The Tipping Point

Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Published: 2000
Website: Amazon Page

The Tipping Point is, like Blink, another collection of Malcolm Gladwell’s anecdotes. But unlike Blink, The Tipping Point felt cohesive. Gladwell entrancingly maneuvered interviews with successful salesman, reports on current academic research, and stories from individuals convicted of a wide range of crimes into a themed tale of three types of people: connectors, maven, and salesmen, and how they change the world. From financial planners who can sell anything to people who have spent their lives connecting their friends to each other, Gladwell examines relationships and connectedness.

But The Tipping Point is more than just interesting; although it was published in 2000, its investigation of society remains relevant today. In the chapter I found the most interesting, Gladwell reports on a study which claimed that every person has a circle of at most 150 people with whom they interact and share emotions. In the age of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, this statistic becomes even more interesting in the examination of circles of online friends. And sure enough, a quick Google search revealed that a researcher by the name of Robin Dunbar (the number 150 in the social context is referred to as Dunbar’s numbers) has found evidence of similar results on Facebook. That is, people with hundreds of ‘friends’ only actually interact with about 150 of them. The Tipping Point felt much more relevant than Blink because the internet takes up more and more of my time and I feel like I am getting less and less from it; yet I cannot help but wonder if the same effect that is described in The Tipping Point applies to people’s consumption of books, news articles, and general information. After reading this book, I formed the perhaps not-that-startling thought that maybe my consumption of information on the internet does not necessarily translate into knowledge.

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