Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review of "The Tipping Point"

            How does an epidemic start? Once we become part of an epidemic or one is thrust upon us, it can be hard to pinpoint how it started. Some epidemics, like fashion epidemics, just seem to rise up and take over before we realize that an epidemic is starting. Other epidemics, like health epidemics, become a part of society, and their origins cannot be found in order to calm them. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, he breaks down different epidemics and talks about just what makes them tip, or go from being hardly known to transforming into and epidemic that sweeps across cities or the country. Gladwell takes the reader through the different ways to tip an epidemic. There is always the easiest way, by the law of the few, or word-of-mouth, but he breaks down the tipping by word-of-mouth into three types of people that can tip an epidemic. These people are called connectors, mavens, and salesmen. The next factor that an epidemic has to have is stickiness. The idea, disease, product, etc. must be memorable or able to stick to people or in the environment. The last factor that can tip an epidemic is the power of context. Sometimes it only takes one of the factors for an epidemic to tip and become something everyone is talking about. Sometimes it is a combination of two or more factors. What Gladwell points out is that all epidemics can be traced back to these factors, whether it is a person or one thing about the epidemic that made it memorable.


  1. A memoriable situation that is connected by people in context of a related issue can cause any epidemic. Swine flu, the national debt, the storms of April 27th, hmmm that give one pause for thaought as to what part they play inthe equation.

  2. I agree epidemic can be good or bad. It can take many or one person to spread the epidemic. Brenda