Saturday, December 15, 2007

I just finished reading "The Tipping Point" by Malcom Gladwell today. I have tried unsuccessfully twice before to finish the book, and I completed the task today. The third time truly is a charm. Here's my quick and dirty review of the book (and Malcom Gladwell in general):

I like it. I've read both "The Tipping Point" and "Blink" by Gladwell and came away thinking the same thing after both reads. Gladwell's overarching points in both books are very accurate and useful. In "The Tipping Point" he argues that little things often make a big difference in terms of trends and epidemics. If we reorder our thinking, we can often have profound effects or see significant improvements as a result of incremental (aka small) change. Gladwell argues there are certain aspects of people, messages, and context that have can lead to epidemic-type effects. I agree.

This is where I get frustrated with Gladwell. His books are like stepping up to a smorgasbord of research. Gladwell references research from social scientists, psychologist, biologists, etc. etc. etc. However, I find the research sometimes takes away from his arguments. He tries too hard to manipulate the research to prove a point and often extends the researchers' conclusions out of context. Often I found myself thinking, "Malcom, you didn't have to go there." He bends the research too far to fit what he is trying to say. So even though his broad points are excellent, his "out-of-context-research-support" leaves the specifics of those points a little messy.

So, "The Tipping Point" - good book. It makes you think. It's overall message can be practical regardless of your industry or point of view. Don't get too caught up in the research. Look at the book with a critical eye, form your own conclusions, and you'll enjoy the read.

By the way, I'd consider myself a Translator and Daniel an Innovator. We make a good team. Also, if you're interested, Gladwell has a blog at

- Joel

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