Tipping Point Primer

Regardless of whether you’ve read The Tipping Point or not (and if you haven’t, what’s wrong with you??), this Tipping Point Primer is a great read. Here’s the intro to get your hooked:


  • That one dramatic moment in an epidemic when everything can change all at once.
  • The moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point, a place where the unexpected becomes expected, where radical change is more than possibility. It is a certainty. Epidemics…
  • Tip b/c of the extraordinary efforts of a few select carriers. But they also sometimes tip when something happens to transform the epidemic agent itself.
    1. Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.
    2. Are another example of geometric progression: when a virus spreads through a population, it doubles and doubles again into infinity.
    3. Epidemics are a function of the people who transmit infectious agents, the infectious agent itself, and the environment in which the infectious agent is operating:
      • They (Epidemics) have clear examples of contagious behavior.
      • They both have little changes that make big effects.
      • It takes only the smallest of changes to shatter an epidemic’s equilibrium.
      • They happen in a hurry.
  • This is the most important trait, b/c it is the principle that makes sense of the first two and that permits the greatest insight into why modern change happens the way it does.
  • Epidemics involve straightforward simple things; a “product” (I put this in quotes b/c Gladwell writes this book using mostly marketing/business ideas. However, I see it as a way to spark revolution.) and a message.
  • In order to create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first.
  • Contagiousness is in larger part a function of the messenger. Stickiness is primarily a property of the message.

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