The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Malcom Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference focuses on defining and outlining why trends and phenomenon occur. Gladwell outlines the occurrence of trends through three laws: The Law of the Few, The Stickiness Factor, and The Power of Context. The Law of the Few suggests that roughly twenty percent of the nations population stimulate the occurrence of trends. These sorts of people include Connectors, or natural socialites with many connections; Mavens, information specialists who share their new-found information with others; and Salesmen, who persuade people into agreeing with them on several levels.

The Law of the Few states that when these sorts of people are informed of and sold on a product or idea, they will take it unpon themselves to make the product a widespread success. Gladwell illustrates this through Hushpuppies, a once dying brand, that became a massive phenomenon due to its acceptance from a few SoHo fashionistas. The second law Gladwell outlines is the Stickiness Factor. The Stickiness Factor is the element in any media or product that makes it memorable and significant. Gladwell proves this factor is effective through describing how “Sesame Street” was formulated.

The producers of this children’s learning program used several tests, such as measuring and tracking childrens irises and recording their recall levels, to determine if Sesame Street’s content stuck with the viewing children. Because of disappointing outcomes, Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch were created to increase the shows “Stickiness Factor” and secured the show’s huge success (Gladwell 103-10). The final law Gladwell outlines is The Power of Context. This law states that “epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur” (Gladwell 139).

Simply stated, people are their environment and will act congruently to their surroundings. Gladwell illustrated this by pointing out that when there was a zero tolerance policy on fare hopping and graffiti on New York City subways in the 1980’s, overall crime rates in the city decreased dramatically as well (Gladwell 142). New and Interesting Ideas from The Tipping Point Aside from the main three laws Gladwell has presented in this book, he examines a few side concepts as well. One discussed concept is The Rule of 150. This rule claims that, based on the size of the human cranium, people can only sustain relationships with about 147.

8 or 150 other people (Gladwell 179). He defends this argument through Gore, a company that has no hierarchy of management and determines salaries based on collective agreements. This successful yet abnormal company has found that after the hire of 150 employees per plant the lack of management becomes an issue (Gladwell 183 – 184). In addition to The Rule of 150 Gladwell also investigates how rumors are created and why they are infectious. Gladwell analizes rumors by saying that they are first leveled, meaning the details that are vital for understanding the true story are left out.

Next the rumor is sharpened, meaning the left over details that support the strangeness of the rumor are given extra emphasis. Finally the rumor is assimilated, meaning the entire story is changed so that those spreading it can make sense of it. Gladwell relates this to The Law of the Few by saying the Mavens, Connectors, and Salesmen need to use this process for a phenomenon to occur (Gladwell 201-203). How The Tipping Point Relates to My Other Business Classes Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point presents several abstract concepts that can be easily applied to several of my Marketing courses.

This book uses an abundance of evidence to support claims that are sometimes derived from recall tests, analyses on iris tracking, and secondary statistical information. All of these concepts are also discussed in my Marketing Research course. This book also deeply describes the Law of the Few as well as The Stickiness Factor, which could both easily be applied to my Advertising and Promotions course in terms of constructing a successful campaign. The Stickiness Factor is also relatable to Consumer Behavior in the sense that a product needs to produce a stimulus or sensation.

Is The Tipping Point is Helpful for Managers Although primarily targeted towards marketers and sociologists, The Tipping Point could be applied to management as well. It is vital for any manager to understand how people think and act. This applies not only in the marketplace but in the office as well. By using the Power of Context law, a manager may manipulate any work environment to increase productivity or even boost morale. A manager could also act as a Maven, Connector, or Salesman in selling any new company policies, work techniques, or products to his superiors, subordinates, and clients as well.

How The Tipping Point is Helpful for Business Students The Tipping Point is indeed beneficial for business students to read. The book examines what makes a product successful and why phenomenons and trends occur. If a student is looking to sell a product or service of any kind, understanding the human psyche is vital for any success in your business. This book outlines why consumers are attracted to a product and gives insight on how to manipulate and use a marketplace to your advantage. Who I Would Recommend The Tipping Point To

I would reccomend this book to anyone interested in understanding either Consumer Behavior, Sociology, or anyone hopeful to sell a product or idea successfully. The book successfully explains how to create a fad by explaining the ways in which trends usually occur. It would be very beneficial to any marketing student to read but may also be interesting to read for anyone who wishes to learn a little more about how a community or group of people function. This book also presents several interesting facts outside of the marketing realm such as The Rule of 150 and the process of how rumors are started.

My Overall Opinion of The Tipping Point The Tipping Point is a great read. It is well researched, thought provoking, and provides original content and insights on consumer behavior. The three laws were all creative ways to evaluate where trends and phenomenon begin. Even more interesting than the three laws are the examples used to support them. Every example from Sesame Street’s testing on children’s recall levels to the Rule of 150 were outstanding and thought provoking. The book was beneficial to read, easy to follow, and thoroughly enjoyed.