Monday, February 26, 2007


Sounding board, here is my book review.

I finished reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. It was an excellent read. Gladwell dissects the anatomy of an epidemic. The epidemic could be social, cultural, or disease related and they all seem to follow the same pattern. A select few are responsible for starting and perpetuating the movement until one day it 'tips' and becomes an epidemic.

Take for example crime in the New York subway system in which crime was rampant and unchecked for years. Gladwell argues that with the vigilant reduction of graffiti and constant enforcement of rules against fare breaking, more violent crimes were reduced and nearly ceased. Because of a select group of law enforcement, a well thought out plan and appropriate leadership, the wave of violence tipped and the pendulum swung the other way.

Freakonomics offers another reasoning for the drastic reduction of crime in New York City (i.e. Roe v. Wade) and both authors have sound logic.

I was fascinated by the statistics, examples and stories used to illustrate the idea of 'how little things can make a big difference' but at the end of the book I felt like asking...."Okay, so what's the point?" Gladwell outlines some steps you can take to make an idea, trend, or social behavior tip but in the end I felt that the concept was still too abstract.

I would highly recommend the book as I enjoyed the subject and Gladwell's writing style. His more recent book Blink is also a good read.

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