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Extended Audio Sample The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (220,698 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Malcolm Gladwell Narrator: Malcolm Gladwell Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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"The Tipping Point" was Malcolm Gladwell's first book, written in 2000, and has been followed up by three more books, all bestsellers. Like other books he's written, it analyzes social phenomena and tries to explain it in a different way. Most of us tend to look at the world as partly inexplicable and dependent on "chance" and partly ruled by human endeavor. However, Gladwell suggests that maybe there is a different way of looking at the world, deriving inspiration from the study of epidemics such as AIDS.

When epidemiologists study diseases, they find that a disease usually travels leisurely through a population at first and then suddenly reaches a point where it explodes and starts affecting large numbers of people. This was true of AIDS which reached the point of explosion, or the tipping point, in 1982 and started infecting many more people than before. Gladwell's point is that we can use the tipping point more generally in life to understand the phenomena around us. He gives the example of Hush Puppies, a style of footwear that had become increasingly less popular until its makers were almost ready to stop production when, all of a sudden, without the benefit of any advertising, Hush Puppies just took off. The reason, Gladwell believes, is because a certain group of people, who were very influential, started wearing hush puppies and induced those around them to do the same.

Gladwell also goes on to talk about three different kinds of people who are influential in spreading information. He refers to them as Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen. Connectors are people who have a large social network while Mavens are those who collect information, becoming experts on a certain topic. People naturally turn to Mavens when they need to know more about a certain topic. Salesmen are people who can be very persuasive and charismatic. The presence of people like these in society leads to the creation of fads like the popularity of Hush Puppies and the decline in the crime rate in NYC after Mayor Giuliani's term in office. There are, of course, destructive fads as well, such as smoking which continues to be popular among teens despite efforts to educate them about its dangers.

Gladwell theorizes that we can use knowledge of the tipping point to create good fads and prevent bad ones. He gives us another way of looking at the world and the opportunity to do some good by utilizing this information. His style is elegant but full of enthusiasm.

Malcolm Gladwell is a British-Canadian author who was born in Hampshire, England to a Jamaican mother and a British father. He was always ambitious, even as a little boy, and would run around the offices of the University of Waterloo where his father worked. This familiarized him with books and libraries. However, after graduating college, he wasn't entirely sure what he wanted to do and, after trying to get a job in advertising, he ended up writing for The American Spectator in Indiana. He moved to The Washington Post after a while and eventually ended up at The New Yorker. He has written four books which have all been on the NYT bestseller list.

Download The Tipping Point now from The Audio Bookstore and gain a fascinating insight into how the world works and what you can do to create change.

New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in our society so often happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Ideas, behavior, messages, and products, he argues, often spread like outbreaks of infectious disease. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a few fare-beaters and graffiti artists fuel a subway crime wave, or a satisfied customer fill the empty tables of a new restaurant. These are social epidemics, and the moment between when they take off to when they reach their critical mass is The Tipping Point.

Gladwell introduces us to the particular personality types who are natural pollinators of new ideas and trends, the people who create the phenomenon of word of mouth. He analyzes fashion trends, smoking, children’s television, direct mail, and the early days of the American Revolution for clues about making ideas infectious, and visits a religious commune, a successful high-tech company, and one of the world’s greatest salesmen to show how to start and sustain social epidemics.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell, is a lively, timely and engaging study of fads. Gladwell, who made his career in journalism as a science writer, has a knack for explaining psychological experiments clearly; The Tipping Point is worth reading just for what it tells us about how we try to make sense out of the world.”

    New York Times Book Review
  • 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. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine [Published: AUG/ SEPT 01]
  • “A fascinating book that makes you see the world in a different way.”


  • “Gladwell has a knack for rendering complex theories in clear, elegant prose, and he makes a charismatic tour guide. As a result, the book’s constant movement from one cultural realm to the next…never produces any literary motion sickness.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “An imaginative…treatise…it’s hard not to be persuaded by Gladwell’s thesis. Not only does he assemble a fascinating mix of facts in support of his theory…but he also manages to weave everything into a cohesive explanation of human behavior. There’s little doubt that the material will keep you awake.”

    Business Week

  • “A terrifically rewarding read.”

    Seattle Times

  • “This is a book that should be read by everyone in business, politics, marketing and advertising, as well as by anyone interested in trends, fashion, fads, policy making, and human behavior. In other words, all of us.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “Gladwell…offers an incisive and piquant theory of social dynamics that is bound to provoke a paradigm shift in our understanding of mass behavioral change…As he applies his strikingly counterintuitive hypotheses to everything from the ‘stickiness,’ or popularity, of certain children’s television shows to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, Gladwell reveals that our cherished belief in the autonomy of the self is based in great part on wishful thinking.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
  • A Washington Post Bestseller
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Dave Steel | 2/20/2014

    " An interesting read. Gladwell gave plenty of examples to illustrate his theory. He was extremely repetitive, however, to the point that towards the end I felt myself reading to finish it and not to enjoy it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Patricia | 2/20/2014

    " Very enjoyable marketing book! I loved the case studies he presently especially the crime stats in NYC, the 150 person clusters at Gore-tex and Peter Jennings' facial expressions. Some good concepts and tips on how to spread messages effectively and find the mavens out there. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Tanisa Bernard | 2/18/2014

    " I would love to have Malcolm Gladwell over for a spirited discussion of his work and essays in the New Yorker:)! He makes you THINK:)! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mistymac | 2/16/2014

    " love love LOVE this book. gives you a different perspective on many things in life and opens your world up to a whole new way of thinking. i'll probably read this several times. "

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