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

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

by Malcolm Gladwell
As told by Malcolm Gladwell

January 7, 2002 | Trade Paperback

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference is rated 4.0286 out of 5 by 35.
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 single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 304 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 1 in

Published: January 7, 2002

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0316346624

ISBN - 13: 9780316346627

Found in: Health and Well Being, Social Science
Appropriate for ages: 13 - 13

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Didn't Tip Me Over So much discussion and many conferences, seminars and other such environments where this book has been brought up. Perhaps for me, I had heard too much for the hype. I felt that for all the accolades it has received, I didn't get much out of the book except for what the main point was. In many a situation, given the exhaustive analytics, there is a point where epidemics occur and factors that bring that about. Perhaps it was just common sense for me, but this book didn't bring any revelations that I didn't feel I already knew. It was a very researched expression, methodical in its approach. I think the references were well thought out and the concept executed in a fashion that is transferable, however, I felt I understood the concept quite early in the book and found it hard to continue to the very end.
Date published: 2012-09-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I really liked what I heard. 3.75 stars This book looks at various "epidemics" and what causes them. One little idea or product or something that becomes a fad or very popular - how does it happen, what causes it to become popular? Gladwell considers such things as a resurgence in the popularity of Hush Puppies, Sesame Street, crime decreasing significantly in New York City in the 90s, and more. I am disappointed in that I ended up with an abridged audio. I didn't even realize it was abridged (though it did seem really short) until I got to the Afterword and he mentioned something that he'd supposedly mentioned in the book, that I didn't remember hearing. That's when I wondered... It's only looking back now, that I see I could have checked an unabridged audio out of the library instead. I just happened to select the wrong one. I've never listened to an abridged audio before, so I never even thought to check for it. I really liked what I heard, though. Enough that I would "rewind" if I missed something (often, I just let it go). Malcolm Gladwell was reading it, and I thought he did a good job. I was going to give the book 4 stars, but I'm bumping it down to 3.75 because it was an abridgement. I don't quite understand what the point of abridging a book for audio is, anyway. If someone's going to read it aloud, why not read the entire book?
Date published: 2011-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The one that started it for me In perhaps his most famous tome, Gladwell examines the question of why some events or subjects tip to the stratosphere while most things flail around at ground level. As someone whose job it is to make things resonate with people I don't even know, this book was pretty revealing of the seemingly minor subtleties involved in tipping and how the entire success of a project can rest on the people (mavens, salespeople) who push your message more than on the message itself. And having been an editorialist in a past life (and an opinionated %&% presently), I can very much appreciate how a carefully chosen word or image can make all the difference in whether a message sticks with the intended audience. By the same token, The Tipping Point also highlights how Sisyphian (Sisyphusian?) advertising and communications can be. With some messages, I'm afraid, you can push all day and get nowhere. If it doesn't resonate, it doesn't matter. Now if I could only figure out how to explain that to my clients."
Date published: 2011-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "A life changer" The Tipping Point is a permanent fixture in my personal library. Not only is this book one of the best trade hardbacks I've ever read, but it's also a book that I continue to look to it in order to make meaningful changes in my professional life. As an author and independent publisher who aspires to turn my "little book" educational series into a global brand, I recently reread the Tipping Point in the hopes of gleaning from it clues on how I could create a tipping point in my own publishing business. First, I sought to better understand the people around me: who exactly are those mavens, salespersons, and connectors? Second, I started tinkering with the way information was worded on promotional materials. The goal was to make the message more "sticky." I started by focusing on one of my education books titled The Little Blue Reasoning Book: 50 Powerful Principles for Clear and Effective Thinking. This book is one in a four-part series and sister to The Little Red Writing Book, The Little Gold Grammar Book, and The Little Green Math Book. Upon publication, I noticed that initial sales of The Little Blue Reasoning Book were lagging behind the sales of my other three books. I found this somewhat surprising as I had expected the "blue book" to vie with The Little Red Writing Book for first place in the series. Although I recognize that reasoning skills do not address as clear a niche market as do writing, grammar, and math skills, I also believe that a book on reasoning skills represents a more unique educational offering. Reasoning skills are, after all, one of the most important yet seldom taught skills. My original flap copy on the backside of the book contained standard descriptive sentences such as: "Reasoning skills help us make sense of the world, including how to make decisions, tackle opportunities, evaluate claims, and solve problems." For promotional purposes, I tinkered with the stickiness and came up with: "This book is based on a simple but powerful observation: Individuals who develop outstanding reasoning and thinking skills do so primarily by mastering a limited number of the most important reasoning principles and concepts, which they use over and over again. What are these recurring principles and concepts? The answer to this question is the basis of this book." The Tipping Point is based on three rules: the law of the few (mavens, salespersons, and connectors), content (stickiness), and context (environment and circumstances). As I started to think of ways to marry the concepts of stickiness and context, I came up with the following verbiage: "Never has there been a time when one idea can make a bigger difference. In the case of thinking and reasoning skills, one idea or concept - creative or analytical - can greatly influence the outcome of a personal or business decision. The more we fulfill our own potentials, the better we can contribute to the world of commerce and to our communities." The principles advocated by the Tipping Point continue to be an integral part of my book marketing efforts. The bet is that little, incremental things do make a big difference. Brandon Royal, award-winning educational author, brandonroyal.com
Date published: 2011-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking! A really great read. It makes you think about yourself and everyone you know to figure out what type of person they are. He brings in data and information but keeps even that information interesting.
Date published: 2010-10-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Informative and Interesting I should have rated this book 3 stars because personally, I felt this book was a bit too long, but on the overall the content was interesting. Gladwell provides a lot of insight into the human behaviours that cause social phenomenons. He tells us why hush puppies became popular, and why people got hooked on smoking. Perhaps the most important moral arrived at near the end of the book is this: in a world ruled by advertising, word of mouth has never been more reliable and effective. The author has done a good job with this unorthodox topic as it is a difficult one to research and raw data is not readily available. This book has some real life applications, especially for those trying to spread their new inventions or ideas, and is a worthy read.
Date published: 2010-07-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting, but not fascinating I found this book to be interesting, but not fascinating. Having also read and thoroughly enjoyed Gladwell's Outliers, I hoped to be wowed by the Tipping Point. But with this one, I just didn't find the point to be as clear-cut as was the case with Outliers. I found the concepts to be a little fuzzy, and doubted the cause/effect in some cases. Nonetheless, the examples and case studies that Gladwell presents are incredibly relatable, and appeal to a wide audience. This book would be especially beneficial to anyone involved in the spreading of ideas, as Gladwell provides true insights into what is involved when something becomes a trend/fad/epidemic.
Date published: 2010-06-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Tipsy with Enjoyment I don't normally read this type of book for enjoyment; but it was on my list. My list of 100 books to read in 1 year. The Tipping Point reads like a very concise, cool "business-y" psychology textbook. I love the study of people and how they operate. It does fascinate me. Because sometimes I see myself in the research results - which gives me a feeling of reassurance that I am not alone in my (often warped) line of thought; and other times, I am flabbergasted that people would react/respond in a particular way. And still other times, I am intrigued because I would never have guessed at the results, and I find it thought-provoking. Before I read it, I thought The Tipping Point was a book about marketing. Ways to make your product/service/thing a success. And, I guess that it is ... sort of. The Tipping Point explores how some things become phenomena that everyone wants to participate in. A couple of years ago, it was the Chiminea ... everyone had to have one of those backyard fireplaces. Or those icicle Christmas lights ... remember those things? Everyone just had to have them, and I bet you still have some packed away in a box in your basement. And I hardly think that I need to mention Facebook or Twitter or any other social networking website. If you like the study of human behaviour, you will find this book interesting. Gladwell sites many behavioural experiments and draws examples from real occurrences, like the story of Bernard Goetz ... which I found fascinating. So, even if you are not trying to read 100 books in 1 year, read this book. It'll change the way you look at marketing trends. If you want to read all my thoughts on this book, check out my blog ... http://takenoutofcontext-jill.blogspot.com/2010/05/tipping-point.html
Date published: 2010-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You now it's good when... You finish reading it in a week and you aren't a fast and regular reader. I loved the way he showed the idea of tipping point. So much exemple. Seriously, it's one hell of a book.
Date published: 2010-04-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Tipping Point I just finished listening to Malcolm Gladwell's audio book: The Tipping Point. Excellent book. I enjoyed the "broken window" effect that Malcolm used as an example in this book.
Date published: 2010-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Malcolm Gladwell always has an interesting spin on what is going on around us I really enjoyed this book! I love how the author used many, unrelated analogies to prove how everything from epidemics, to fashion trends to television shows can either stop dead in their tracks, or take off with the slightest shift in circumstance, and some of the theories that create "the tipping point". Excellent read! For a full review, go to the following URL: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1760526/book_review_the_tipping_point_by_malcolm.html?cat=9
Date published: 2009-05-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not as good as blink In this novel, Gladwell tries to explain what pushes things over the edge to adoption, addiction, and use. For example, when the shoes Hush Puppies made a come back, it was a trend started by a few people in night clubs in New York. Gladwell examines how a few people could create a country-wide trend. He also looks at tipping points for Sesame Street, Blue's Clues, smoking, amongst a variety of other things. While some of the points that Gladwell brought up were interesting, the book drags on a bit too much, specifically in the introduction chapter. Weirdly enough, I found Gladwell's afterward to be the most interesting chapter. Perhaps because it's the most relevant chapter as Gladwell goes over what he has learned about this book after having written it. Given the choice between this book and Blink, Gladwell's other book, I would choose Blink.
Date published: 2008-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read This book is one of the few out their that really gets you thinking about the small stuff. Blink by the same author is another great read and well worth having on the bookshelf
Date published: 2008-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant This is an amazing book worth reading by anyone interested in business and social connectivity. Gladwell is an amazing read, with a very well thought out organization and presentation. You won't be disappointed
Date published: 2008-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from thought provoking It changes the way you think about things. Very thought provoking. I loved it.
Date published: 2008-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from thought provoking It changes the way you thinkk about things. Very thought provoking. I loved it.
Date published: 2008-01-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Review Very poorly written book. Correlation does not imply causation, my dear Malcolm. Waste of time. I didn't bother to finish it. I'll find a more original (and research-driven) book to read up on the topic.
Date published: 2007-12-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Makes You Think, But Isn't Earth Shattering Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point is a worthwhile book, but its flaws do not lead me to fundamentally change my views about the issues Gladwell confronts. There are, to be sure, many virtues in The Tipping Point. As opposed to our culture’s current fetish for biological explanation of human behaviour, Gladwell makes a good case for the role of social-psychological explanations. Instead of assuming that chemical imbalances are sufficient causal explanations rather than symptoms themselves or, at best, are intermediate causes, The Tipping Point illustrates the power of social surroundings to change or maintain human behaviour. He says, We like to think of ourselves as autonomous and inner-directed, that who we are and how we act is something permanently set by our genes and our temperament. But if you add up the example of Salesmen and Connectors, of Paul Revere’s ride and Blue’s Clues, and the Rule of 150 and the New York subway cleanup and the Fundamental Attribution Error, they amount to a very different conclusion about what it means to be human. (p. 258-259) The variety of historical, business and military examples of the ‘150 Person Rule’ effectively describes the tipping point at which organizations can no longer maintain close inter-personal relationships. I also like Gladwell’s discussion of the key individuals responsible for spreading ideas (i.e. connectors, mavens and salespeople). His examples seem representative, and they consistently reflect the definitions Gladwell offers at the start of the book. I think his discussion of mavens (with their predilection for Consumer Reports) is particularly convincing, and I see a lot of the maven in myself. His discussion of Dunbar’s theory of the neo-cortex and complex social interaction rings true, as it parallels my own understanding of anthropology and the history of mentalities. Finally, Gladwell writes smoothly and clearly, and restates his key arguments so that the average layperson can keep track of his sophisticated arguments. Given my experiences with books that lack these virtues, I think this last point is enough to recommend this book! On the other hand, The Tipping Point does not have enough to significantly alter my own perception of the world. Gladwell tries to generalize about human behaviour and argues (see above) that social interaction is the dominant, or perhaps sole explanation, for human behaviour. However, he can’t account for the plethora of counter-examples. In other words, even though I’m personally sympathetic with Gladwell’s social-psychological worldview, there are too many instances of behaviour that result from biological or consciously self-directed motives. For example, Gladwell’s metaphor of the epidemic to explain the spread of ideas is problematic. An epidemic implies a spontaneous, ‘bottom-up’ creation and transmission of ideas, but many of his own examples don’t seem to fit his theory. Many of the examples with television display a very conscious manipulation of an audience. They are created and transmitted from a central source; I suppose this can be an epidemic, but it certainly is not spontaneous or ‘bottom-up’. It’s more akin to creating the virus on your own and intentionally infecting yourself and spreading it to others. The Hush Puppy example can easily be seen this way. Trend watchers are only based in a few cities, and fashion ‘seeders’ know this; fashion trends are the result of geographic specificity and an industry that intentionally ‘infects’ itself to create new demand. Some call this “viral marketing”. I doubt if clogs from Minneapolis would ever start a new trend, because neither the watchers nor the seeders are there. I don’t doubt some ideas/trends spread in the manner Gladwell describes, but I hardly think it’s the only way they spread. Finally, Gladwell’s explanation of ‘sticky’ ideas is circular. Gladwell argues that you need the right people and the right context in order for new ideas to spread. He also says you need the right idea, too. But he waffles as to whether it’s the content of the idea, or how it’s presented, that is important. For example, the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is a sticky book because the content of the story is sticky: ‘The book itself is heartwarming and beautifully written, a compelling story of friendship and mother-daughter relationships. It spoke to people’ (p. 171). On the other hand, he concludes that by ‘tinkering with the presentation of information, we can significantly improve its stickiness’ (p. 259). In the end, one gets the impression that an idea has stickiness because the idea sticks. This is a tautology that renders explanation meaningless. Nevertheless, any book that makes me think about such a variety of issues is worth the time to read it. Like with Lord of the Flies, for example, I don’t have to agree with a book to find it rewarding.
Date published: 2007-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THE TIPPING POINT: How little things can make a big difference by Malcolm Gladwell I wasn't quite sure what this book was going to be about when I started it but about ten pages into it I was hooked. It's basically how things "get going", that is to say, they get "tipped" into the public domain and psyche. Think advertising, Think promotion, Think marketing. But it goes further than that. It's more about word of mouth syndrome and how the ball gets rolling on good ideas--how they spread. Great examples - everything from Sesame Street to Wall Street......
Date published: 2007-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book for just thinking It's a fun read, worth your time and money, and it makes you think about topics in a new way.
Date published: 2007-10-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read Did you know that at the same time Paul Revere went on his famous "The British are coming" ride, another man did the same thing in another direction? Why isn't he as well known? It has to do with Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen--the types of people responsible for word-of-mouth epidemics. If you aren't one, your message won't spread as far or as fast. There are lots of other interesting tidbits in "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. For instance, if you were asked to nod your head during an ad to raise tuition fees, you'd be highly likeley to agree, even if it cost you hundreds of dollars out of your own pocket. If you shook your head back and forth during the pitch, you'd disagree. Using examples as diverse as car company mistakes to highly researched studies of "Blue's Clues", Gladwell makes an interesting read of "How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference". You'll want to apply his theories to your own life.
Date published: 2006-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must-Read Malcolm Gladwell makes us look at current events and at ourselves in a totally different light. I hope his next book includes a chapter on the tipping point of his own first book. How an interesting hypothesis from a New York Times scribe can spread like an epidemic and be the rage across the country? I cannot wait to see what idea this genius comes out with after 'Blink". Too bad Gladwell doesn't evaluate himself so that the reader can find out if he is an innovator, a maven or a connector? Enjoy the book.
Date published: 2006-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Give it a chance and it might change your life This book could be life-changing if you apply a lot of it to your life. Some of it may seem a bit stretched, almost like a really good conspiracy theory, but I think if you have a little faith in it and give it a chance, that would tip things over. Useful for everything from social situations to business to communications since we could all use either a little more influence and/or the benefits of a little more influence for any number of reasons, from power to money to prestige, etc. Also helps you make a bit more sense of society and the world, in general.
Date published: 2006-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Making sense of everyday life This is a book that should be included on the curriculum of marketing students. It goes a long way to explain how sometimes things unfold without pre-determined planning. The concepts of word of mouth, epidemic marketing and coincidences has never been so well explained then when related through concrete examples. Malcolm Gladwell uses, with good results, examples from our everyday life to explain something that most people take for granted. Well done and well worth slaving away to complete it, if it is not your cup of tea.
Date published: 2006-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very thorough Excellent review of evidence, thus proving his hypothesis. He chooses good examples. I still quote his examples whenever I talk to friends and I try to prove a point about his hypothesis. It kept me enthralled.
Date published: 2006-07-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from too much repitition... read the first 5 pages of each chapter and that's enough...hate repitition and gladwell seems to love it.
Date published: 2006-06-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from found it a bit tedious I liked the examples given in the book - but most of the time I felt like the author could have said the same thing in half the words. I found myself skipping whole paragraphs because I got the point.
Date published: 2006-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Read Great read on how trends start, begin and explode. Helpful for business people to understand how trends can take off.
Date published: 2005-09-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A powerful framework Gladwell draws on the work of several thought leaders from the field of psychology to support his Tipping Point Framework . The Tipping Point is a well written and fascinating book. I had a hard time putting it down. A must read for anyone interested in the factors at play in bringing a new idea to epidemic proportions.
Date published: 2005-09-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from How could something so good be seen as boring? Contrary to popular belief, this book is far from boring. In fact, I read it in one sitting because I was capitvated by the excellent and diverse examples of various Tipping Points Gladwell puts forth. The basic thesis of the book is to prove that small and seemingly insignificant actions can have global consequences. Taking you through smoking, shoes, suicide and Seasme Street, Gladwell constructs an easily read and easily understood arguement. Background information is NOT required for this reading! The only thing required is common sense and an open mind, something recent reviews of this book have been lacking.
Date published: 2005-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Kick starting marketing ideas! This book should start you on a path to new thinking and a new way of looking at why you do the things you do and how to change others. Reading it will rewire your marketing ideas if you are a new company and rethink your marketing approach if you are a mature company. It has insight into the reasons, how and why, corporate America, can and do, sell their products. It also indirectly points out the mass nature of our society (ies), how to take advantage of them and the result aids in the homogenization of products offered around the North America and around the world. Malcolm Gladwell has put into words what many have suspected, that hot new trends and societal shifts are in the hands of the few who in many cases don't know it or can be manipulated to help drive the new trends. Insightful, riveting and a must read. It should cause you to question every purchase, thought and belief from the day you start reading it.
Date published: 2005-09-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring!! This book is boring. I struggled to finish it. You need a lot of background information on the ideas he talks about otherwise you just get lost. I would not recommend this to anyone.
Date published: 2005-07-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from absolute waste of money i felt mad reading this book because of how boring it was. i only pushed myself to read it to get my money's worth. i thought it would talk about many modern epidemics tipping, but it only mentioned a few of them. (most of which i don't even care about) you need to have knowledge of the epidemics otherwise it's really boring. he mentions so many random people that you just get lost.
Date published: 2005-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Amazing Book I was absolutely riveted from the first moment I picked this book up. It can honestly be said that this is one of the few works that truly challenges the way society thinks and functions as a whole. The author's concept of society's tendency to start and perpetuate epidemics is completely revolutionary, and deserving of much wider attention than it has received.
Date published: 2001-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Absolutely fascinating. The book was well thought out and researched. It uses real life examples like Why hush puppies became fashionable; poularity of sesame street and the rise and fall of airwalker....to make its point. My husband and I throughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.
Date published: 2000-06-15

– More About This Product –

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

by Malcolm Gladwell
As told by Malcolm Gladwell

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 304 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 1 in

Published: January 7, 2002

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0316346624

ISBN - 13: 9780316346627

From the Publisher

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 single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.

About the Author

Malcolm Gladwell is also the author of the #1 bestselling Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. He was a reporter for the Washington Post from 1987 to 1996, working first as a science writer and then as New York City bureau chief. Since 1996, he has been a staff writer for The New Yorker.

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 13

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