I read a lot of authors for the first time this year, but I’ve become completely obsessed with two of them and proceeded to buy or borrow more of their books (thank God there are multiple) because I can’t get enough. Nick Hornby is one of them and Malcolm Gladwell is the other.
I finished book #81 last night and it was The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. This won’t come as a surprise, but I absolutely loved it. It was classic Gladwell perfection and I couldn’t put it down.
After reading three of his books in a relatively short span of time, I’m picking up on the fact that little, besides the idea and the studies used to support or show that idea in action, changes from book to book. He starts with a surprising and compelling event to illustrate a larger social phenomenon, breaks that phenomenon down into digestible pieces then goes on to demonstrate all of those pieces with more compelling studies and examples, continually relating them back to the broader phenomenon.
You might think this repetitive way of looking at trends in the world would get old or become cliche, but it does not. I think it must be a combination of the fascinating topics he’s always studying and his really approachable and easy-to-read writing style. Whatever it is, it works.
So the premise for The Tipping Point is that, throughout the history of trends and epidemics, there has always been a tipping point, or a threshold, that these epidemics must reach in order to either dramatically drop off or dramatically skyrocket, depending on the example. Gladwell’s aim throughout the book is to find out what factors must come together to reach this tipping point.
I won’t do it justice, so everyone should just read it. It’s a fascinating book and one of the taglines from the cover that actually applies is that “it will change the way you look at the world.” I feel like this is true, and I feel like there’s so much in this book that can be used to implement positive changes throughout the world and in people’s everyday lives.
So go Malcolm Gladwell’s mind, keep being amazing. ◊
There are abrupt limits to the number of cognitive people we can truly love and the number of acquaintances we can truly know. We throw up our hands at a problem phrased in an abstract way, but have no difficulty at all solving the same problem rephrased as a social dilemma. All of these things are expressions of the peculiarities of the human mind and heart, a refutation of the notion that the way we function and communicate and process information is straightforward and transparent. It is not. It is messy and opaque.
– page 257