BOOK REVIEW: The Tipping Point

BOOK REVIEW: The Tipping Point
From Dwayne Wright -

So my boss at SolutionMakers has been on a business book on audio CD kick lately and I couldn’t be more pleased about it. Two of the books on CD she purchased are by the same author, Malcolm Gladwell and they are Blink and the Tipping Point. I actually made it through both of them before I could post my impressions. So they both will be here as separate posts.

The first time I heard about this book was from Kevin Ross on a Diggnation podcast. If you haven’t heard of Diggnation, it’s somewhat like Wayne’s World except it centers around their favorite (usually tech related) stories from Oh yes, they are drinking (or have drank) quite a bit, just to loosen the uptights don’t you know?

Anyway, I prompted my boss to get this book and being the exceptional boss, she did.

The idea behind the book is a detailed analysis on what makes something big, from the aspect of where it tipped in that direction. Some people may call this the critical mass but tipping point sounds much less nuclear. He looks at the viral aspect of these instances and even refers to it, more than once, as an infection or a virus.

Breaking it down into FileMaker related terms, here are some examples...

- what led Anchor/Buoy and Separation model to become big hits in the data modeling arena with advanced developers

- what may lead the Agile design philosophy to being widely adopted from project management

- what is tipping point for PHP and FileMaker. Will it be the PHP Site Assistant or perhaps something else?

I greatly enjoyed parts of the Tipping Point discussion involving Connectors (those people that connect people), Mavens (those that spread knowledge) and Salesmen (those that inspire people to take an idea into action).

Case studies to describe his impressions of The Tipping Point ranged from the rebirth of Hush Puppies, Paul Reveres classic message spreading ride, the Sesame Street stickiness factor and more.

I liked it but did not love it. It has some ideas that had never occurred to me before and that is a primary reason for purchasing a book of this type. However, it didn’t motivate or inspire me in any particular direction. I do recommend this book and do plan on reviewing it again in a year or so (or if a direct business need requires it).

After I finish a book, I enjoy to see what the readers have to say. Here are just a few of the 840 reviews for The Tipping Point.

1) Yet another author who has found something interesting to write about, realizes there isn't enough to fill a book and then embarks on a meandering journey of sleep inducing, page filling drivel. In this case the subject is social epidemics. If you wipe out three quarters of this book you'd have a good read.

DW about the above quote... Although I cannot fully agree with this, I do think the book could have been condensed about 50% and been more effective in getting it’s message across. I did find myself from time to time thinking, “ok, let’s move along now!”.

2) I read this while traveling, and was able to absorb Gladwell's viewpoint despite airports and hotels and the general on-the-road melee. However, while the theories and case studies Gladwell presents are fascinating, he fails to demonstrate the practical applications of his assertions. His Afterword makes clear that some of his readers have gone on to apply his approach in various ways, but it is their ingenuity and not any "on the ground" practical insight from Gladwell that is the cause. It will be interesting to note if his positions notably influence any policymakers, of if the world in general, despite his bestseller status, continues with its status quo mindset. No doubt if that is the case, Gladwell will enlighten us with a book about the reasons for that phenomenon too. It will be interesting reading.

DW about the above quote ... If you are wanting something direct to take into your FileMaker design business, The Tipping Point and Blink are not those books. It’s more of a analysis of the past and doesn’t provide any type of direction for the future.

3) This is one of the books that "skates to where the puck is going" instead of where the puck is at. A must for business and anyone studying the sociology of man.

DW about the above quote ... Yep, I’ve got to agree with this one but still consider this a worthwhile read.
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© 2007 - Dwayne Wright -

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