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By offering readers a groundbreaking analysis of how trends are sparked and take hold, Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point became an exemplification of the very processes he was describing. Upon its 2000 release, the book became a national bestseller whose influence would help to initiate paradigm shifts in fields ranging from marketing to public health.   
 
By offering readers a groundbreaking analysis of how trends are sparked and take hold, Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point became an exemplification of the very processes he was describing. Upon its 2000 release, the book became a national bestseller whose influence would help to initiate paradigm shifts in fields ranging from marketing to public health.   
  
The processes and mechanisms by which some trends achieve exponential popularity while others sputter and fade into oblivion have long been thought to be mysterious and resistant to analysis. However, Gladwell’s central argument is that there are actually a number of patterns and factors that are at play in virtually every influential trend, ranging from the spread of communicative diseases to the unprecedented popularity of a particular children’s television show. If you analyze the evolution of any major phenomenon, the author suggests, you will find that the processes involved are strikingly similar.   
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The processes and mechanisms by which some trends achieve exponential popularity while others sputter and fade into oblivion have long been thought to be mysterious and resistant to analysis. However, Gladwell’s central argument is that there are actually a number of patterns and factors that are at play in virtually every influential trend, ranging from the spread of communicable diseases to the unprecedented popularity of a particular children’s television show. If you analyze the evolution of any major phenomenon, the author suggests, you will find that the processes involved are strikingly similar.   
  
 
The nature of modern culture is such that many new ideas are constantly being introduced from a wide variety of sources, ranging from trend-setting teens and twenty-somethings in the nation’s metropolitan centers to new product offerings from established corporations. Some of these achieve a measure of steady, consistent success, some fail, and some take off on an upward trajectory of exponential popularity and influence.  
 
The nature of modern culture is such that many new ideas are constantly being introduced from a wide variety of sources, ranging from trend-setting teens and twenty-somethings in the nation’s metropolitan centers to new product offerings from established corporations. Some of these achieve a measure of steady, consistent success, some fail, and some take off on an upward trajectory of exponential popularity and influence.  
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===Chapter 2: The Law of the Few: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen ===
 
===Chapter 2: The Law of the Few: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen ===
The attainment of the tipping point that transforms a phenomenon into an influential trend usually requires the intervention of a number of influential types of people. In the disease epidemic model Gladwell introduced in Chapter 1, he demonstrated that many outbreaks could be traced back to a small group of infectors. Likewise, on the path toward the tipping point, many trends are ushered into popularity by a small group of individuals that can be classified as Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen.
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The attainment of the tipping point that transforms a phenomenon into an influential trend usually requires the intervention of a number of influential types of people. In the disease epidemic model Gladwell introduced in Chapter 1, he demonstrated that many outbreaks could be traced back to a small group of infectors. Likewise, on the path toward the tipping point, many trends are ushered into popularity by small groups of individuals that can be classified as Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen.  
 
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Connectors are individuals who have ties in many different realms and act as conduits between them, helping to engender connections, relationships, and “cross-fertilization” that otherwise might not have ever occurred. Mavens are people who have a strong compulsion to help other consumers by helping them make informed decisions. Salesmen are people whose unusual charisma allows them to be extremely persuasive in inducing others’ buying decisions and behaviors. Gladwell identifies a number of examples of past trends and events that hinged on the influence and involvement of Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen at key moments in their development.  
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'''Connectors''' are individuals who have ties in many different realms and act as conduits between them, helping to engender connections, relationships, and “cross-fertilization” that otherwise might not have ever occurred. '''Mavens''' are people who have a strong compulsion to help other consumers by helping them make informed decisions. '''Salesmen''' are people whose unusual charisma allows them to be extremely persuasive in inducing others’ buying decisions and behaviors. Gladwell identifies a number of examples of past trends and events that hinged on the influence and involvement of Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen at key moments in their development.
  
 
===Chapter 3:  The Stickiness Factor: Sesame Street, Blue’s Clues, and the Educational Virus ===  
 
===Chapter 3:  The Stickiness Factor: Sesame Street, Blue’s Clues, and the Educational Virus ===  
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===Chapter 4: The Power of Context (Part One): Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York yankees suck===
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===Chapter 4: The Power of Context (Part One): Bernie Goetz and the Rise and Fall of New York===
'''City Crime '''''''''City crime''''==========
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'''City Crime '''
  
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Another crucial aspect of the complex processes and mechanisms that cause trends to “tip” into mass popularity is what Gladwell terms the Power of Context. If the environment or historical moment in which a trend is introduced is not right, it is not as likely that the tipping point will be attained. To illustrate the power of context, Gladwell takes on the strangely rapid decline in violent crime rates that occurred in the 1990s in New York City.  
 
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Another crucial aspect of the complex processes and mechanisms that cause trends to “tip” into mass popularity is what Gladwell terms the Power of Context. If the environment or historical moment in which a trend is introduced is not right, it is not as likely that the tipping point will be attained. To illustrate the power of context, Gladwell takes on the strangely rapid decline in violent crime rates that occurred in the 1990s in New York Citah.  
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Although Gladwell acknowledges that a wide variety of complex factors and variables likely played a role in sparking the decline, he argues convincingly that it was a few small but influential changes in the environment of the city that allowed these factors to tip into a major reduction in crime. He cites the fact that a number of New York City agencies began to make decisions based on the Broken Windows theory, which held that minor, unchecked signs of deterioration in a neighborhood or community could, over time, result in major declines in the quality of living.  
 
Although Gladwell acknowledges that a wide variety of complex factors and variables likely played a role in sparking the decline, he argues convincingly that it was a few small but influential changes in the environment of the city that allowed these factors to tip into a major reduction in crime. He cites the fact that a number of New York City agencies began to make decisions based on the Broken Windows theory, which held that minor, unchecked signs of deterioration in a neighborhood or community could, over time, result in major declines in the quality of living.  
  
To reverse these trends, city authorities started focusing on seemingly small goals like painting over graffiti, cracking down on subway toll skippers, and dissuading public acts of degeneracy. Gladwell contends that these changes in the environment allowed the other factors, like the decline in crack cocaine use and the aging of the population, to gradually tip into a major decline in the crime rate in the city. although Gladwell acknoledges that a wide variety of complex.......
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To reverse these trends, city authorities started focusing on seemingly small goals like painting over graffiti, cracking down on subway toll skippers, and dissuading public acts of degeneracy. Gladwell contends that these changes in the environment allowed the other factors, like the decline in crack cocaine use and the aging of the population, to gradually tip into a major decline in the crime rate in the city.
  
 
===Chapter 5: The Power of Context (Part Two): The Magic Number One Hundred and Fifty===  
 
===Chapter 5: The Power of Context (Part Two): The Magic Number One Hundred and Fifty===  
 
Clearly, in order for a trend to tip into massive popularity, large numbers of people need to embrace it. However, Gladwell points out that groups of certain sizes and certain types can often be uniquely conducive to achieving the tipping point. He traces the path of the novel The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood from regional cult favorite to national best-seller. Gladwell notes that the unique content of the novel appealed strongly to reading groups of middle-aged women in Northern California, and that these women were uniquely well-positioned to catapult the book to national success as a result of an informal campaign of recommendations and advocacy.  
 
Clearly, in order for a trend to tip into massive popularity, large numbers of people need to embrace it. However, Gladwell points out that groups of certain sizes and certain types can often be uniquely conducive to achieving the tipping point. He traces the path of the novel The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood from regional cult favorite to national best-seller. Gladwell notes that the unique content of the novel appealed strongly to reading groups of middle-aged women in Northern California, and that these women were uniquely well-positioned to catapult the book to national success as a result of an informal campaign of recommendations and advocacy.  
  
Gladwell also remarks upon the unusual properties tied to the size of social groups. Groups of less than 150 members usually display a level of intimacy, interdependency, and efficiency that begins to dissipate markedly as soon as the group’s size increases over 150. This concept has been exploited by a number of corporations that use the foundation of their organizational structures and marketing campaigns.  
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Gladwell also remarks upon the unusual properties tied to the size of social groups. Groups of less than 150 members usually display a level of intimacy, interdependency, and efficiency that begins to dissipate markedly as soon as the group’s size increases over 150. This concept has been exploited by a number of corporations that use it as the foundation of their organizational structures and marketing campaigns.
 
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===Chapter 6: Case Study: Rumors, Sneakers, and the Power of Translation ===
 
===Chapter 6: Case Study: Rumors, Sneakers, and the Power of Translation ===
In this case study-oriented chapter, Gladwell discusses the rise and decline of Airwalk shoes. The brand was originally geared towards the skateboarding subculture of Southern California, but sought to transcend this niche market and attain national name recognition. They succeeded in this endeavor with the help of an advertising agency with a unique understanding of the factors and variables that influence the public’s perception of coolness. The marketing campaign ruthlessly honed in on and exploited several timely avatars of coolness, such as Tibetan Buddhism, pachuco gang culture, and hipsters’ ironic embrace of preppy culture, rendering Airwalk shoes cool by association in the process.  
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In this case study-oriented chapter, Gladwell discusses the rise and decline of Airwalk shoes. The brand was originally geared towards the skateboarding subculture of Southern California, but sought to transcend this niche market and attain national name recognition. They succeeded in this endeavor with the help of an advertising agency with a unique understanding of the factors and variables that influence the public’s perception of "coolness." The marketing campaign ruthlessly honed in on and exploited several timely avatars of coolness, such as Tibetan Buddhism, pachuco gang culture, and hipsters’ ironic embrace of preppy culture, rendering Airwalk shoes cool by association in the process.  
  
The company’s unique strategy of offering unique products to boutique stores and a more mainstream shoe selection to department stores had long kept both cutting-edge hipsters and their more mainstream, impressionable counterparts content. However, as a cost-cutting measure, Airwalk eventually began providing all of its distributors with a single line of shoes. The delicate balance that had long rendered the company’s products cool in the minds of the public was disturbed, and sales declined significantly.  
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The company’s unique strategy of offering unique products to boutique stores and a more mainstream shoe selection to department stores had long kept both cutting-edge hipsters and their more mainstream, impressionable counterparts content. However, as a cost-cutting measure, Airwalk eventually began providing all of its distributors with a single line of shoes. The delicate balance that had long rendered the company’s products cool in the minds of the public was disturbed, and sales declined significantly.
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===Chapter 7: Case Study: Suicide, Smoking, and the Search for the Unsticky Cigarette ===
 
===Chapter 7: Case Study: Suicide, Smoking, and the Search for the Unsticky Cigarette ===
  
In another case study, Gladwell discusses the relationship between a sudden, alarming rise in suicide among adolescent males in Micronesia and the persistent problem of teen cigarette use in the United States. In both instances, teens were induced to become involved in potentially lethal experimentation. Gladwell asserts that both trends were predicated upon two main factors. First, teenagers are inherently, perhaps even genetically predisposed to imitate others and try on new behaviors and attitudes during adolescence. Second, the types of the people who are more likely to engage in dramatic, easily romanticized behavior such as early cigarette smoking or suicide are also more likely to be the types that others tend to gravitate toward and seek to emulate.  
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In another case study, Gladwell discusses the relationship between a sudden, alarming rise in suicide among adolescent males in Micronesia and the persistent problem of teen cigarette use in the United States. In both instances, teens were induced to become involved in potentially lethal experimentation. Gladwell asserts that both trends were predicated upon two main factors. First, teenagers are inherently, perhaps even genetically predisposed to imitate others and try on new behaviors and attitudes during adolescence. Second, the types of the people who are more likely to engage in dramatic, easily romanticized behavior such as early cigarette smoking or suicide are also more likely to be those that others tend to gravitate toward and seek to emulate.  
  
Gladwell also considers the origins and implications of the curiously large middle ground that exists between those who abstain altogether from potentially dangerous activities, and those who engage on them in a consistently low-level manner. In terms of cigarette use, these “chippers” typically never smoke enough to tip into full-blown addiction, and thus escape most of the ill effects of long-term tobacco use. Gladwell suggests that infrequent teenage experimentation with drugs or smoking should not be regarded with hysteria, but rather, should be accepted as inevitable and, in all likelihood, safe.
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Gladwell also considers the origins and implications of the curiously large middle ground that exists between those who abstain altogether from potentially dangerous activities, and those who engage in them in a consistently low-level manner. In terms of cigarette use, these “chippers” typically never smoke enough to tip into full-blown addiction, and thus escape most of the ill effects of long-term tobacco use. Gladwell suggests that infrequent teenage experimentation with drugs or smoking should not be regarded with hysteria, but rather, should be accepted as inevitable and is, in all likelihood, benign.
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===Chapter 8: Conclusion: Focus, Test, Believe ===
 
===Chapter 8: Conclusion: Focus, Test, Believe ===
 
In this chapter, Gladwell concludes with an account of the type of solution that reflects an understanding of the concept of the tipping point: A nurse seeking an effective, low-cost way to raise breast cancer awareness among African-American women shunned traditional routes and enlisted the help of hairstylists. In this environment, she reasoned, most people are relaxed and receptive to new information in a way that most education efforts can’t duplicate. Gladwell acknowledges that this type of thinking is often derided as being a “band-aid” solution that treats symptoms, rather than underlying problems. However, he asserts that these solutions are often the very type of cumulative, low-key approach that can, over time, build to a tipping point of massive popularity and influence.   
 
In this chapter, Gladwell concludes with an account of the type of solution that reflects an understanding of the concept of the tipping point: A nurse seeking an effective, low-cost way to raise breast cancer awareness among African-American women shunned traditional routes and enlisted the help of hairstylists. In this environment, she reasoned, most people are relaxed and receptive to new information in a way that most education efforts can’t duplicate. Gladwell acknowledges that this type of thinking is often derided as being a “band-aid” solution that treats symptoms, rather than underlying problems. However, he asserts that these solutions are often the very type of cumulative, low-key approach that can, over time, build to a tipping point of massive popularity and influence.   
 
  
 
===Afterword  ===
 
===Afterword  ===
In the newly-penned afterword to The Tipping Point, Gladwell updates a number of the case studies and anecdotes offered in the original text with new data. He also reconsiders the role of the Internet and Internet-related technologies, such as e-mail, and their impact upon the spread of trends and influence. However, he cautions that the overuse and sheer ubiquity of these formats can have an effect that is the opposite of the desired outcome if consumers are bombarded with too many messages.
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In the newly-penned afterword to The Tipping Point, Gladwell updates a number of the case studies and anecdotes offered in the original text with new data. He also reconsiders the role of the Internet and Internet-related technologies, such as e-mail, and their impact upon the spread of trends and influence. However, he cautions that the overuse and sheer ubiquity of these formats can make the recipients "immune" to their effects.
  
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==External Links==
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*[http://www.wellread.eu/?ASIN=0349113467 The Tipping Point - A WellRead Summary]
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*[http://www.enotes.com/topics/tipping-point The Tipping Point Summary]
  
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Latest revision as of 08:25, 27 January 2017