The Tipping Point

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So I recently took some time to take a class in becoming a better leader at work. One of the assignments was to read a book by Malcolm Gladwell called “The Tipping Point”. I’ve read some critical reviews of this book, but I must say, it can be a game-changer in your life if you take the points to heart. The idea is simple; it’s not enough to have a good idea and casually share it with society. For an idea to change the world or to tip from a good concept to an epidemic of change, you need three factors to create this change; the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context.

Now I know this is starting to sound a little like a snake-oil salesman, but I truly have gained a lot of perspective from this novel. Starting with the Law of the Few, to make an idea grow into an epidemic, you need certain types of people to endorse it. These people are the Connectors, the Mavens, the Salesmen. The Connectors of course know people, the Mavens are the ones who know how things work and want to share it with everyone, and the Salesmen know how to get everyone to buy into that idea.

The second factor is the Stickiness Factor. This talks about how certain ideas for some odd reason have the ability to “stick” in our minds and never leave. Brilliant ad campaigns have helped solidify companies as household items though this Stickiness Factor. He also goes in depth on Sesame Street & Blues Clues. These two shows appeal to children in such a strong way, but it wasn’t by accident. The pacing, the scene setups, everything on those shows are done deliberately only because of some careful scientific study and analysis with multiple test groups of children to find out how to capture their minds.

The final piece is the Power of Context, which I truly find to be the strongest factor in the entire book. The idea is that in order for something to tip a certain way, the little things need to be done to ensure that the big goal is achieved. Crime in New York City rapidly faded in the late 1980’s to 1990’s and not by the conventional means of more detectives, bigger guns, and badder SWAT teams. This happened by changing the small things, like eliminating graffiti, punishing petty crimes, and cleaning up the subways. Imagine the change you can make in your own world, your own office environment, and even your own home with a little application of the Power of Context. How much more efficient, happier, and productive would you be with these applied principles.

There are additional case studies throughout the book to show some well known trends and why they became popular. How does a small book club which read the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood turn into a blockbuster novel and movie? Why did a small company like Airwalk grow so significantly then disappear so suddenly? What did they do right and what did they do wrong? Why did smoking catch on and what is being done to fight the cult following and culture that it currently retains?

This book is truly one of my favorite books out there. It’s an easy read and puts into perspective how small people with big ideas were able to change their towns, cities and society through the application of a few small factors. If your going on vacation or are tired of too much reality TV, put the remote down, pick up this book, and discover how you can create the next great epidemic.

You can purchase this book pretty cheaply. Click here to get it delivered from Amazon for around $10 or so.

6 Comments

  1. 27 June 11, 10:46am

    iā€™d love to share this posting with the readers on my site. thanks for sharing!

  2. 16 May 11, 6:22pm

    Now we know who the snesblie one is here. Great post!

  3. 16 May 11, 3:11pm

    Got it! Thanks a lot again for hpeilng me out!

  4. 15 May 11, 8:41pm

    Very true! Makes a chgane to see someone spell it out like that. šŸ™‚

  5. 15 May 11, 3:47pm

    Good point. I hadn’t thuohgt about it quite that way. šŸ™‚

  6. 15 May 11, 6:38am

    Thkans for the insight. It brings light into the dark!

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