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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
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What Malcolm Gladwell Can Teach Us About PR and Curiosity

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Anna | 1 comments Mod
Malcolm Gladwell is quirky, not weird. Sarcastic, not cynical. Curious, not nosy. His take on society almost feels as if he’s put himself outside of this world and is looking in as a spectator and scholar. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell examines how behaviors spread, potentially beginning in as small of a community as an apartment floor and gradually dispersing in a virus-like manner to the rest of the world.

For all communicators, The Tipping Point is a necessary read. Whether you’re pitching the media or creating key messaging for a product launch, Gladwell provides rules and theories for ensuring your ideas spread as quickly and far-reaching as the surge in Hush Puppy sales did in 1994 or the decrease in crime in New York in 1993. The Tipping Point uncovers the people in every community who cause the idea or behavior to tip, the mavens, connectors and salesmen that communicators should discover and utilize.

For those looking for instruction on not only who to spread your message to, but how to make it “tip,” Gladwell provides three rules: the Law of the Few, Stickiness Factor and the Power of Context. Each of these concepts, Gladwell introduces with an anecdote. The Law of the Few explains that in many circumstances when a behavior or idea tips, it does so due to the actions of a very small population of individuals, as Gladwell illustrates with the boom of syphilis in Baltimore. The Power of Context reminds readers to focus on the times and places, the conditions and circumstances in which the tipping point occurs. A study of New York City’s crime drop focuses on the surroundings, and asks if the lack of subway graffiti ultimately led to the lack of crime. And perhaps most important for public relations professionals, the Stickiness Factor determines what messages are remembered and which are not. Gladwell walks readers through the creation of “Sesame Street” and explains how both the show, and literacy itself, became “sticky.”

The Tipping Point helps readers view their world in a new light, taking even the smallest and seemingly inconsequential aspects of a situation and transforming them into a timeline of how ideas and behaviors fall into place. For communicators, the book offers not only a quick read, but a mentality to always remember throughout our work. Most importantly, Gladwell reminds us in each page, stay curious.


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