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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Abridged Nonfiction)

by Malcolm Gladwell

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Why did crime in New York drop so suddenly in the mid-90s? How does an unknown novelist end up a best-selling author? Why is teenage smoking out of control, when everyone knows smoking kills? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? Why did Paul Revere succeed with his famous warning? In this brilliant and groundbreaking book, New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in our society so often happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Ideas, behaviour, messages, and products, he argues, often spread like outbreaks of infectious disease. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a few fare-beaters and graffiti artists fuel a subway crime wave, or a satisfied customer fill the empty tables of a new restaurant. These are social epidemics, and the moment when they take off, when they reach their critical mass, is the Tipping Point. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell introduces us to the particular personality types who are natural pollinators of new ideas and trends, the people who create the phenomenon of word of mouth. He analyzes fashion trends, smoking, children's television, direct mail, and the early days of the American Revolution for clues about making ideas infectious, and visits a religious commune, a successful high-tech company, and one of the world's greatest salesmen to show how to start and sustain social epidemics. The Tipping Point is an intellectual adventure story written with an infectious enthusiasm for the power and joy of new ideas. Most of all, it is a road map to change, with a profoundly hopeful message, that one imaginative person applying a well-placed lever can move the world.

Customer Reviews

This book has two problems...

Firstly: The Presentation. Why is it assumed that the writer of a book is the best person to read the book? Gladwell is an exceptionally dull reader- his voice is soporific at best, downright depressing at worst. Secondly: The Content. the theory presented seems a mix of the blatently obvious (clever marketing can make relatively unknown fashion products into sucessful brands) with the poorly researched (The fall of New York crime levels in the 90s... read Freakonomics for a better researched explanation of the reasoning behind this) I am really surprised that such a poor book has been such a big hit... but dont be fooled: steer clear of this audio version.


This is a wonderful book that moves from one thought provoking and inspiring observation to the next. It's a celebration of ideas and a reminder that looking at the world from different perspectives is often the thing that can help you understand it or even shape it to your desires. That's a banal thing to say about a great book, I'm just trying to counter One-star guy in his own language. Disagree also about Gladwell's narration skills. He has a soothing, measured tone that fits the book nicely. I had a great time listening to this. Go for the non-abridged though. More Tipping the better! Blink and Outliers are pretty great too.

I fell into the Maven trap.... gladly!

This is a useful book with some very interesting points. The author's tone is generally very good for an audio book, although some of the deeper facts and figures he cites, to backup his theories, can cause the tired listener to glaze over, but that's probably the same with any narrator. As someone involved in internet social networks I was interested about the spread and corresponding popularity of these sites and whilst the internet is a fantastic medium, this book made me realize that the internet itself is not sufficient to ensure the organic growth of a site. It was very interesting to learn that our more “traditional” social circle encompassing Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen are still required to ensure the tipping point is reached and that modern communication such as email doesn’t guarantee a tipping point. After all, did you join Facebook as a consequence of an email inviting you too, or because your “real” friends kept talking about it? I’m worried now that taking the time to write this makes me a Maven, but if that’s the case I’d be pleased to contribute towards an iTunes tipping point for Gladwell :-). I’d recommend it.

Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Abridged Nonfiction)
View in iTunes £10.95
  • Narrator: Malcolm Gladwell
  • Published: 2005
  • Category: Non-Fiction
  • Provider: Hachette Audio UK
  • Presented by

Customer Ratings