Malcolm Gladwell is a storyteller. What I find particularly admirable about his work is that he is able to convey what has been traditionally a spoken language skill into a written one–while reducing seemingly complex ideas into digestible bite-size chunks. It is not surprising, then, that The Tipping Point (2000) was a best seller and achieved “one of the best books of the decade” status on many lists.
Pulling from a broad set of examples from different aspects of life and history, such as from Paul Revere’s midnight ride, to successful advertising campaigns, to Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues, to the decline of the crime rate in New York City, Gladwell explains “how little things can make a big difference.”
More specifically, Gladwell describes how three special groups of people–connectors, mavens, and salesmen–are responsible for creating word-of-mouth epidemics. In the process, he also adds interesting bits of trivia, such as that the number 150 represents “the maximum number of individuals with whom we can have genuinely social relationships, the kind of relationship that goes with knowing who they are and how they relate to us” (179). What distinguishes Gladwell’s work or the points made in The Tipping Point is that he goes beyond just presenting theory to consider practical applications of these ideas to tackle societal issues, such as the “war” on cigarettes, among others.
The Tipping Point is an engaging, interesting, and informative nonfiction that reads more like fiction. This is due to Gladwell’s anecdotal style of linking social phenomena to science. This approach makes The Tipping Point a captivating, quick, and enjoyable read.