Pop-Psych

The Common Sense Point

Thetippingpoint.jpgGladwell, M. (2003). The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference:  Large Print. Maine: Wheeler Publishing.

I picked this book up upon the recommendation of a friend. With an ongoing curiosity about the world around me, this book sounded a good fit. As someone who works with data, I am well aware how something small can be magnified or have larger implications to an entire procedure. As Malcolm Gladwell (2003) states, “sometimes big changes follow from small events” (p.19).

I have a background in marketing and trend analysis, making most of the information presented seem like common sense. But, perhaps if that was not my background this book would be more exciting. In every industry I have been in, the conversion of a lead being converted into a sale is prompted by convincing the customer a need is being fulfilled by the purchase. This is Marketing 101, not some marvel concept. Gladwell uses the term “stickiness” throughout the book to describe this.

What was interesting was the breakdown of people that help spread a message, into 3 categories: Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen (Gladwell, 2003, P.22). I was able to relate, in that I have 2 of these particular people in my own life. My best friend in high school (and lifelong friend to this day) would fit the Connector description of having a wide network of acquaintances and being able to get the word out. Every time we went out, she would stop several times along the way to chat and share upcoming news with one of her many people in her network of acquaintances.  I have an Aunt that can be described as a Maven. She knows product details and the best places to purchase them. She evangelizes her knowledge not for personal gain, but genuinely because she enjoys doing so.

I would recommend this book as a light read, to understand from a qualitative perspective how certain trends can get off of the ground. The data used to back up the claims was light; although I am sure it exists. Citations were provided in the endnotes where the data backing up the claims could be researched further. If marketing is a field you are newly learning, this could be a good complementary book.  As someone more seasoned in this field of study, I would recommend it as a light and entertaining read. I say this since for those of us in this group, the information presented will mostly be common sense.

Colette Molteni
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