Book Review of The Tipping Point Essay
Book Review of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference “That is the paradox of the epidemic: that in order to create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first.” ? Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference, written by Malcolm Gladwell, is a book I cannot clearly categorize. It is unusual since it talks about how little things can make a difference; however, it is not odd in a bad way because it is a very interesting book. It talks about how epidemics spread, but it is not about diseases, rather it is about social epidemics. After reading this book, I cannot help and wonder how small our world is, that it can be changed with just a little push. It is the third book of Malcolm Gladwell that I have read and reviewed, and it is different from Blink and Outliers.
It is the book I liked the least among the three, but do not get me wrong, it is not bad. It is just that I cannot relate much in the topic; nevertheless I still learned a lot. There are three things I learned in the book The Tipping Point; a small action can have a big effect, people are susceptible to the mood of the environment, and a message has to be presented in a particular way so it will have an impact. Just like how a drop of water can create a huge ripple in a pond, small actions can also affect a huge area.
This can be observed in the case given to us by Gladwell about the Micronesia having a suicide epidemic right after a prominent man committed a suicide. It is too much of a coincidence if the suicide-free group of islands suddenly get the highest number of suicides in the whole world right after the death of a famous man. A small action, such as suicide, was able to start a trend of events similar to it in the whole region.
This lesson should teach us that we should be careful of our actions since we do not know how big its effect will be to the people around us. They may become happy, sad, or hurt depending on our decisions. We should not underestimate our small efforts to affect our lives or other people’s. Another thing that I learned from the book was that people are susceptible to the mood of the environment. One of the most amazing cases presented by Gladwell in the book, The Tipping Point, was about how normal men under an experiment which simulate a prison were affected by the mood of the environment. Their identities and personalities were greatly affected.
The pacifist and calm became strict and violent. Some even were in the brink of losing their own identities even though they know that they are just in an experiment. The mood of the “prison” affected them to a degree that their personalities became like that of a real prisoner and guard. Their personalities and mentality adapted to the character they are playing. This case amazed me since I have always thought that a person cannot be changed easily, but this experiment proved me wrong. In the six day duration of the experiment, the volunteers were able to feel changes within them. I cannot believe that they were affected that much. I have always thought that our surroundings adapt to our actions, but I guess the other way around is also true. This lesson taught me not to judge people quickly based on their actions since they may have been affected by the circumstances around them.
Their attitudes maybe different depending on the situation, and we should not be surprised if people we thought we know well make a move that is contradicting to who we thought they are. The last lesson I learned from the book is that a message has to be presented in a particular way for it to have an impact. The message itself is not everything, the way it is presented is also essential. This idea was supported by Gladwell using the case about spreading the news about free tetanus shots. Even though people know the dangers of having tetanus, they did not claim the free vaccine. What was needed was a little tweak to the way the pamphlet was presented.
They added a map and the number of students who claimed the free vaccine rose. The reason was that even though the message was important, it did not have any impact on the students. Adding a map made it a practical knowledge and made the message sticky. This is important since we always concentrate in the message of what we want to convey. The problem is that it does not have any force to our audience. We should possess creative minds to tweak the way we present our point. After reading The Tipping Point, I realized that presentation is as important as the message, and sometimes even more important. A message is nothing if it does not stick to our audience. What I conclude from the book is that a lone person has the power to change the world. It may sound like an idea out of a fantasy movie, but it is true.
If you read The Tipping Point, the world can turn to the way you want it with a little push at the right place. If that lone person has the right connection – to the connectors, mavens, and salesmen, – has the right sticky message, and at the right context, then his message would spread like wildfire or a very contagious disease. This means that there is a possibility that our world will change for the better. It may look like an impossible task, but it is not. We can start our own epidemic and make a huge change. Unfortunately, epidemics are not always positive. That is why we should be careful of our actions for we will never know what the outcome will be.