Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1996. He is the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and What the Dog Saw. Prior to joining The New Yorker, he was a reporter at the Washington Post. Gladwell was born in England and grew up in rural Ontario. He now lives in New York.



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 widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.


Study Questions

1.  How can the principles of The Tipping Point be applied to your life?
2.  Do you feel the case studies mentioned in this book adequately illustrate the author’s main point?
3.  What are some variables that the author may have overlooked in his explanation of this theory?
4.  Give an additional example of an epidemic, one not already used, that follows the rules of this book.
5.  Why did the author choose to discuss the examples he chose? Who is his intended audience?
6.  Did this book influence the way you look at small occurrences in your life? Explain.
7.  Who do you know that is an example of a connector, maven or salesman? Give specific examples.
8.  Which is the most important age group in selling a new idea, according to the theories in this book? Explain.
9.  How would you use the theories in this book to promote a new strategy?


The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell was published in 2000 and remains relevant today a generation later in 2019. His examples of how connectors, salesmen, and mavens along with stickiness of the object can carry the day are powerful and timeless. He calls this the power of the few. A prime example of this is how effective Paul Revere was when he carried his message north warning of the coming British attack. The same message carried south by Dawes was an ineffective dud. Both were carrying the same news. (Call that the same car or service). Why was one “bought” by the hearers in one case and ignored by the other? Since the only clearer difference between the two events was the messenger, that had to be it. Moreover, it wasn’t a huge add campaign with billboards, it was the single voice of a successful connector.

The engagement of the book club group was at a high level as people were able to recall their own experience with ideas and gimmicks that enjoyed instant if not sustained popularity.

An important feature of the book was the staying power of the message. It remains relevant for a generation and the examples from 250 years ago are as relevant as one person boycotting athletic shoes successfully even for the wrong reason. He was an effective connector and salesman if not even an accurate and relevant person. He influenced people also as an athlete and maven.



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