A Small World After All

A glimpse into the incredible places that make up our planet

Book Review: The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell is a book that seeks to answer the question of how an idea or trend spread through groups of people. 

Gladwell provides the theory that there is a “tipping point” for an idea or event that launches it from minor popularity to a big deal. He states that this cannot happen by itself but instead is the direct result of a change that has occurred. Something must have pushed the idea over the tipping point. And the “something” that did it falls into a category of the three agents of change that Gladwell proposes are the backbone of an epidemic.

The three agents of change are:

The Law of the Few

The Stickiness Factor


The Power of Context

The Law of the Few: The idea of this law is that “the answer is that the success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts” (Gladwell). These special people can quickly start an epidemic but you have to find them in order to make it happen.

He breaks this group into three different kinds of people: Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen. All three work together to from a word-of-mouth epidemic.

The Connectors are basically the most social people you can think of. They are the somebody that knows everybody. Through them, the idea or trend will spread quickly because they know so many people that they can spread the message quickly.

My favorite part of the book was in the section where he explained how the connectors work because Gladwell adds a very interesting and interactive idea. He added a long list of names from a phonebook and then challenges you to count how many names belong to someone you know. Basically, the more people you knew the higher your chances were of being a connector.

The Mavens are kind of know-it-alls but not in a bad way. They seek to help people with all the knowledge that they have. This trait makes them trustworthy which in turn enables the spread of the message.

The Salesmen are the last piece of the puzzle because they have a captivating power about them that makes people interested in the idea they are presenting and thus, push through to the tipping point.

The Stickiness Factor is how much of an impact the message has made. A message with a big impact is very sticky because people can’s get it out of their heads. The stickiness can be changed by thinking of new ways of structure and formatting that may be more effective. Once a stickily way if found for a product or idea, starting the epidemic is relatively easy.

The last factor that Gladwell focuses on is the Power of Context. “Epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur”. It basically implies that who we are as people or the decisions we choose to make are all formed by and based around the environment around us. This needs to be understood in order for an epidemic to start since it depends on the environment around it to expand and grow.

Gladwell combines of all there principles to teach how a small idea can grow into a very large one and how to advertise it properly in order to do so. Overall, I thought the book was excellent. It opened my eyes to how I see myself (I thought I was a Maven but I’m probably more of a Salesman), and how I view the environment around me. All of these factors will allow me find a way to properly advertise Laura Arango and get my name out there so I can achieve all my goals.


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This entry was posted on April 2, 2014 by .
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