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

4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (368 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No analysis, just amusing stories Dec 17 2003
This book is presented as an explanation of what it is that might cause something to go from insignificance to ubiquity. It in fact does nothing of the sort and is actually just an amusing collection of stories.
It is well written as a social history, and has a light, journalistic style good for dipping into, but the reader is left absolutely none the wiser as to why any of it happened. I would therefore class it as pretty much a waste of anyone's time.
One thing that particularly annoyed me about this book is that chaos theory - a branch of mathematics almost 40 years old, for the analysis and prediction of exactly the sort of thing this book is wondering about - is mentioned only once: as a footnote.
That's like writing a book about why planets stay in orbit around the sun, and mentioning astrophysics as an aside.
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51 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Some voracious reading of research on...
(1) "Network externalities" and "network effects" from economics and
(2) WOM (word of mouth) research from social/cognitive psychology
...and shamelessly rehashing them with a doozy touchy-feely spin on "small things can inspire big things" a la "Pay it Forward" (that Helen Hunt/Kevin Spacey rigmarole) -- and lo and behold, you have a tipping point for a book that people are stomping over each other to buy and magically provoke their thinking about marketing or sociological phenomena.
Indeed every once in a while we need a business book that summarizes and makes sense of all that goes on in academia, so even such blatant intellectual debauchery would be fine as long as the BASIC professional integrity of attribution was upheld. The very least one can expect from such a self-proclaimed "biography of an idea" endeavour is an honest acknowledgement of WHERE the idea came from.
As though it was not embarrassing enough that epithets like "maven" and "connector" are well established in WOM or network externality research since nearly 20 years, we were also fed with the MOST commonly used illustrations -- faxes becoming important because other people had faxes, or some quaint fashion catching up overnight (Hush Puppies in this case, but it could be any number of things), or how broadband has swept our world, or the success of a TV show -- these are all primetime textbook examples to explain the very fundamental concepts of network externality in ECON 101. Some arcane mention of epidemiologists' theories does not count because the whole hypothesis here is to provide something that is "beyond the world of medicine and diseases".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but Outdated Jan. 9 2012
There are two observations that need to be made at the outset of this review:

1. I read this book after reading "Outliers" and so I expected to be 'wowed' in much the same manner; which I wasn't. Having said that, however, I still found the book to be quite interesting, as much of the information presented a novel (at least to me) way of looking at what happens around me.

2. How can I say a book that's barely 12 years old is "outdated"? Well this was written before the advent of facebook, twitter, texting, blogs (at least as we know them today), and, in fact, the internet as it is today. Which leads to Gladwell making an illustration that now seems laughable: A "connector" faxing his friends to tell them about a great restaurant. Yeah, faxing. So I say this book seems outdated simply because the "word of mouth" phenomena has drastically changed. I'm sure all of us have a relatively HUGE sphere of influence through facebook, amazon reviews, etc. that just didn't exist when this book was written. So bear in mind, we live in a vastly different world than that to which Gladwell was writing.

As to the specific content of this book, Gladwell has it broken up into 8 chapters, which could really be just 2 sections:

1. What it takes to have a "social epidemic" and 2. "Case Studies".

In the first section he talks about the type of people that must be involved in social epidemics; namely "connectors" (who bring people together), "Mavens" (who bring information to the people) and "Salesmen" (who make us love it). The first section also deals with "stickiness", a characteristic of social epidemics that I can best liken to the part of a song that gets stuck in your head. It's that something that makes it unforgettable and makes you keep coming back.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One Tip Backward and One Tip Forward June 2 2004
The author is a magazine writer and a good one. Magazine writers pretty much screwed up the definition of organizational theory several years ago via word of mouth so perhaps it is time to re-invent the concept of 'theory' as it realtes to word of mouth communication. One Tip backward and one Tip Forward. So it goes.
Move quickly throught the first section on epidemics (sophomoric)but focus on the author's practical defintion and description of a 'maven'...the human with a database mind and how that type of mind fits within various communication and business systems that are emerging across the world. That theme of the importance of the 'maven' in business or in social systems that runs throughout this book is worth the price of the book.
If respect for the mavens among us reaches a tipping point this author will have achieved a new 'theory' of organization design which will move him from the magazine racks to the coffee shops where ...the really important decisions are made now days.
Nice Read. Try it. You'll like it.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
A critical look into the social science of success phenomenon. An excellent read and must-have literature for the budding entrepreneur. A real pleasure to read and apply.
Published 23 days ago by Sebastien
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Read
Like the other Malcolm Gladwell books that I have read (Yes, I read his works out of order), this one was well written, interesting, and thoughtful. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Natasha Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Malcolm Gladwell takes fresh look at facts.
I have enjoyed every one of Gladwell's books. He has a way of taking a second look at society and coming up with a unique perspective on social trends and conclusions.
Published 4 months ago by naomi catching
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Gift
I bought Malcolm Gladwell's book "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference" (year 2000) as a gift for a friend. He really liked this book. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Deerpath
4.0 out of 5 stars The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
It has given me new ways to look at old patterns that I have observed .... His organization and examples help me retain the concepts
Published 18 months ago by Brenda Jean
4.0 out of 5 stars The weight that tipped the balance
A good reflection on the triggers. Some may think that they are still American recipes. It should be read and make sense of things. Read more
Published on Aug. 1 2011 by Johanne B
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read in a Soft Science
Tipping Point is one of an emerging trend of marketing, economic, social science type books that seems to delight in being counter-intuitive and corelating issues in a manner that... Read more
Published on June 9 2011 by Bart Breen
5.0 out of 5 stars Little things are not always little..
This is an interesting book. There are so many examples of the effects of little things on big changes. I am sceptical about some of the arguments though. Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2011 by Ash
5.0 out of 5 stars "A life changer"
The Tipping Point is a permanent fixture in my personal library. Not only is this book one of the best trade hardbacks I've ever read, but it's also a book that I continue to look... Read more
Published on Dec 27 2010 by Brandon Royal
4.0 out of 5 stars Appreciation Of The Group Thinking Process.
I read this quite a while ago. The term tipping point, has since entered into pop culture. In fact most of the time the term tipping point is used, there seems to be a... Read more
Published on July 13 2010 by Patrick Sullivan
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