What do Hush Puppies and the fall of crime in New York have in common? Weird combination right? But these things are used by Malcom Gladwell in his book “The Tipping Point” to illustrate how small things can drastically change once they reach a certain point. While Gladwell refers to this as the tipping point…I associated it more with the ripple effect.
Hush Puppies are a type of shoe that have become wildly popular because the brand as a whole reached a tipping point. This brand was originally popular with un-cool people but all it took was one trendsetter to wear the shoes and change the sales and stereotypes associated with it. When designers noticed popular people wearing the shoes they began incorporating the shoes into their fashion shoes where the brand continued to gain popularity (aka it reached it’s max tipping point).
Gladwell continues to prove how the tipping point works by providing information about the decrease in crime in New York. He says the elimination of graffiti on subways was a major cause of the crime decrease…something I would have never thought of. Gladwell says getting rid of the graffiti that often was related to some sort of crime or gang did not have the opportunity to influence people to act violently. How crazy is that!? It didn’t take an arrest, or a stern talking to be the police…but just painting over graffiti to get people to have a moral compass (now if we can just figure out the Middle East).
While it seems that all it takes is for one person making a change to make big changes Gladwell uses Paul Revere’s infamous ride to negate this notion. While Revere was able to change the course of history by telling one person who told another person who told another that the British were coming Gladwell emphasizes the need for collective change to really make a difference. By using multiple examples and providing vital statistics Gladwell clearly illustrates just how strongly he believes that two are better than one…especially when you desire a change. And I have to agree with him. The more people you have on your side the more changes and results you will see.
Overall I think the book was interesting. Gladwell’s flow is good and his points are excellent. He really gives you things to think about. The only negative thing I can say about the book is that there are a lot of statistics (which I try and avoid at all times). Me and numbers do not generally get along well so it was a little hard for me to keep up with some of the points he was trying to make when he used numbers (because I HATE numbers). But if you like to have something to think about, like numbers, and like a little controversy then “The Tipping Point” is a good one for you to check out! (On a side note…I found this book at the Borders in Gainesville that is going out of business. I know there are a lot of Borders closing their doors so you can probably find it for a really reasonable price!) =)