Sunday, April 27, 2014

Book Review: The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big DifferenceThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Boy am I ever glad Malcolm Gladwell writes books.  They are entertaining, educational, and page turning... just the thing to take on a beach vacation. 

The Tipping Point was a bestseller for a very good reason... it is useful information with endless application. Gladwell pulls together some very relevant social scientific research from the world's best universities - which would otherwise not be accessible to the rest of us -- and he makes sense of it.  He weaves it together with interesting stories of real people to show how the learning works in real life.  And it all comes together to prove a valuable point, in this case that Little Things Can Make Big Difference. 

Years after The Tipping Point's publication, my friends and I still use many of its key words and concepts in our discussions.  We know who the connectors are in our community, and the salesmen.  (I am the maven in my social circle!)  We talk about getting to 150 supporters of any effort we undertake, and about the stickiness of our ideas.  Sometimes we have to remind each other of the specifics of this chapter or that, but the main themes come back quickly - I think because of Gladwell's superior ability to paint pictures with words.

By using such a range of examples and stories, Gladwell demonstrates the diverse applications of the research he reports on.  In some ways, The Tipping Point is the ultimate "how to" book. The techniques are universal... each reader gets to choose what to apply them to.  I first heard the book discussed in a training on launching a pro-environment messaging campaign.  I now use it with clients who advocate for people with disabilities.  It's endless. 

If you haven't read this one yet, I recommend taking it along on your next vacation.  You will be glad you did. In case you are curious, but not sure you are ready to dive in, here's a two-page summary, written by me.

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