copy of the book cover

Notes on Malcolm Gladwell’s 2000 classic ‘Tipping Point’

Nothing more needs to be said on influential journalist Malcolm Gladwell’s first breakout book Tipping Point, which published 15 years ago. Like a lot of popular books, it has been aggressively criticized and dismissed.

Even if his theme is challenged, there are small points that are interesting. Though I read this several years ago, I just reread it and took down a few notes for my own future perusal. I’m sharing them here

Notes for me to return to:

Newcasters’ facial expressions and voting behavior of viewers. Peter Jennings appears to have done just that in 1986

Transactive memory in couples. This is the formal concept that people are socialized to distribute knowledge across friends and family.

The 1973 Good Samaritan study. This landmark study showed (and has seen been recreated many times) that being in a rush is much more a predictor of human behavior than moral framing. 

Related: If you assume the people in the study are just jerks, and you wouldn’t do the same, then you might be falling for the Fundamental Attribution Error.

People aren’t cool because they smoke; it’s that cool people are more likely to smoke .Qualities we associate with cool (moody; distant; sociable; drinkers; promiscuity), all correlate to smoking, according to a 1991 book by David Krough