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

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

3.9 751
by Malcolm Gladwell

ISBN-10: 0316316962

ISBN-13: 9780316316965

Pub. Date: 03/01/2000

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

The Tipping Point is that Magic Moment When an Idea, Trend, or Social Behavior Crosses a Threshold, Tips, and Spreads Like Wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed best-seller, in…  See more details below


The Tipping Point is that Magic Moment When an Idea, Trend, or Social Behavior Crosses a Threshold, Tips, and Spreads Like Wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed best-seller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.

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Little, Brown and Company
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5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

1The Three Rules of Epidemics15
2The Law of the Few: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen30
3The Stickiness Factor: Sesame Street, Blue's Clues, and the Educational Virus89
4The Power of Context (Part One): Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York City Crime133
5The Power of Context (Part Two): The Magic Number One Hundred and Fifty169
6Case Study: Rumors, Sneakers, and the Power of Translation193
7Case Study: Suicide, Smoking, and the Search for the Unsticky Cigarette216
8Conclusion: Focus, Test, and Believe253

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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 751 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is about the "tipping point", that is, that moment when an idea or social behaviour has reached a level where it "tips" and spreads like crazy.

The book makes sense about how these things happen by using three rules- The Law of the Few, The Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context. Taking three rules, then, the book uses them to explain seemingly puzzling epidemic situations in society such as teen smoking or bestsellers.

Fun and interesting, if this kind of topic appeals to you, you'll like the book- its well written and an easy read. Other books that might appeal to general interest readers include The Sixty-Second Motivator
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Malcolm Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point, explores the phenomenon known as the tipping point. According to Gladwell the tipping point is the moment at which "an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a treshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire". In other words, the point when an idea, trend, or behavior becomes an sensation to the world. Gladwell researches the behaviors of fashion trends, crime rate, and best selling novels to explain how small, yet powerful changes can result in an tipping point. Gladwell compares the idea of the tipping point to an epidemic of the flu. A simple sneeze from a sick person can start a flu epidemic just as a word of mouth can make an restaurant a big success. Gladwell seperates his book into the three rules of epidemics. The law of the few, the stickiness factor, and the power of context each explain how and why an idea, trend, or behavior results in an epidemic. Gladwell uses examples such as Paul Revere's midnight ride to support his ideas on epidemics. Malcolm Gladwell states that "Paul Revere's ride is perhaps the most famous historial example of a word-of-mouth epidemic". Gladwell continues by calling Paul Revere a connector, a person who is truly socially diverse. Revere was able contact an abundant amount of people because he was connected with a large amount of diverse people. According to Gladwell, the message itself has to be sticky enough to make people listen and respond. The message "the British are coming" was a sticky phrase that made the message itself important enough to respond to. Malcolm Gladwell's context law states at the enviroment at which a message is sent also makes an impact. Paul Revere sent his message in the evening because the majority of people are sleeping and when they are woken up by a noise they are more susceptible to listen. The Tipping Point is a brilliantly written book that will change your outlook on famous fashion trends, falling crime rates, and the success of best selling novels. Malcolm Gladwell uses interesting examples throughout to make his book an enjoyable read. By the end of this book Gladwell will make you believe that any immovable object can be tipped if it is pushed in the right place.
Chantalaimee More than 1 year ago
This book was very intriguing in explaining the causes of fads and why things get popular. The examples talked about are really interesting like how Sesame Street came to be and what makes a sales person so successful. Gladwell uses examples to make his point fully comprehendible and interesting. He explains and analyzes studies of human behavior to conclude to several rules about the tipping point of products. It is a book worth reading! :D
arm More than 1 year ago
First of all, let me just say that I had to read this book for an AP English Language class, and when I chose it I was expecting something different. Therefore, I was a little disappointed, and came to the conclusion that I would not have otherwise read this book. I don't regret reading it, though. It is interesting to learn about the different connections between people that we just normally don't think about. The various conclusions that Gladwell comes to make sense once discussed, and many examples are provided as support. His argument is thorough and easy to follow. It sparks thought; you will find yourself applying the ideas to your own life. I would mainly recommend this book to people aiming to be successful entreprenuers or those who are interested in business. If you are genuinely curious on why Hush Puppies became a fad, then go for it-- read this book. If you want to know if you are the kind of person who can effectively influence change among other people, read it (in this sense I was interested in how this relates to community organizing, and mobilizing around an idea based on the efforts of a few key players). If you want to read how epidemics are spread, read it.. it is interesting and useful knowledge today as the threat of swine flu looms over us. If you want to see how much effort and research goes into finding the most effective methods of brainwashing children via the television, you would be fascinated by this book (it wasnt the main point of the section, but it is kind of chilling...). So it really depends on what you are expecting to get out of this book. If you can find it at the library and have a rainy boring afternoon, pick it up, its a quick read.
Rober_Theris More than 1 year ago
There are some books you read that just make you feel smarter after reading them. This is certainly one of them! The concepts are thought provocking and well written. Malcolm uses examples and studies that relate to everyone. It's not just for students or bussiness people, its for EVERYONE!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Couldn't get more than 100 pages into it. Over used coincidences throughout the book on trends and fads- I get it- let's move on!! Could have been interesting if it was 20 pages long.
MeganHurley More than 1 year ago
It was a really interesting book to read. It talked about how ideas/epidemics spread. The three types of people needed are Mavens, Connectors, and Salesmen. There has to be a stickiness factor in the idea as well. A third point is that human beings are more sensitive to their environment than what was once thought- the power of context. It talks about the “broken window theory”- how a broken window can lead to more crime, and fixing it can decrease crime, and other interesting points of view
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point many different topics are discussed and analyzed, trying to find solutions as to why things "tip" and what different factors are involved. From "Blues Clues", and Paul Revear's midnight ride to the decrease in crime in NYC and the cause of suicide in the islands of Micronesia, it is shown that the factors of stickiness, connectivity, context and salesmen qualities play a major part in the way different events tip and spread. One big theme in Gladwell's book that made it effective was the repetitive mentioning of Connectors, people who know a lot of other people, and can spread ideas through multiple communities, making ideas contagious. Adding to this theme Gladwell outlines the concept of "stickiness", illustrating people who hear about a new ideas remember them, and in some way do something about the situation. Throughout the whole book Gladwell has the great ability to draw the reader into simple concepts with examples and stories, resulting in the reader being able to recognizing themselves in the examples and stories and seeing where they would put themselves if they were in those situations, allowing them to think what they would do to change the situation at hand. While reading this book I was interested in the way Gladwell enhanced his theories with concrete examples and stories, making the book very effective in getting his point across. Although I cannot agree with all his points and solutions to some of the situations and theories, I thought this book was very well written and very educational, giving the reader many things to think about, allowing their brains to adapt to something new and synthesize the information. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone; it includes great topics of discussion making the book good for classes to read together and discuss the different theories together.
dmh5026 More than 1 year ago
I had heard all the hype about "The Tipping Point" from friends and colleagues and after struggling to get through it I have to say I'm a bit disappointed. The "Ah Ha!" moments were few and far between because of the repetitive nature of Gladwell's examples. It was almost to the point of beating a dead horse by the end of it. Ultimately, the book has some interesting points but they are just made too often and over and over again. Gladwell definitely did his homework, but I won't be picking up any more of his books. Quite disappointed.
Dr-Sling More than 1 year ago
Malcolm Gladwell gracefully describes the ways in which a trend or fad becomes a ubiquitous social norm in The Tipping Point. His compelling discussions make comparisons to seemingly unrelated events, such as the spread of S.T.D.'s and Paul Revere's midnight ride, and reveal their inherent, universal similarities. His subject material is presented with humor and coherence, and can be appreciated by high school students and college professors alike. No matter what you expect to get from this book, whether it be required reading for a class or something to skim through before bed, you will not be disappointed by The Tipping Point.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is a really extraordinary novel that explores sociological studies and interesting occurrences in life. It shows the little, random and amazing things that happen and make a big difference. The book contains the three main ideas that drive the studies to seem so unusual; the Law of Few, the Stickiness Factor and the Power of Context. The Law of Few means that a couple of people have a more significant influence on things that happen than the rest of society. The Stickiness Factor is the concept that repetition is a very impactful strategy that causes people to remember things more easily. The Power of Context is how a little change in the circumstances of an environment can have an impact on the events that occur there. So when all of these things are studied and really paid attention to, it is bizarre how they apply to these theories and are important to society. When I began to read this book, I realized that it was different from anything I've ever read before. It opened my eyes to the fact that such little things really can make a huge impact on things. It was a unique perspective on sociological studies and unique occurrences that happen every day. " If you want to bring a fundamental change in people's belief and behavior. you need to create a community around them, where those new beliefs can be practiced and expressed and nurtured." I thought that this was an insightful and thoughtful quote. It demonstrated the great advice that Gladwell brings to the novel. His writing style is very creative and particular. I thought he was a very good author to write about such a topic and brought a very interesting aspect and point of view to everything.
Tayl-C More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because of all of the little ways I connected to the "meat" of the story. For example, when Gladwell explained educating children through television rather then having television being a bad influence on the developmental learning of a child caught me by surprise. When he said "Sesame Street" was the first television program to educate children, I realized that when I was a young kid and used to watch that, how many "mini life lessons" were included in each and every episode. This novel really opened my eyes into all the information that can merely be obtained by just reading this book.
KrissyLG More than 1 year ago
I had been vaguely attracted to Gladwell's work, particularly after reading a similarly engaging exploration of sociology, economy, and society in general (Freakonomics). I discovered only a couple of chapters in to The Tipping Point that Gladwell may very well be a pioneer in his thoughts regarding the spread of ideas. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever wondered why some things become prominent in society while other ideas fizzle out.
Cohan More than 1 year ago
The book is merely a collection of the author's personal opinions on complex psychological and sociological subjects of which he does not appear to have mastery. In addition, the author references many inconclusive studies, or his own broad non-scientific observations in asserting conclusions that cannot possibly be proven. This is another of many recent texts that lack any useful substance from self-anointed psych gurus.
Influanced More than 1 year ago
Malcolm Gladwell makes it easy to understand the complexities that are responsible for the spread of ideas, trends, etc. After reading this book those complexities seem more like common sense. It's made clear that many of the details that we consider to be small are often the most important. His concepts are backed by entertaining true stories that will open your eyes to a new aspect of the world.
BeijingSteamer More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was interesting with the presentation of facts and case studies. However, Outliers-- his other book-- has a far better flow. I recommend this for people who love to gain knowledge.
Stephen-Joseph More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, this book was just another disappointment in the world of self-help and business-oriented books. Instead of delivering on the promise of the title, the book fell short of any concrete, relevant point. A simple reader will find much useful information in the book. But as a business owner, and as an individual who already understands the concepts written in this book, I have found nothing new - and nothing revolutionary about what it contains.
Jefferson_Thomas More than 1 year ago
Everybody should read this book, but bear the following in mind: Gladwell makes his point perfectly adequately in the introduction via the Hush Puppies example, but then spends the rest of the book belaboring the point instead of expanding on it. I wanted to yell, "I BELIEVE you already -- what ELSE to you have to say??" Nevertheless, everyone should read this book, because it explains an interesting phenomenon we all see in our society nearly every day: exactly what DOES cause one fad (or problem, or solution to a problem) to take hold while another is stillborn? Why skateboards instead of the continued existence of roller skates? Why pet rocks, mood rings and smiley faces? Why did yoyo's, a toy from the ancient, discarded 1950's, suddenly experience a big surge in popularity in the late 1960's? Insights into questions like these are a big part of the value of this book, so I recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first was told I had no choice but to read I book for my AP Language class. I picked the Tipping Point as the least of all evils. However, I was happily surprised. The idea of a book that heavily deals with economics sounds dry, and dull. But it is written in a fashion that is far more intriguing then boring. You learn about trends and how they catch on, you are entertained and yet you are educated at the same time. The book does a wonderful job of talking about topics that art necessarily new, but they are expressed with a new generation in mind. When talking about social networking the "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" is discussed. I believe this is a great example of "don't judge a book by its cover" it is certainly not a book to miss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Tipping Point. I first picked it up expecting it to be dry and composed of straight facts. However, it offered interesting insight into the world of "fads" and how they catch on. It educated as well as entertained me. Gladwell's use of common examples throughout the book (such as Hush Puppies) made the book both easy to follow and consistently drove his point home. Gladwell compares the spreading of fads to the spreading of sexually transmitted diseases. At first this may seem a bit out there, but after reading further you find yourself nodding your head and seeing his point. The Tipping Point not only explores the fads themselves, but human nature in reaction to these new trends. He explains that for something to catch on, a large number of people need to embrace it. He explains why the public is lead to do so. I highly recommend this book. It's an excellent read.
Zeevitron More than 1 year ago
Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point covers a very elusive topic in the world of business and social science: trends, and specifically, the seemingly little things that cause something to become a trend. The title refers to the point when an idea or a behavior spreads like wildfire, hence the picture of the just lit match on the back cover. Gladwell's research is thorough; he cites scientific studies such as the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in Baltimore and the factors that make shows like Sesame Street or Blue's Clues interesting, or "sticky," to children. His thesis is that little things make a big impact in the spread of trends, behaviors, products, and ideas. Gladwell's "little things" fit into several categories or Laws. He defines The Law of the Few as when people known as connectors, mavens, or salesmen possess personality traits which cause people to quickly adopt a new idea. His main example for this is the ride of Paul Revere in which Revere possessed personality traits which made him very effective in spreading the news that the British were on the offensive. The Stickiness Factor, where the significance or impact an idea or product has affects how memorable it is and how fast it spreads, is exemplified by defining the things which make Sesame Street or Blue's Clues interesting to children. The Power of Context is Gladwell's law that the spread of trends depends on the environment in which they occur. For this he cites the cleanup of the New York City subway lines in which removing graffiti created a more orderly environment that caused all crimes to go down. Although the content is undeniably compelling, as is common when journalists write books (Gladwell is a writer for the New York Times), The Tipping Point reads like an extended newspaper article. There is a slightly dry and monotonous quality, most likely resulting from the journalistic practice of objectivity, Gladwell could have injected more personal commentary into his examples. Although I got through the book quickly, there were times when I found my mind bored and drifting regardless of how interesting the subject matter was. I believe in a longer work such as a book, journalists should take the liberty of injecting more of their own personality into the writing or the reader will find the content to be dry. Although this book is listed in the genre of Business/Economics I feel that it is accessible to anyone. True, the scientific aspect of the book will apply to marketing and people in that profession will benefit from reading it, but general readers will also gain a better understanding of how and why different types of people and products strongly impact them. Students of sociology will gain a better understanding of social trends such as crime and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Overall, there is much to learn from this book, the only room for improvement is in the writing.
AO_kid55 More than 1 year ago
Gladwell discusses the way in which the social and economic worlds revolve around epidemics; he explains what factors cause something (products, fashions, outlooks) to "tip" one way or another. The author is able to seamlessly incorporate seemingly unrelated examples to the main theme of how things in a society are tipped. Things can be tipped through word of mouth, advertisement, connectors, mavens, and salesmen; things that make fertile ground for trends to take root. Gladwell also includes something called the "stickiness factor" to help explain why a trend would or would not take root and "stick." Popularity in these trends however are susceptible to the environment in which they are created in. If trends start to move and change then the stickiness factor will take place and the trend may lessen or even disappear. However, Gladwell explains how it takes more than one single person to create a trend. It starts with one person or a small underground group and dominos into effect. The book gives examples from Hushpuppies and their near bankrupt recovery to NYC crime rates in order to explain the different factors that cause a tip. Gladwell explains that a lot has to do with the human connection; kids sporting hushpuppies look different and eventually look cool in the eye of the public. This creates a sense that these shoes are trendy. What happens when everyone is wearing them and they are no longer different? Are they still cool? Questions of that nature are left somewhat unanswered but overall, "The Tipping Point" is a wonderful read and worth the $14.95.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book sucks. Don't waste your hard earned money on it. Let me save you a few bucks here: Malcolm Gladwell is either a very self-aggrandizing man who is too busy thinking he is the god of marketing to notice that a great majority of his arguments lack any kind of cohesion or credibility whatsoever, or he is just so excited about his self-proclaimed 'paradigmatic' keys to the essense of social epidemics that he conveniently forgets to include that much needed credible evidence to support his long-winded theories, resulting in a book fit to satiate the appetite of audiences hungry for pop pseudo-science BS that will make them feel smart for reading it. Basically all this book is is a compilation of antecdotal evidence that is supposed to prove the truth in his words. Gladwell's arguments clearly violate some very important rules guiding intelligent thought: correlation does not imply causation (and the fact that two events happened on one occasion at the same time does not necessarily imply correlation), and the idea that a theory is bankable because one instance of antecdotal evidence exists. Umm, okay, that's like saying that I know a guy who won the lottery (I don't, but humor me), so it must be a logically good place to invest my paychecks (I don't have paychecks, but, please, humor me). I mean, I'm a 21-year-old college student, and not even a GOOD college student at that, and I could easily point out the flaws in his arguments -not just a single argument, but ALL of his arguments -as soon as I read them. I didn't even have to put the book down to think for a few minutes before I realized how absolutely pointless and downright ludicrous his 'insights' were. All that aside, his writing style is so patronizing and self-congratulatory that I could hardly stand to read any more than five pages at a time before my face got all scrunched up and I started uncontrollably muttering curse words under my breath. It makes me sad that people read this book and consider it a revelation in modern psychological and scientific thinking, not seeing it for what it is: an apparently very successful (thanks, readers of America) profit-driven waste of time. Gladwell made a ton of money off this book that probably only took him, like, 15 minutes to write, and THAT is the only thing genius about this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
although the book presented a lot of interesting insights and observations, it was not needed to have 20 pages on every idea. The author would go on for what seemed aged on one idea, then move onto another for an equally long amount of time, and then continue to go on for ages about how the two ideas MAY be interelated. The book could have done without '150' of those pages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although this book focuses on tipping points, it is really about systems dynamics -- how related phenomena build on each other in feedback loops (for example, adding food to the environment for rapidly growing species, expands their populations). This subject is an essential part of books like The Fifth Discipline, The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, The Dance of Change, and The Soul at Work. Because the book never makes that connection to systems dynamics, most readers won't either. That's a problem because you will need the tools from these other resources to apply this book's thesis of pushing the tipping point. For people who are interested in how to start (or stop) trends, this book is a useful encapsulation of much of the best and most provocative behavioral research in recent years. Unless you follow this subject closely (someone the author would call a Maven), you will find that much of this is new to you. On the other hand, if you have been involved in the marketing of trendy items or stopping medical epidemics, this will seem very elementary and old hat. I found the book to be a pleasant and quick read of how behaviors move from equilibrium into disequilibrium, caused by some factor that creates the tipping point to expand or decrease the behavior. I suspect you will, too. If you want to apply these lessons, you will probably find the book's explanation of the concepts to be just a little too general for your real needs. A good related book to fill in your sense of how human behavior works is Influence by Robert Cialdini. Essentially, the book's thesis is that trends grow by expanding the base of those who will spread the word of mouth and be listened to, aided by powerful messages that stick indelibly into the mind and an environment that psychologically encourages the trend. The weakness of that argument is that it fails to fully address the physical needs that might be served to support the trend. Sure, psychology is important, but so is physiology. To the author's credit, the examples clearly deal with physiology (such as the smoking and children's television sections), but the book's thesis does not really do so. It is a strange omission. I think some people will be confused about what to do as a result. Clearly, this book is about identifying what causes behavior through careful measuremen