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October 15, 2005

The Tipping Point

(How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference)
Malcolm Gladwell – ISBN – 0316346624

You’ll find this a very absorbing read, consistent with your intuition, really. The hypothesis is that in product/thought or what have you, there is, or at least can be a “tipping point” when the concept/product, overnight, becomes widely supported. On the other hand, he also makes the point that the world does not necessarily always accord with our intuition, being, then, counterintuitive

His interesting exposition of situations in which this clearly applies is informative. And there are many indications for marketing, products and data, concepts and philosophies.

Of his numerous examples, one of the more interesting is his revisit of the Broken Window concept of policing. A better explanation of this phenomenon has yet to be written. He elaborates rather fully upon how fixing the little things, such as cleaning up graffiti on subway cars, inherently speaks to, and for, order, thereby intimidating people who would disrupt it, channeling them into behaviors more acceptable.

His persisting point is how a number of relatively minor changes in external environment can have dramatic effects on how we behave, who we are, what we buy, etc.

He also leads afield into discussions of various human traits such as character . . . its inconsistencies and predictabilities as well.

At one point he discusses targeted interventions, often dismissed as "Band-Aid" remedies. He notes, however, that this is unnecessarily disparaging, inasmuch as the Band-Aid is the classic example of an “inexpensive, convenient, and remarkably versatile solution to an astonishing array of problems.” So with many Band-Aid remedies!

“Tipping Points are a reaffirmation of the potential for change and the power of intelligent action. Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push—in just the right place—it can [often] be tipped.”

His observations on present adolescent society are evocative, prescient, and demands more of a reply than most parents and others of responsibility are providing—and, to the detriment of the kids.

Overall an interesting and breezy read, well worth the time.

Posted by respeto at October 15, 2005 12:36 PM