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Author : Malcolm Gladwell

How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

The books jacket is a great sample of content.  It explains that the tipping point is:

. . . that magic moment when ideas, trends and social behaviours cross a threshold, tip and spread like wildfire.

The idea of this tipping point is explained with numerous examples of dramatic change which Gladwell seems to focus on specific causes for this.  While I do believe that many of his examples are clear indicators of the tipping point concept, I can’t accept the incredible examples of crime shifts in New York to be because of only a few dramatic messages enforced on the subway systems that he claims are the sole reason the shifts occurred.  I do however feel his point is made well and whether those examples are believable or not, there are many others that clearly indicate supreme cases of the tipping point.  I love the way that Gladwell writes and he has an amazing ability to draw you into simple concepts with examples and stories that have unseen correlation to his message without his guidance.  I think that leaves the reader with an edge to recognize the tipping point themselves and gives an advantage in that the tipping point is often easier to achieve than one thinks once it can be leveraged.  The book and stories in it very much remind me of Freakonomics , another great study that uses examples to show massive social impact from normal unseen things.

There are three main areas covered by Gladwell in this book:

  • Law of the Few – This is about the ability of a few people (known as connectors) to establish a level of influence that has a broad reach and can drive adoption of ideas or movements easily.
  • Stickiness Factor – How effective a message is portrayed in its medium has a huge impact on how influencial and lasting that message can be.  It has to do with how the message is packaged and the circumstances of the delivery.
  • Power of Context – Every tipping point is sensitive to the circumstances of such an event.  This time and place of when it occurs dramatically shifts the impact.

One of the things I was looking to get from the book were new ways to make my own actions impactful.  How to make a BIG difference!  From this book, I’ve learned that it’s not the effort, big committment or dedication that will always lead to this but instead more attention to the smaller details to recognize the timing, circumstances and influence every action has.  Those have the ability to be the tipping points for all kinds of actions, whether its achievement, social influence, business or blogging.  Paying attention to those smaller areas and making the most of minute actions can be easily as effective as a massive amount of work to try to brute force get the same results.

It’s a great book if you have any desire to increase your social power or understand how reactions can turn a crowd.  I found the content very intriguing and an area not yet well explored for me, which by itself I love! It has changed my thinking in any social situation and has helped me to make more sense of trends. I would definitely recommend it!

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