The Law of the Few: Well, there is nothing better when considering epidemic-like events than discussing the spread of STDs…but it does help make the case for how a few people can spread an idea or a product. The 80/20 rule seems to apply well especially as Gladwell describes the characteristics of the few as how much more “sociable they are, or how energetic or knowledgeable or influential among their peers.” (Page 21) Think about people in your circles whose influence seems to outweigh the average person, do you listen to them? Do they impact you? Are you that person?
Stickiness Factor: The ability for something to remain appears to be a key factor, essentially it has to “stick” with you in order to make the kind of impact Gladwell describes. “Stickiness means that a message makes an impact.” (Page 25) What was the last thing that “stuck” in your head? Was it a song, a commercial, a person, an event?
The Power of Context: Understanding the situation people find themselves in is the last rule and states “that human beings are a lot more sensitive to their environment than they may seem.” (Page 29) The “bystander problem” as described in this chapter was pretty alarming to me, and made me think about when I see an accident or lose power in the neighborhood. I mostly assume someone has already called 911 or the power company and I don’t pick up the phone. I do not always act because in context, there are so many people in the same situation, assumptions are easy to make. Does the environment impact you? How do you feel when you come home to a sink full of dishes, you witness an argument, or it rains on the day you planned that big outdoor event?
Gladwell is making the case, or perhaps building his case that these three rules need to be in place in order to pass the tipping point. Have just one of these, and it is not enough. You have two of them? Sorry, you still need another one. Can you think of an example of each rule in your own experience? If so, please share it with the group.
As a reminder, please read a chapter each week, post a thought about the reading, and comment on at least one other person’s post.
Malcolm Gladwell sets the stage for the Tipping Point by describing the rise in the sale of Hush Puppies, and the decline of New York City Crime. Both events didn’t gradually change over time, but something (almost like the spread of a virus) caused a shift that seems disproportional to the effort behind it.
Gladwell describes how radical this idea can be for some of us because “We are, as humans, heavily socialized to make a kind of rough approximation between cause and effect.” (The Tipping Point, Page 10) As I read this, I thought about how many times my mom and my grandmothers all had the same “we must all work really hard to make it” mantra. Clearly, they were socializing me around this principle.
All around us, we regularly witness and even use the term “viral” to describe ways to market, or the latest video that a friend passes to us online. Many companies, people, and ideas are trying to be that next overnight sensation by cracking some code, and getting past the tipping point.
Thanks for being part of this journey and I look forward to hearing from you.
Questions to Ponder
What was the last product, trend, or idea you witnessed that seemed to spread like wildfire? How did you either hear about it or participate in it?
Of the three characteristics Gladwell describes (contagiousness, little causes having big effects, and change happening not gradually but in one dramatic moment) which seems the most radical compared to how you usually think about events, changes or movements?
The votes are in and the winner is The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell. I have read his other books, use Outliers in a training session with leaders, and am excited to read this book together. This book club will get The Tipping Point off my nightstand and into our collective minds.
The book club will begin next Monday and I will post on a chapter a week. Counting the introduction, it will take us nine weeks to read together. Please find, borrow, buy, share, download, or check out a copy of the book to participate (there are still libraries out there). The goal is to have each of you reply to the weekly post and/or each other every week. If you have any questions please let me know.
Maybe together we will learn how our small actions will make a big difference.
We are in the home stretch. The idea is to have a virtual book club where we read a book together over the next few months. We have made a few book suggestions and your votes will determine which book we collectively read. The poll will be open until midnight tonight. If you haven’t voted, please do so.
2. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell – http://www.gladwell.com/, I have read Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and Blink and this in next on my list. He is one of the greatest writers of our time, and tells amazing stories.
3. The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights – Daniel Golemanhttp://danielgoleman.info/, or Magnificent Mind at Any Age –Dr. Daniel Amen. Both are looking at how our minds work and the role of our emotional state and how we react to others.
Those are my top picks, again I am open to your suggestions. In order for this to work, once we find a book, I think we need at least 10 people to commit to doing this together. If you are in, let us know, if you want to wait until we pick a book, that is okay too. But for you adventurous types, go ahead and jump in now! Take the leap, it will be worth it.
As I sit here on my back porch finally writing again, I just wanted to thank all of you for hanging with me. Lately writing has taken a back seat. A few moments ago I transmitted my last assignment for the class I have been taking. It took more time and effort (and writing) than I imagined. The class got most of my thoughts in writing, and at the end there was nothing left to share.
There have been a few things rattling around in my head lately. Some are ideas to write about, others are projects or just random thoughts.
I was talking with a friend the other day and they mentioned their book club. Periodically some friends get together and discuss a book. Given the business of life, work, schedules and everything else I just couldn’t see finding a day to get together. Then I had a thought, what if we found a book to read together on the blog? What if the only committment was to read a chapter a week, and write at least one post and comment on one other post? Sounds easy enough right?
Here is my proposal. Until Friday this week, I am open to suggestions for books that we could collectively read. On Saturday, I will post a poll to vote on the most popular book, and we can start it the following week. No pressure, you can participate or not, but in this world we do way too much alone, so why read alone? One thing I learned from taking this online class is how much I benefited from the dialogue about the subjects, the lessons, and I looked forward to the insights of others.
The ball is in your collective courts. This only works if we agree to try it together. Let me know what you think and offer some suggestions to the rest of us about something you are dying to read.