I’ve just finished reading “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”. This is the second Malcolm Gladwell book I’ve read (first was Blink, which I thought was not great but very entertaining).
Tipping Point is also very entertaining. It is about how human behavior can spread like an epidemic. How Paul Revere was able to bring the American resistance together so effectively? Why teenagers in the Western world smoke? How crime in NY declined so much so fast?
The study cases are are well thought out and Gladwell does a good job on coming up with a framework that dissects the different components in play. He comes up with 3 factors that determine whether something will “tip” or not: “The Law of the Few”, “The Stickiness Factor” and “The Power of Context”. It all makes sense, especially because he ties well each example and their correspondent rule.
I do get a funny feeling that in the end this is all pretty much common sense and Malcolm’s theories are just a rationalization of different forces in action. It sounds right to say “teenagers smoke because it is cool”, but is that really the root cause here? Same thing with his 3 archetypes in the Law of the Few. I mean, you have the people who network well, the technical experts and the people who can sell you anything… This is pretty much how all modern companies are divided anyway, isn’t it?
But again, rearranging ideas into new orders is not such a bad thing. At least the book doesn’t try to come up with some fake controversy or purposely attacks opposing point of views. The core idea there is really that small changes can make a big difference, and that is by all means true. A nice read.
By the way, the guy has a blog. A good one too.