The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Malcolm Gladwell

What Is the Tipping Point Concept? Malcolm Gladwell on the Book, Law of the Few (2002)
Gladwell defines a tipping point as "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point." 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." 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 steep drop in the New York City crime rate after 1990.





Malcolm Gladwell and his co-partner, John Decker both received an estimated US$1--1.5 million advance for The Tipping Point, which sold 1.7 million copies by 2006. In the wake of the book's success, Gladwell was able to earn as much as $40,000 per lecture. Sales increased again in 2006 after the release of Gladwell's next book, Blink.

Some of Malcolm Gladwell's analysis as to why the phenomenon of the "tipping point" occurs (particularly in relation to his idea of the "law of the few") and its unpredictable elements[16] is based on the 1967 small-world experiment by social psychologist Stanley Milgram. Milgram distributed letters to 160 students in Nebraska, with instructions that they be sent to a stockbroker in Boston (not personally known to them) by passing the letters to anyone else that they believed to be socially closer to the target. The study found that it took an average of six links to deliver each letter. Of particular interest to Gladwell was the finding that just three friends of the stockbroker provided the final link for half of the letters that arrived successfully.[17] This gave rise to Gladwell's theory that certain types of people are key to the dissemination of information.
In 2003, Duncan Watts, a network theory physicist at Columbia University, repeated the Milgram study by using a web site to recruit 61,000 people to send messages to 18 targets worldwide.[18] He successfully reproduced Milgram's results (the average length of the chain was approximately six links). However, when he examined the pathways taken, he found that "hubs" (highly connected people) were not crucial. Only 5% of the e-mail messages had passed through one of the hubs. This casts doubt on Gladwell's assertion that specific types of people are responsible for bringing about large levels of change.
Watts pointed out that if it were as simple as finding the individuals that can disseminate information prior to a marketing campaign, advertising agencies would presumably have a far higher success rate than they do. He also stated that Gladwell's theory does not square with much of his research into human social dynamics performed in the last ten years.[19]
Economist Steven Levitt and Malcolm Gladwell have a running dispute about whether the fall in New York City's crime rate can be attributed to the actions of the police department and the "Fixing Broken Windows" effect (as claimed in The Tipping Point). In his book Freakonomics, Levitt attributes the decrease in crime to two primary factors: 1) a drastic increase in the number of police officers trained and deployed on the streets as well the hiring of Raymond W. Kelly as police commissioner (owing to efforts made by former mayor David Dinkins) and 2) a decrease in the number of unwanted children because of Roe v. Wade, causing crime to drop nationally, in all major cities, "Even in Los Angeles, a city notorious for bad policing."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tipp...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive

Friendly Blogs List