Malcolm Gladwell (1963- )
English-born Canadian expert in personal development (pictured right).
The Tipping Point
A tipping point occurs “when an idea, trend or social behaviour crosses a
threshold, tips and spreads like wildfire”, creating a social epidemic.
This happens when it has:
- stickiness (important significance)
- power of context (appearing at the right time and place)
A tipping point is created by a few groups of influential people (the Law of the
Few) who challenge and their intuition. They are:
Wise people who don’t overtly communicate their knowledge.
Knowledge communicators who unite and inspire others.
Sellers of knowledge who persuade people.
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What must underlie successful epidemics, in the end, is a bedrock belief that change is possible.
The world of the Tipping Point is a place where the unexpected becomes expected, where radical change is more
Snap, intuitive decisions are essential (if time is tight) and sometimes effective.
Particularly useful is “thin slicing” (quickly gathering key information for a quick
Detailed analysis of all relevant information is usually better but not always, particularly when
- you have too much information.
- you’re analysing your own or other people’s responses.
Educate your instinct and first impressions by:
1. Exposing yourself to new
(e.g. meeting black people to overcome prejudice against them).
2. Following certain rules
(e.g. don’t judge people on appearances alone).
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There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as
in months of rational analysis.
The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are
desperately lacking in the latter."
Extraordinary achievers (“outliers”) are successful because of:
1. The “10,000-Hour Rule"
Practising a task for around 10,000 hours (as The Beatles did in Hamburg clubs before becoming famous).
Bill Gates got his 10,000 hours computing practice
because his rich parents gave him a computer when he was 13.
Successful people become even more successful, because they get special advantages like more attention and
Seize the opportunities given to you.
Gladwell uses the example of his West Indian grandmother to show that opportunity as well as ability and
ambition are vital to success.
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Extraordinary achievement is less about talent than it is about opportunity
The people at the top don't work just harder or even
much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.
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It's not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It's whether or not our
work fulfils us.
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To build a better world we need... a society that
provides opportunities for all.