BOTW #7 - The Tipping Point Book Review (Malcolm Gladwell)

I know I am like 16 years late reading this book but it is one of those books that will never lose it's relevance. The Tipping Point is essentially the point in which an idea epidemic gains so much momentum it gets impossible to stop. Ideas are like viruses and takes hold of someone like a parasite just like in Inception where they say:

This book goes in depth into what makes ideas spread and how the little things can make a big difference. The 3 principals that helps spread these idea viruses are the agents of change, stickiness and context.

Agents of Change

This principal sounds like a horrible super hero team but what this states is that it only takes an exceptional few to start spreading an idea. The trendsetters and the influencers. How Malcolm divides these people out are Mavens, Connector and the Salesmen. The Mavens are the people who like to accumulate knowledge and help people, which sounds exactly like me. The Connectors are those who have a vast social circle or more accurately pyramid. He points out that most of the people you know all came from those one or two people that introduced you to all of them. This is why that law of 6 degrees of separation is even more valid.  The last are Salesmen who can convince people of anything. 

One of the main reasons why Twitter exploded was because of Ashton Kutcher who was the first avid user of the platform and used his connections to spread Twitter like it was the plague. He was in competition with CNN to see who could get to 1 million followers first and even went on Oprah to teach her on how to use Twitter. You all know what happens when Oprah uses something, everyone else starts to as well. This is what catapulted Twitter into the mainstream.

The Stickiness Factor

The stickiness factor is the next principal in helping to get ideas to spread. This is how the idea can become a parasite and gets you to remember it. The message impacts how sticky an idea is and makes that stick in your mind. Ex. A catchy jingle like "967-1111 come to Pizza Pizza Hey Hey Hey." Information that is packaged up into a personal and practical way increases the stickiness but that idea has to be memorable to create action. Why Blue's Clues was so popular with the kids is because of how the show was actually structured like the shorter length, smaller cast, the repetitiveness and the continuity of the story line. This show was made and packaged with what kids respond to in mind. You need to reverse engineer your audience, find out what makes them tick, how they consume information and then tailor your message to them. 

Power of Context

The context is the environment around you. The example in the book I thought was fascinating because it explained how the crime wave in New York began to decrease. It wasn't the policy changes, increased police or demographic changes. All it was the context change where people started to clean up the streets, got rid of the graffiti and garbage which dramatically decreased the amount of small crimes in the city. This has been coined as the broken windows theory. I don't think that this is the sole reason for the decline but I think was a factor. We as humans tend to act differently in different environments and contexts like if you are in a fancy restaurant for dinner you will act more sophisticated without even thinking about it. 


I think there are some interesting points in this book that I feel that are always going to be true. With the rise of the internet these 3 things remain relevant but just in another form. There is an even bigger need for Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen since there is so much information out there. They act like filters of information and now with these platforms like Youtube have a crazy amount of reach, which can make things spread at lightning speed. The stickiness of your message is getting harder and harder by the day with people having attention spans that are literally smaller than a goldfish. You need to package your information to the right audience in order to be heard and stand out from the noise. Especially for marketers, if you aren't taking the time to get to know your customer and targeting specific messages to them then you are just wasting your time. The context will always be a factor especially in a social media world where each platform has their own set of rules on how to communicate. You have to adhere to the language of the platform to spread your message.

Overall, I think this is a great book with interesting concepts that you can still apply to the state of the world today because at the end of the day humans don't really change, just the environments around us do. (3.8 out of 5).

Get this book here