Saturday, August 15, 2009
I had always heard wonderful things about this book, but never knew what it was about. This week I read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I really didn't know what to expect when I got this book. The subtitle is- How Little Things Can Make a Difference- so I figured it would be about service industries and customer service. I was very wrong. The Tipping Point is the point at which a common phenomenon becomes an overall epidemic.
This book is all about trending social behaviors. It gives several cases where a trend explodes unexpectedly and why it happened. It discusses events such as massive crime waves in New York, the research that grew Sesame Street to an educational empire, and even the cause of high suicide numbers in Micronesia. All of which are very eye-opening.
Gladwell writes that the three rules of the Tipping Point are The Law of the Few, The Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context. The Law of the Few is about the people that will popularize an idea and make it known to the masses. They are called Connectors, Mavens, and Salesman. Everyone knows one of these people and these people know everyone- which is what causes an idea to spread like wildfire. The second rule is The Stickiness Factor, this is the way an idea is presented, a way that will make it stick to its recipient. Sesame Street used years of research studies to balance their show to the right amount of Muppets and education. This research was a success that resulted in Sesame Street having an 84% retention rate among children. Lastly, the rule of The Power of Context, this is how an environment can affect how the mind works and stimulates behavior. In New York, to decrease the amount of crime in subways, the city cleaned or painted over the graffiti on subway cars. It made the environment better and the minds of the people who were around it followed the same trend and crime rates decreased rapidly.
I had an interesting idea while reading this book. I would like to present a challenge. I think there are several Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen (and women) that read this blog. I would like to see how effective you would be in getting the word out about this blog. Right now, I have a readership of about 350 readers per month. I think with the support of "the few" I could increase this number greatly. If you think you are one of these people, see what you can do. Tell some friends and let's see if we can make our own epidemic.
This book was really great. I think anyone that reads it will walk away with a different perspective on life. The last case study in the book over cigarette smoking is extremely interesting. If you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.
Amazon Link to buy The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell