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The Tipping Point

How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

By Malcolm Gladwell
15-minute read
Audio available
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point discusses why certain ideas, products and behaviors spread like epidemics and what we can do to consciously trigger and have control over such epidemics.

  • Anyone who is interested in the way ideas spread
  • Anyone who wants to learn how social epidemics break out
  • Anyone who works in marketing, advertising or a related field

Malcolm Gladwell is a journalist and the author of five best-selling books, including Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking and Outliers: The Story of Success.

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The Tipping Point

How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

By Malcolm Gladwell
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
Synopsis

The Tipping Point discusses why certain ideas, products and behaviors spread like epidemics and what we can do to consciously trigger and have control over such epidemics.

Key idea 1 of 9

It is only an epidemic once the Tipping Point threshold has been crossed.

The Tipping Point is the moment at which a trend turns into an epidemic and spreads like wildfire.

Take a flu strain, for example; it might spread through a population slowly at the start, but, day by day, it infects more and more people until finally it reaches that magical moment when the transmission rate soars dramatically and the epidemic spins out of control.

Represented in graphic terms, the growth would be a curve that is slightly inclined at first, and then juts up at almost a right angle. This dramatic turn is the Tipping Point.

The same kind of growth is also seen in the spread of technological innovations. When the electronics company Sharp made the first affordable fax machine in 1984, it sold around 80,000 of them in the first year and saw that number rise steadily every year, until 1987, when it reached the Tipping Point and sales skyrocketed.

At that particular Tipping Point, so many people owned a fax machine that anyone who didn’t decided they’d better get one, too.

In other words, a fundamental change takes place at the Tipping Point, causing the “infection” to suddenly spread rampantly.

It is only an epidemic once the Tipping Point threshold has been crossed.

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