“The Tipping Point” Review

“The Tipping Point,” is an interesting book. It explores what author, Malcolm Gladwell, dubs “the tipping point,” in three different parts: the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context. Gladwell writes the novel using the idea that we can apply the tipping point in all aspects of our lives or just society in general.

For instance, when he speaks of the “Law of the Few,” he references the idea of 20% of the population committing 80% of crimes, or 20% of society doing most of the hard work for an economy. Gladwell’s ideas and examples are realistic and applicable. The “Law of the Few” he speaks of can be applied to racial disparity, financial aid winners, even college acceptance rates. It’s a rational example, that can be tailored to meet each individuals needs, whatever those may be.

“The Stickiness Factor,” being the second part of the so-called, “tipping point” divulges into how the message presented in the first idea, has to be irresistible. The audience has to love it and want it, like when watching a movie. Or if a singer wants people to buy his or her music, they have to make it wanted. They have to market well, write music others like, make beats the people enjoy listening, and then make it a package and deliver it to society, and from their individuals in society can choose to accept the package or deny it.

The final factor, “The Power of Context,” explores how the “point” gets “tipped.” It states that society is “sensitive to changes” that are caused or can be caused by “the stickiness factor” (pg. 140). Gladwell speaks of this principle, in a light as if it is the deciding factor in things, because it in fact is. Gladwell uses a couple different examples to explain his thoughts, but the one that stuck the most to me was the prison experiment. What psychologists discovered from the experiment they conducted, is that an individual’s environment results in their actions. So, does this in fact mean that if crime rates are higher in areas stricken by poverty, that-that is so because poverty causes crime? That is what “the Power of Context” aims to prove. What happens to an individual, what they are put through, where they grow up, ultimately controls their actions.

After explaining the three different factors thoroughly, Gladwell writes of two different chapters involving two different case studies. He applies “the tipping point” to each case and explains the process for each case. He then concludes the book, speaking on the three principles once again. He makes sure the reader understands the importance of “the tipping point” and how it can be applied to life.

If you want to make a difference in society, use “the tipping point.” If you want to start a movement, use “the tipping point.” If you want to re-evaluate your life, understand “the tipping point.” In a sense, the saying “your friends are a reflection of you,” is in fact true. But, until you read, understand, and want to apply “The Tipping Point,” to your life, the match you hold in your hand everyday, won’t “burn,” it won’t “tip,” it won’t make a difference, because you have become too settled, too stuck in your way, and too lazy to let the match “burn.”


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