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- Why is it that fashion trends change the way we dress? Why do various TV shows, movies, and books become so popular? Malcolm Gladwell provides a diagram of our society, along with an analysis of the strategies people apply to influence and mold its direction. Gladwell describes the personality types that create trends and those that influence others by "spreading the word." History takes on a whole new perspective as he describes events of early America that specifically follow his theories of "selling the public on an idea" and "social epidemics." Feedback from market mavericks further substantiates Gladwell's viewpoints. B.J.P. (c) AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine
February 28, 2000
The premise of this facile piece of pop sociology has built-in appeal: little changes can have big effects; when small numbers of people start behaving differently, that behavior can ripple outward until a critical mass or "tipping point" is reached, changing the world. Gladwell's thesis that ideas, products, messages and behaviors "spread just like viruses do" remains a metaphor as he follows the growth of "word-of-mouth epidemics" triggered with the help of three pivotal types. These are Connectors, sociable personalities who bring people together; Mavens, who like to pass along knowledge; and Salesmen, adept at persuading the unenlightened. (Paul Revere, for example, was a Maven and a Connector). Gladwell's applications of his "tipping point" concept to current phenomena--such as the drop in violent crime in New York, the rebirth of Hush Puppies suede shoes as a suburban mall favorite, teenage suicide patterns and the efficiency of small work units--may arouse controversy. For example, many parents may be alarmed at his advice on drugs: since teenagers' experimentation with drugs, including cocaine, seldom leads to hardcore use, he contends, "We have to stop fighting this kind of experimentation. We have to accept it and even embrace it." While it offers a smorgasbord of intriguing snippets summarizing research on topics such as conversational patterns, infants' crib talk, judging other people's character, cheating habits in schoolchildren, memory sharing among families or couples, and the dehumanizing effects of prisons, this volume betrays its roots as a series of articles for the New Yorker, where Gladwell is a staff writer: his trendy material feels bloated and insubstantial in book form. Agent, Tina Bennett of Janklow & Nesbit. Major ad/promo.
November 15, 1999
This book, which features the Law of the Few and people called Connectors and Mavens, sounds like pop psychology, but it's written by a New Yorker writer, so there's obviously more to it.
Copyright 1999 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
March 1, 2000
This genial book by New Yorker contributor Gladwell considers the elements needed to make a particular idea take hold. The "tipping point" (not a new phrase) occurs when something that began small (e.g., a few funky kids in New York's East Village wearing Hush Puppies) turns into something very large indeed (millions of Hush Puppies are sold). It depends on three rules: the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context. Episodes subjected to this paradigm here include Paul Revere's ride, the creation of the children's TV program Sesame Street, and the influence of subway shooter Bernie Goetz. The book has something of a pieced-together feel (reflecting, perhaps, the author's experience writing shorter pieces) and is definitely not the stuff of deep sociological thought. It is, however, an entertaining read that promises to be well publicized. Recommended for public libraries.--Ellen Gilbert, Rutgers Univ. Lib., New Brunswick, NJ
Copyright 2000 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
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