The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcom Gladwell asks, How do many little things add up to change the course of a business (the makers of Hush Puppies shoes) or a health epidemic (syphilis in Baltimore during the 1990s), crime in NYC, or literacy among the underprivileged (Sesame Street)?

Gladwell says if we think of a major change in the direction of some given subject in terms of the way the flu spreads, we find the building blocks for how to rethink waves of cultural change.

What makes Gladwell so entertaining to read is his revisionist tendency to take something we think we know and reframe it.

In April of 1775 there was news on the street in Boston, word of mouth really, that the British were about to do something big. When word got to Paul Revere and his close friend, Joseph Warren, they both felt this was information that needed to be heeded. At 10 p.m. on April 18, Revere began his “midnight ride” to alert as many militia men as possible. At about the same time, another revolutionary named William Dawes also set out on horseback to alert as many people as possible. Why is it we all know about Paul Revere’s ride, but no one knows about Dawes? Herein lies the magic of rethinking what we think we know.

Another entertaining book about the idea of reaching a critical point and re-envisioning it through a handful of very different stories. Soft cover, was $19, now as a remainder, only $9.95