhere near as interesting or wide-ranging as Freakanomics, which also tries to explain observed sociological phenomena. Both, for example, consider the marked drop in the homicide rate in the early 1990's in New York. Freakanomics uses extensive data to persuade the listener that it was part of a national trend precipitated by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legaled abortion. This is far more persuasive than Gladwell's view that it was just consequence of a decision by a few New York gangleaders which then spread among the rest. Freakanomics is also superior because of the authors' humor and the more expressive way in which the book is read.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tehzeeb Hartley WintneyUnited Kingdom 09-14-05
    Tehzeeb Hartley WintneyUnited Kingdom 09-14-05
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    "Good topic ... excruciatingly long discourse"

    The fundamental premise of the book (i.e. small things make a big difference) is sound and interesting. However, what detracts from the value of the book is the endless analogies and digressions to prove this fundamental premise. The book could have easily been 1/2 the size and not missed the point. Nevertheless well written and well read by the author.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 08-02-12
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 08-02-12 Member Since 2006

    My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.

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    "Gladwell at his best"

    There are brilliant insights here. About how trends start. About social networks. You even get the truth about six degrees of separation. Put it all together and it's a dazzling new perspective on how human society works. I only regret that I accidentally ordered the abridged version instead of the unabridged.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    David Anchorage, KY, USA 11-08-09
    David Anchorage, KY, USA 11-08-09
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    "Misleading Amazon pointer"

    I was on Amazon looking for this audio book. Purchasing this book was listed as an option on an Amazon page for the UNABRIDGED version. I spent an hour finally getting this downloaded only to find that MAJOR parts of the book were missing. There should be better cross talk between Amazon and Audible - this was a complete waste of time and money.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Lloyd 09-24-09
    Lisa Lloyd 09-24-09 Listener Since 2008
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    "slow read"

    This is interesting, but a slow read for me. Not much "new" to hear.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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