“Character is more like a bundle of habits and tendencies and interests, loosely bound together and dependent, at certain times, on circumstance and context.”
If you read one nonfiction book in your lifetime, make it this one!
I mean, wow. Just wow.
When I first started Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point,” I had no idea it would change my perspective on so many issues, including how I viewed myself. This was the most fascinating nonfiction book I’ve read in years, maybe even decades!
The basic premise of the book is how little things can make a big difference and how strong the influence of word-of-mouth can be. This grabbed my attention right away, because one year I had tried to hide my birthday on Facebook, but someone posted on my wall anyway, and before the day had ended, I had a pretty lengthy string of posts wishing me well, not to mention texts and emails — all because of one “maven.”
So what is “The Tipping Point”? Besides being a #1 National Bestseller, this book is a study of social trends, how they start, and how they spread. In my opinion, it’s a well-organized, well-written, gigantic research paper on the study of how something seemingly insignificant created a huge result. I kept reading parts of it out loud to anyone near me, and the one word that I repeated over and over was this: manipulation. How does someone manipulate the results or popularity of something until it becomes a phenomenon? The answer isn’t straightforward, and for that I’m immensely relieved. If everyone knew where was the tipping point on any product, or idea, then we’d all be in a whole lot of trouble. Which is why, in many instances — I don’t smoke — I’m glad the need to smoke wasn’t part of my character. I am disappointed to find out that I’m not a maven, connector, or salesman, but I do know them, and I know what to watch for when they bring me their latest concepts and trends.
The analogies might be a bit outdated, as this book was publishedin 2000, but the way the book caught me to think about the theories is why I couldn’t put it down. My brain continued to process the catchphrase in every aspect of my life. Told with anecdotes to emphasize the concept, the reading flows effortlessly from the story to the theory.
The root of my love for this book is perhaps planted in the way I changed how I thought about myself. In reading each of the theories and studies, and even surmises in some instances, regarding how products are sold, who buys them, and how the consumers are manipulated into jumping on board, it made me wonder about what kind of target I am for potential marketing people. I love how everything in this book related to decisions I’d made in my life, and in many cases, it validated my reasoning, whether good or bad. I didn’t agree with everything I read, and I certainly don’t hold every theory addressed as set in stone, but I know that because of “The Tipping Point” I’ll probably look into reading Gladwell’s other books.
I’d love to hear from you! I don’t have another book chosen at this time, so if you comment with a recommendation before I wander through the local Barnes and Noble, then that would help me out tons!
As always, thanks for your time!
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marisa Cleveland loves to laugh, hates to cry, and does both often. She has a master’s degree from George Mason University and joined The Seymour Agency after she ended an eight-year career teaching students language arts, grades 6-12. Previous to teaching, she worked as an assistant director for a graduate school in Washington, D.C., before settling in Southwest Florida over a decade ago. As a former gymnast, cheerleader, and dancer, she understands the importance of balance, and she encourages everyone to stay flexible. Cleveland is a Leadership Marco 2015 alum, and she loves connecting with other readers through social media. Though she’s a painfully private introvert, she can be reached through her website: www.marisacleveland.com or follow her journey on Twitter: @marisacleveland.