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Posted by on Nov 17, 2016 in Archive

Review: “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell

For one of my classes, I had the opportunity to read “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. I can assure you, this book will make you think, question, and understand ideas and thoughts that you may not normally have or think of. Gladwell starts the reader off with two stories. One of which is about Hushpuppies, an old shoe line, and how they became one of the most popular trends in a matter of just two years. He then goes on to talk about the declining crime rate in New York City. The reason for mentioning these two stories was to explain that things and ideas can spread like epidemics. Glad well goes on to explain The Three Rules of Epidemics, which is ultimately what “The Tipping Point” is centered around.

The Three Rules of Epidemics

Good ideas can eventually spread and turn into epidemics. However, not all ideas can do so, and thats what Gladwell questioned. Not just how the ideas spread, but why they spread. And thats where The Three Rules of Epidemics come in.

The first one mentioned isThe Law of the Few. The Law of Few highlights that when working in a group environment, about 80 percent of the work will end up being done by three people, while the remaining 20 gets split among the rest. I definitely have seen that trend throughout my years in college, and its never fun having to do the majority of the work. However, it can be very rewarding in the end. According to The Law of the Few. these three people are generally known as the Connectors, Maven, and Salespeople.


These are the people who know everyone. There is one in every group to. The guy or girl who knows everyone when you go out, or the person who knows all the right people to contact when you need help with something you can’t do.


Maven are essentially the people who connectors may try to get in contact with. Maven can be compared to teachers, in the way that teachers tend to know more than the average person and they are always willing to help.


Lastly, Gladwell speaks of the salespeople. The salespeople are exactly how they sound, they are the persuaders of the group. Gladwell describes Salespeople as the classic sales person. Someone who who throughly enjoys or loves what they are trying to sell. The fact that they are invested in what they are selling makes the product more desirable by the public.

The Stickiness Factor

The second rule of epidemics is described as the stickiness factor. The greatest way to explain the stickiness factor is by comparing it to Sesame Street. The classic show we all watched as children did not get off to a great start, but some minor changes allowed Sesame Street to expand into one of the most influential shows in history. The idea of having celebrity guests is just one of the things, along with the shows educational value, that gave Sesame Street that “sticky” factor that draws in such a big audience.

The Power Context

Lastly, Gladwell speaks of The Power Context. Basically, this means that human behavior correlates to the environment they live in. The people you grow up around and the area you live in have an influence how one behaves. It’s not always a bad thing though, it just depends on the situation.

All in all, “The Tipping Point” was a very informative, but enjoyable read. I can see some of the things I do in my work and how they correlate with Gladwell’s analysis of epidemics. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the idea of knowing how and why ideas spread to become bigger and better things.