Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, A Book Review

I consider myself to be an analytically inclined person that enjoys science. An interesting book that I read made me realize how science can be applied in different ways. I’ll start with the following: what do you think of when I say the word “epidemic” (pause to think for a few seconds before reading on)? Well for me it would be, the black plague, viruses, and disease. There is somebody that had a different way of applying this word, which keenly surprised me. That somebody is Malcolm Gladwell, author of the Tipping Point. He applied a scientific concept to social phenomena that is observed in society. In the Tipping Point he expertly describes this way of thinking, and discusses results of different social studies in an easy way for readers to understand. One of the concepts that Dr. Gladwell describes is that of stickiness, and this is the idea that a certain threshold level of popularity needs to be reached before a concept would quickly gain mainstream popularity. In science this can also be viewed as a form of momentum. In the book the author describes in detail the process and the components that are involved for a concept to gain stickiness or go mainstream. Is this not a simply amazing application of science? The author cites many examples in society where he applies his theories. The concepts Dr. Gladwell explained in the Tipping Point really made me think and gave me a peak of phenomenon in society from an interesting angle.
This book is certainly a must read for those MBA students in graduate school. I found the book in the Management section of the bookstore and I would argue that a book like this could be found in many different sections in the bookstore, such as self help, or sociology. I would also highly recommend this book for those of you like me who enjoy analyzing data, looking at trends and then applying them, in this case to social issues. If you want to become wiser about things around you and learn how to be better positioned in life then read this book. Oh by the way, if you want to learn some interesting trivia facts, that’s also another reason to read this book. I always enjoy these nuggets of historical facts. Was there anybody else making the famous ride along with Paul Revere? Why is Blues Clues such a successful educational show compared to Sesame Street? I think I’ll leave you in suspense, just read the book for these answers and more. Now when you ask me what would I think when I heard the word epidemic, I would include the Tipping Point, and the spread of social trends.

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