Book Review- The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell

The Tipping Point is one of Malcolm Gladwell’s signature publications. It is great for creating a marketing plan but it has many other important applications in both marketing and business. 

How little things can make a big difference

Malcolm Gladwell explains and analyses the 'tipping point', that magic moment when ideas, trends and social behaviour cross a threshold, tip and spread like wildfire. Taking a look behind the surface of many familiar occurrences in our everyday world, Gladwell explains the fascinating social dynamics that cause rapid change.


Gladwell asks and answers an important question: What makes epidemics (social or otherwise) tip and spread beyond the innovators and early adopters?


The answer is that epidemics tend to have three rules that they share in common:

1.      The law of the few, which includes discussion of connectors, mavens, and sales people

2.      The stickiness factor

3.      The power of context


The Tipping Point describes these three rules in detail, providing many examples from pop culture, news, and human psychology.

 The important takeaways from this book are the lessons in understanding how things “go viral” and spread quickly.

Gladwell’s three rules are a good framework to use to do the work of deploying a new culture because it forces you to take deliberate action to reach the right people, create the right messages, and create the right environment for that new culture to take hold. It also means that the leader has to exercise their two most important skills to really map this out effectively: empathy and active listening.

KEY TAKEAWAY: For anything to “go viral”, it must have three crucial elements: the right people, the right message, and the right environment/context. Gladwell’s lessons are applicable to situations requiring organizational change if leaders are willing to listen and empathize.

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