The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference


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Gladwell also includes two chapters of case studies, situations in which tipping point concepts were used in specific situations. These situations include the athletic shoe company Airwalk , the diffusion model, how rumors are spread, decreasing the spread of syphilis in Baltimore , teen suicide in Micronesia , and teen smoking in the United States. Some of Gladwell's analysis as to why the phenomenon of the "tipping point" occurs particularly in relation to his idea of the "law of the few" and its unpredictable elements is based on the small-world experiment by social psychologist Stanley Milgram.

The study found that it took an average of six links to deliver each letter. Of particular interest to Gladwell was the finding that just three friends of the stockbroker provided the final link for half of the letters that arrived successfully. In , Duncan Watts , a network theory physicist at Columbia University , repeated the Milgram study by using a web site to recruit 61, people to send messages to 18 targets worldwide.

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However, when he examined the pathways taken, he found that "hubs" highly connected people were not crucial. This casts doubt on Gladwell's assertion that specific types of people are responsible for bringing about large levels of change.


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Watts pointed out that if it were as simple as finding the individuals that can disseminate information prior to a marketing campaign, advertising agencies would presumably have a far higher success rate than they do. He also stated that Gladwell's theory does not square with much of his research into human social dynamics performed in the last ten years. Economist Steven Levitt and Gladwell have a running dispute about whether the fall in New York City's crime rate can be attributed to the actions of the police department and " Fixing Broken Windows " as claimed in The Tipping Point.

In Freakonomics , Levitt attributes the decrease in crime to two primary factors: 1 a drastic increase in the number of police officers trained and deployed on the streets and hiring Raymond W. Kelly as police commissioner thanks to the efforts of former mayor David Dinkins and 2 a decrease in the number of unwanted children made possible by Roe v. Wade , causing crime to drop nationally in all major cities—"[e]ven in Los Angeles , a city notorious for bad policing". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see The Tipping Point disambiguation.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

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  7. Preview this item Preview this item. Ideas, behavior, messages, and products, he argues, often spread like outbreaks of infectious disease. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a few fare-beaters and graffiti artists fuel a subway crime wave, or a satisfied customer fill the empty tables of a new restaurant.

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    These are social epidemics, and the moment when they take off, when they reach their critical mass, is the Tipping Point. Gladwell introduces us to the particular personality types who are natural pollinators of new ideas and trends, the people who create the phenomenon of word of mouth. He analyzes fashion trends, smoking, children's television, direct mail, and the early days of the American Revolution for clues about making ideas infectious, and visits a religious commune, a successful high-tech company, and one of the world's greatest salesmen to show how to start and sustain social epidemics.

    Read more Find a copy online Links to this item Audiobook Access limited to 1 concurrent user; access to the EBSCOhost online version restricted; authentication, individual registration, and installation of software on a personal device may be required. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private.

    Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item The biography of an idea: that many of the problems we face - from teenage delinquency to traffic jams - behave like epidemics and are capable of sudden and dramatic change due to their inherent volatility. The author explores the ramifications of this, offering a way to view the world.


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    Reviews User-contributed reviews Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers. Be the first. Add a review and share your thoughts with other readers. View most popular tags as: tag list tag cloud. Similar Items Related Subjects: 20 Social psychology. Contagion Social psychology Causation. Context effects Psychology Causality. Read More Hide.

    The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference

    Add To Cart. Read Synopsis More Info The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Editorial Reviews "Gladwell, who made his career in journalism as a science writer, has a knack for explaining psychological experiments clearly; ''The Tipping Point'' is worth reading just for what it tells us about how we try to make sense out of the world.

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