The Tipping Point

The Tipping Project


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.

Gladwell introduces us to the particular personality types who are natural pollinators of new ideas and trends, the people who create the phenomenon of word of mouth. He analyzes fashion trends, smoking, children's television, direct mail, and the early days of the American Revolution for clues about making ideas infectious, and visits a religious commune, a successful high-tech company, and one of the world's greatest salesmen to show how to start and sustain social epidemics.  (Summary and cover courtesy of


This was a really interesting book that I actually listened to.  While listening to it, I did find it repetitive at times, but the approach will appeal to folks who like structured essays and formal presentations of arguments.  Despite this, I found the concepts compelling and I have certainly found I have thought about problems differently.  In many ways, it inspires me to think that we may be able to solve some of the more complex social problems with some creative thinking to address the problem.

The argument that I found particularly fascinating was the smoking epidemic.  I loved that Gladwell challenged us to look at the problem differently that could be a more efficient way to address the problem.  In the epilogue, he also talks about the epidemic of school shootings and how that compares to the suicides and smoking as well, which is particularly relevant with recent events.  All in all, this was a good one that will require some additional digesting.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Anyone interested in the unknown impliations of actions and is hoping to market a new product.