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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Differenceby Malcolm Gladwell
Somewhere along the way to guru-dom, Malcolm Gladwell got tagged as a business writer. Fair enough — The Tipping Point speaks more powerfully to the principles of succesful marketing than any pedestrian semester in the classroom. But while raves from Fortune, Business Week, and Management Today fortified his coronation on corporate campuses worldwide, how many business books also garner similar praise from Us magazine?
In The Tipping Point, the author set out to describe how ideas, products, messages, and behaviors travel through culture. In Blink, his follow-up, he considers how effective decisions are made. "I like looking at things that we take for granted," Gladwell explained during a visit to Powell's. "I'm not interested in the exotic. Neither of these books is about the exotic."
Nor is either strictly about business. Graffiti on subway cars, children's television programming, lovelorn suicides in Micronesia, facial expressions, symphony orchestras, indicators of a successful marriage; Gladwell's appeal can be traced directly to his studied obsession with familiar objects and events, and his remarkable talent for synthesizing complicated ideas into compelling stories.
Synopses & Reviews
Why did crime in New York drop so suddenly in the mid-90s? How does an unknown novelist end up a bestselling author? Why is teenage smoking out of control, when everyone knows smoking kills? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? Why did Paul Revere succeed with his famous warning?
In this brilliant and groundbreaking book, New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in our society so often happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Ideas, behavior, messages, and products, he argues, often spread like outbreaks of infectious disease. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a few fare-beaters and graffiti artists fuel a subway crime wave, or a satisfied customer fill the empty tables of a new restaurant. These are social epidemics, and the moment when they take off, when they reach their critical mass, is the Tipping Point.
In The Tipping Point, Gladwell introduces us to the particular personality types who are natural pollinators of new ideas and trends, the people who create the phenomenon of word of mouth. He analyzes fashion trends, smoking, children's television, direct mail and the early days of the American Revolution for clues about making ideas infectious, and visits a religious commune, a successful high-tech company, and one of the world's greatest salesmen to show how to start and sustain social epidemics.
The Tipping Point is an intellectual adventure story written with an infectious enthusiasm for the power and joy of new ideas. Most of all, it is a road map to change, with a profoundly hopeful message — that one imaginative person applying a well-placed lever can move the world.
"[A] lively, timely and engaging study of fads....Gladwell...has a knack for explaining psychological experiments clearly; The Tipping Point is worth reading just for what it tells us about how we try to make sense out of the world." Alan Wolfe, The New York Times Book Review
"A terrifically rewarding read." Seattle Times
"Gladwell has a knack for rendering complex theories in clear, elegant prose, and he makes a charismatic tour guide." San Francisco Chronicle
"As a business how-to, The Tipping Point is truly superior, brimming with new theories on the science of manipulation." Time Out
"A wonderful page-turner about a wonderfully offbeat study of that little-understood phenomenon, the social epidemic." Daily Telegraph (London)
"From Paul Revere's ride and the mysterious comeback of Hush Puppies to Peter Jenning's smile and the secret of teenage smoking, Gladwell explores the world of mavens, innovators, connectors, and salesmen and their remarkable ability to shape our world." Craig Cox, Utne Reader
"While it offers a smorgasbord of intriguing snippets...this volume betrays its roots as a series of articles for The New Yorker, where Gladwell is a staff writer: his trendy material feels bloated and insubstantial in book form." Publishers Weekly
"[A]n incisive and piquant theory of social dynamics that is bound to provoke a paradigm shift in our understanding of mass behavioral change....Gladwell reveals that our cherished belief in the autonomy of the self is based in great part on wishful thinking." Booklist
"[A] fascinating account...valuable..." Chicago Tribune
"Highly recommended for its clear exposition of important issues." KLIATT
"It's hard not to be persuaded by Gladwell's thesis. Not only does he assemble a fascinating mix of facts in support of his theory...but he also manages to weave everything into a cohesive explanation of human behavior....There's little doubt that the material will keep you awake." Business Week
"Anyone interested in fads should read The Tipping Point....An ambitious, well-written book on how seemingly small ideas can change the world." Us
"A fascinating book that makes you see the world in a different way." Fortune
"An elegant exploration of how social epidemics work, whether they are fashion trends, diseases, or behavior patterns such as crime." Deidre Donahue, USA Today
"The Tipping Point assembles talking points from childhood development, marketing, and social epidemiology, and holds them up at an angle that lets one distant notion attach to another....An ingenious guide." Richard Lacayo, Time
"The thrust of Gladwell's book is that seemingly small gestures can have fantastically large and rapid outcomes....The Tipping Point could well prove to be an influential text for political activists." Timothy Noah, Washington Monthly
The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate.
This bestselling book, in which Malcolm Gladwell brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.
About the Author
Malcolm Gladwell is a former business and science writer at the Washington Post. He is currently a staff writer for The New Yorker.
Table of Contents
1 The Three Rules of Epidemics 15
2 The Law of the Few: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen 30
3 The Stickiness Factor: Sesame Street, Blue's Clues, and the Educational Virus 89
4 The Power of Context (Part One): Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York City Crime 133
5 The Power of Context (Part Two): The Magic Number One Hundred and Fifty 169
6 Case Study: Rumors, Sneakers, and the Power of Translation 193
7 Case Study: Suicide, Smoking, and the Search for the Unsticky Cigarette 216
8 Conclusion: Focus, Test, and Believe 253
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