The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (2000) is one of the couple of Gladwell books which I have either read or listened to in audio book form over the last couple of years. I have found each to be quite interesting and accessible plus to be enjoyable to read or listen too.
The Tipping point focuses on how ideas, events or activities reach a conceptual tipping point at which stage they quickly spread. I liken it to the social media concept of a YouTube video going viral in that initially it may see a reasonable level of growth in views however there comes a critical point, the tipping point, at which the growth rate suddenly explodes
Within the book Gladwell discusses a number of issues which are particularly relevant to education. One of these concepts is the idea of stickiness while another is the impact of social context on the outcome of events. His discussion of social context is, I believe, particularly important given that teaching and learning is very much a social endeavor. He also discusses how Sesame Street came to be so successful which I found to be quite an interesting discussion and very relevant especially where teachers are engaged in working with young children. His discussion of the importance of looking after the little things, citing New York Mayor Giuliani’s initiatives very much aligned with my thinking in terms to the significant story which individuals often build from the little observations and facts. If students leave school looking unkempt then it is possible that an observer may draw from this the conclusion that their learning and therefore the results received by students at the school are not looked after.
The Tipping point is a good read and quite an interesting book. I particularly like Gladwell’s overall message with regards the need for us to reframe our observations and beliefs, plus his overall positive outlook on the world as a whole. Overall I would recommend this book for a light but informative read which might provide some enlightenment in terms of another perspective to use in viewing the world.