Why did crime in New York drop so suddenly in the mid-'90s? How does an unknown novelist end up a bestselling 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?
Malcolm Gladwell, a staff writer for The New Yorker, has been studying trends like these for years and has written several articles for the magazine that have developed into his new book, The Tipping Point. According to Gladwell, 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 sick individual in a crowded store can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push start a fashion trend or cause the popularity of a new restaurant to take off overnight or cause crime or drug use to taper off. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell shows how very minor adjustments in products and ideas can make them more likely to become immensely popular. He reveals how easy it is to cause group behavior to tip in a desirable direction by making small changes in our immediate environment.
Gladwell introduces us to the particular personality types that 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. He also visits a religiouscommune,a successful high-tech company, and one of the world's greatest salesmen to show how to start and sustain social epidemics.
This is a book that should be read by everyone in business, politics, marketing and advertising, as well as by anyone interested in trends, fashion, fads, policy making, and human behavior. In other words, all of us. (Emily Burg)