Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (Book Review)


Here's a brief summary of what a Tipping Point is, as defined by the book, from Wikipedia:
Tipping points are "the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable."[1] Gladwell defines a tipping point as a sociological term: "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point."[2] The book seeks to explain and describe the "mysterious" sociological changes that mark everyday life. As Gladwell states, "Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do."[3] The examples of such changes in his book include the rise in popularity and sales of Hush Puppies shoes in the mid-1990s and the dramatic drop in the New York City crime rate in the late 1990s.
The Tipping Point was a great book. The book examined certain epidemics and events and the impact that they had on entire societies, in many cases.

The most influential story to me involved one of these epidemics that occurred in the New York subway system where crime was out of control. One event changed the crime dramatically when what people thought was a normal, everyday guy shot 3 gang members and killed them. Although tragic, the point is that this specific event changed crime there. Criminals were now scared of getting killed or hurt now by normal everyday people and the crimes dropped off dramatically. It was incredible to me that an event such as this could ring all across the city and change something as bad as crime in the subway system.

I would highly recommend the read and I don't want to spoil the book any further.

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