The selection at the Frankfurt airport was an enticing array of New York Times Bestsellers, but I can't exactly say what posessed me to select The Tipping Point over, say, a Nora Roberts novel. I think it might have something to do with having grabbed the book and, at random, opening the page to a fascinating tale of how "Sesame Street" came to be. I read three pages standing there in the store, and then decided to fork over the eight euros for the whole book.
I am glad I did. The book made the plane ride fly (!) by, and was an amusing read that I still think of at random moments even now, several weeks later.
The Tipping Point is Malcolm Gladwell's book on "how little things can make a big difference." While the book claims to analyse how unpopular items such as Hush Puppies can become overnight sensations, how New York city can go from having tons of crime to far less in just a few years, or how Gold Box advertising really changes things, I had a hard time stringing together the entire book into a cohesive, nicely-wrapped package. Still, I enjoyed all the bits and pieces.
Technically, it's a book about phenomena, and how things just sort of happen. It's about how things can just be very BLAH, and then suddenly, sometimes without explanation, there's a "tipping point" that makes everything change radically and quickly.
While that's an interesting concept in and of itself, I get the feeling that Gladwell is just a data geek like myself, and he really wanted to put a bunch of cool things he had researched together in a book. So he did. And it sort of works, actually. But I preferred to retain all of the little factoids independently, instead of worrying about the overall picture (which is pretty easy to grasp: crazy things happen).
I read this book really quickly and found myself wanting to underline it frequently. It reads VERY easily, but is filled of interesting things you probably didn't know. Gladwell describes the types of people who set the machines needed for any given phenomenon to be set into motion. He sets the stage for said phenomena. And then he gives a bunch of examples.
It's entertaining, well-written, and a pleasant little read. Keep in mind: it's bestselling non-fiction, so don't expect a super-academic text or Noam Chomsky. Still, it's good, entertaining, quirky, and mighty interesting.
Read it: The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell