The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – Book Review

Malcolm Gladwell is a writer who I became familiar with through Tim Ferriss. I really enjoyed his profile in Tools of Titans so was keen to check out his works. The Tipping Point is simply the first work of Gladwell’s that I picked up and I must say I enjoyed it immensely.

Let’s Get Viral!

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell, focuses on that moment when some ideas, products and social movements “tip” from being niche followings to becoming mass movements. In doing so, Gladwell provides a framework for entrepreneurs, business folk and everyone in between to follow in terms of pushing their own concepts towards a tipping point.

From Hush Puppies to Sesame Street

Gladwell argues that the success of viral movements comes down to 3 distinct factors focusing on connected individuals, the ability of concepts to linger (stickiness) and the power of context. He discusses each of these concepts in detail then goes on to describe how they intersect to create a tipping point. This kind of writing hinges on the use of The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwellrelevant examples. This is where Gladwell shines through the inclusion real-world cases as disparate as Hush Puppies, New York crime rates and Sesame Street.

Gladwell goes on to note the parallels between the behavior of ideas and viruses and how a seemingly innocuous change can lead an idea to “tip”. A particularly interesting example of this is how a disciplined regime of housekeeping on New York subways led to a huge and rapid impact on crime rates.


I really enjoyed reading The Tipping Point. There were a few moments during that I had to pause and let out a mental “Whoa” given the content Gladwell was laying down on paper. It does make you think differently and I have found myself reflecting and drawing upon some of the ideas discussed more recently, particularly around human behavior and the Rule of 150. I would love to hear if you have had similar experiences.

The Tipping Point is perfect for:

  • Those seeking a DIY guide to creating a mass movement
  • Viewing the world in a different light
  • Testing preconceived notions.

The Tipping Point can be purchased from bookstores and the following retailers:

Rating: 4 out 5 stars.

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