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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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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.  
 
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.  
  
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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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.  
 
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 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, in all likelihood, benign.
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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.
  
 
===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 make the recipients "immune" to their effects.
 
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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[[Category:Bestsellers|Tipping]]

Latest revision as of 08:25, 27 January 2017