Good opus on an epidemiological model of cultural change. Cultural change is of particular interest to me, because I've been hooked on Wiki:ExtremeProgramming for a while now and a lot of cultural change is going to have to happen before I finally get to practice my craft - programming - in a sane industry.
So, Gladwell essentially sketches a theory of how human behaviours spread like viruses. His strikes me as an elegant theory sketch, with few elements being combined to explain a number of puzzling observations. It is also well and clearly argued, a number of concrete examples and case histories lending solid support to the theorizing.
In fact, it almost seems as if the principle is unstated, but assumed, and then its explanatory, but emphatically not predicitve powers are demonstrated, without explaining (merely asssuming, in the somewhat wide-eyed and breathless narrative) why these examples should be more generaly interesting than they are. Almost as if an unstated question is being begged, or something. The only case that looks a bit like a predictive one, the advertising campaign for the scateboard shoes, is the one barely documented. I also find the phrase "tipping point", and the verb "to tip", neither metaphorically suggestive nor agreeable to the eye or ear. Rather, the terminology grated on me. -- "grumpy" KeithBraithwaite
Quick summary: the three rules of the Tipping Point - "The Law of the Few," "The Stickiness Factor," and "The Power of Context." Context matters, something must be sticky to spread, and there are three ways that a few people help it spread. Mavens study a topic deeply and know all about it, and so are likely to find the things of value in their topic area(s). Salesfolk charismatically convince others of the value of a thing. Connectors know lots of people and spread awareness of the thing around.