"The Tipping Point" is the biography of an idea, and the idea is quite simple: that many of the problems we face - from murder to teenage delinquency to traffic jams - behave like epidemics. They aren't linear phenomena in the sense that they steadily and predictably change according to the level of effort brought to bear against them. They are capable of sudden and dramatic changes in direction. Years of well-intentioned intervention may have no impact at all, yet the right intervention - at just the right time - can start a cascade of change. Many of the social ills that face us today, in other words, are as inherently volatile as the epidemics that periodically sweep through the human population: little things can cause them to "tip" at any time and if we want to understand how to confront and solve them we have to understand what those "tipping points" are. In this study, Malcolm Gladwell explores the ramifications of this. Not simply for politicians and policy-makers, his method provides a way of viewing everyday experience and seeking to enable us to develop strategies for everything from raising a child to running a company.
Malcolm Gladwell is a writer for the NEW YORKER. This is his first book.