The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point was the book which propelled Malcolm Gladwell into the public eye and was a massive best seller. I recommend it when running my seminars on change, both as a good read and as an aid to thinking about change.

A tipping point is the point at which things change, or he could have said ‘the straw that breaks the camel’s back’. It’s the point when change becomes inevitable. He talks of new ideas, or products, or types of behaviour as being like an epidemic which at the right moment will take hold and spread.

I like his style of writing; he fills his books with anecdotes and stories. Here’s an example of his style. He’s talking about the actor, Rod Steiger, whom he uses as an example of a great connector:

..he has made great movies like the Oscar winning ‘On the Waterfront’ and dreadful movies like ‘Car Pool’. He won an Oscar for his role in ‘In the Heat of the Night’ and also made bad B movies …. Rod Steiger is the best connected actor in history because he has managed to move up and down and back and forth among all the different worlds and subcultures and niches and levels that the acting profession has to offer.

This is what connectors are like. They are the Rod Steigers of everyday life. They are people whom all of us can reach in only  a few steps because, for one reason or another, they manage to occupy many different worlds and subcultures and niches.

As well as Connectors, Gladwell talks about Mavens and Salesmen and stickiness, but I’ll let you discover those for yourself. Oh and Sesame Street also gets a mention!

It’s a simple and elegant model of change that he puts forward and it’s a book well worth reading if you haven’t discovered it yet.

It’s still available in good book shops, your local library and from Amazon where it is currently on sale at less than £5. The publisher is Abacus.


Posted on September 30th, 2010 by

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