Monday, January 31, 2011

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

Book Details:

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Publisher: Back Bay Books (January, 2002)

Book Summary: “The Tipping Point” is the biography of an idea, and the idea is quite simple: that many of the problems we face - from murder to teenage delinquency to traffic jams - behave like epidemics. They aren’t linear phenomena in the sense that they steadily and predictably change according to the level of effort brought to bear against them. They are capable of sudden and dramatic changes in direction.

Years of well-intentioned intervention may have no impact at all, yet the right intervention - at just the right time - can start a cascade of change. Many of the social ills that face us today, in other words, are as inherently volatile as the epidemics that periodically sweep through the human population: little things can cause them to “tip” at any time and if we want to understand how to confront and solve them we have to understand what those “tipping points” are. In this study, Malcolm Gladwell explores the ramifications of this.

Not simply for politicians and policy-makers, his method provides a way of viewing everyday experience and seeking to enable us to develop strategies for everything from raising a child to running a company.

My Review:

The Tipping Point is an academic book explaining the reasons for certain behaviours such as teenage smoking and fashion. I really liked the way the author manages to put his point across in a clear, concise and easy to understand manner. The book is not dry reading like most academic books, Gladwells writing being crisp and entertaining. He introduces his concepts in a well analyzed manner and you can follow his thought process as you read. The concepts started clicking as I read and I could easily connect them with the previously explained concepts. The book is easy to follow as Gladwell explains his studies using examples such as fashion and crime rates, making it easy for the layman to follow. The book focuses on three main concepts; a) The Law of the Few, b) The Stickiness Factor and c) The Power of Context. All the three concepts are well explained.

What I didn’t like about the book was that there was a lot of repetitiveness, with concepts and examples explained again and again, and at some places the author has given a lot of emphasis on certain examples like the teenage smoking phenomena. Also, the book does not tell you how to translate the concepts into real time ideas. It will help you analyze past epidemics but shows no roadmap to create epidemics of your own. All in all it was a great read and will be especially useful to marketing professionals.

I rate it 4/5 and I will definitely recommend it to others. I read this as a part of my 100+ Books in a Year Challenge.

Rating: 4/5

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