Jennifer's Reviews > The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
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's review
Dec 24, 2008

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This is a useful book for people wanting to start a market trend, or spread an idea. Unfortunately a little dated by its failure to take into account our new uber form of communication, the internet and email (which Gladwell tries to belatedly address in an Afterward written a couple of years later), nevertheless it is a fascinating insight into our way of thinking as humans, which we understand so poorly because of False Attribution Error - which means that we oversimplify each other's characters to help us to feel we know ourselves and others better. We are also less than expert at understanding the degree of influence that parenting has on our children, and find it unbelievable to be presented with evidence that suggests that our environment has a huge influence on the person we become. We are, no doubt, skeptical to be told that we are better off coming from a dysfunctional family in a good neighbourhood than a good family in a poor neighbourhood, but this is the evidence that Gladwell presents to us.
With fascinating case studies detailing the reasons for success of Paul Revere (as opposed to the other bloke who tried to do the same thing to another group of villagers, but didn't succeed) to the broken window effect brought to life in the Subway and law enforcement cleanups of New York, we are taught to understand by this book that, despite our conceits about ourselves, it is much easier to be a good citizen in a clean place than in a graffiti laden and rubbishy environment.
Through a dizzying parade of stories, all of which offer fascinating insights, and which are informative in their own right, Gladwell helps us to understand our society, and ourselves, better. An easy and entertaining read.

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