The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point


Gladwell, Malcolm Little, Brown & Company, 2003
Price: $99.


How is it that Paul Revere’s ride is heralded to this day, while the endeavors of William Dawes, who also rode at the very same time to warn of the British, barely rate a footnote in history? How is it that Hush Puppies, the classic American suede shoe, went from sales of only 30,000 pairs in 1994 to 430,000 in 1995, and a record 1,720,000 in 1996? And, why, between 1992 and 1997, did murders in New York City decline by 64.3 percent and total crimes by almost half?

The Tipping Point examines why ideas, messages, and behaviors are often ignited by one or two people to spread like contagious diseases, changing society suddenly and unexpectedly. Assembling a cornucopia of anecdotes and facts, to illustrate concepts in epidemiology, psychology, sociology, and group dynamics, Gladwell answers two fundamental questions that lie at the heart of what educators, parents, marketers, business people, and policymakers would like to accomplish: Why do some ideas/behaviors/products start epidemics and others do not? And, what can individuals deliberately do to start and control positive epidemics of their own?