Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: the tipping point

Influenced? Yes, But That Can be a Good Thing

It’s me, folks, here to ring my own bell and say…

One hundred posts!

Wow. Who would have thunk it?!

Yesterday almost didn’t happen. I know numbers don’t mean anything specifically. Ninety-nine posts in a row is just as awesome, but there’s something about round numbers. You know?

Why did yesterday’s post almost not make an appearance? Because I started to get caught up in the idea that every post needed to mean something or be something great. That wasn’t my goal when I started. My goal was only to create the habit of posting every day and that’s what I’m succeeding at.

Now I’m wondering… What if I posted every day for a whole YEAR?!

And then I started to get a bit inside my head. I mean, it’s great that I’ve come this far. One hundred posts in a row IS an accomplishment, but when will I start writing better posts, ones that take more time and effort, ones that MEAN something?

I don’t know. Maybe this is all there is. And then this crazy feeling came over me…

That’s ok. I like this just as it is.

…sigh…

That felt so good.

Does that mean I’ll never do more than write posts about the books I’m reading and what they bring up each day? Not at all. I might submit an article to a magazine. I might write a book. I might even try to get the one I’ve written published, or at least posted here for download. And I’m moving steadily toward those things every day, but I’m completely happy with where I am right now, not sitting here brooding about what else I could have and do.

And THAT feels amazing.

Guess what else!

I finished reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell this morning and it was every bit as great as I had hoped. But here’s my problem. The book is listed as Non-Fiction/Current Affairs/Business, but that’s not what I was reading it for. To me, it feels more like sociology, and I’ve listed it as such in my book stats file because…I do what I want!

Some words from “Conclusion” are what made the book sociology and not business, in my opinion.

“The world – much as we want it to – does not accord with our intuition.”

“To make sense of social epidemics, we must first understand that human communication has its own set of very unusual and counterintuitive rules.”

“We like to think of ourselves as autonomous and inner-directed, that we are who we are and how we act is something permanently set by our genes and our temperament.”

“We are actually powerfully influenced by out surroundings, our immediate context, and the personalities of those around us.”

“That is why social change is so volatile and so often inexplicable, because it is the nature of all of us to be volatile and inexplicable.”

And here’s my favorite part:

“In the end, Tipping Points are a reaffirmation of the potential for change and the power of intelligent action. Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push – in just the right place – it can be tipped.”

Doesn’t that make you feel powerful? You, your behavior or product or idea, could be the very thing that tips the world toward something better.

The whole book goes through examples of ideas, products, and activities that have caught fire and spread, and why. It’s not a book about how to market your product and get rich. It’s about understanding human nature better.

This book was originally written in 2000 and my edition was put out with an additional “Afterword” chapter in 2002. In it, he starts to reflect on our coming “word of mouth” age, where we can all communicate with each other freely and at no cost. He was talking about email but, of course, it made me think of social media.

“The fact that anyone can e-mail us for free, if they have our address, means that people frequently and persistently email us. But that quickly creates immunity, and simply makes us value face-to-face communications – and the communications of those we already know and trust – all the more.”

Remember when we first discovered Facebook? I do. It was just as I moved away from my hometown for the first time in my life. There I was in a new place, close enough to go visit home regularly, but far enough to make me look for new friends. And I open my computer and there were all the old faces and names for as far back as I wanted to go.

I spent hours scrolling through other people’s feeds, commenting, and sharing my new world with them. It was fun.

Why is it not fun anymore?

Malcolm Gladwell might say, “Immunity.” There’s so much that we can’t keep up, so we shut it down and move on. But we haven’t, have we? It’s all so complicated, but I closed the book thinking about it. I made some quick notes and wondering if I could write a better post about it. Put that in the idea file!

Product Epidemic Example Real Time?

I’m halfway through The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and I’m loving it as much as I thought I would. But things got weird today and think it’s one of these (smaller) epidemics like he’s describing.

“Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.”

“The point of all of this is to answer two simple questions that lie at the heart of what we would all like to accomplish as educators, parents, marketers, business people, and policymakers. Why is it that some ideas or behaviors or products start epidemics and others don’t? And why can we do to deliberately start and control positive epidemics of our own?”

“…when the epidemic tips, when it is jolted out of equilibrium, it tips because something has happened, some change has occurred in one (or two or three) of those areas. These three agents of change I call the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context.”

Here’s the weird thing. Are you ready?

As you know, over the weekend I finished reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick. Why did I start reading that book? Because I was at Barnes & Noble and saw the book on the shelf, remembered that it was on my TBR list, and picked up. An impulse buy, really. Not a planned read.

I jump in and start reading, remember that I watched the movie, look online for it, don’t remember the specifics. Oh yes! There was a sequel recently and we had to watch the old one again before we watched the new one when it came out. I remember looking for the original to watch, but I don’t remember the specifics of the new one, Blade Runner 2049 other than it was good.

Late last night, my son texts me to ask if I had seen 2049 yet. What? Why would he ask me that? He doesn’t read my blog, so he doesn’t know I was reading the book. We talked about it this morning and I told him I had plans to watch it again.

This afternoon, I bring up Facebook on my laptop and an acquaintance of mine had posted that he watched the movie over the weekend because it had just been put up on Netflix.

How weird is that? Some change occurred somewhere to lead us all to be watching that movie or talking about it over the same weekend. Malcolm Gladwell wrote this book twenty years ago, I’m pretty sure the people he mentioned in the above quote know about these laws and were using them to lead our attention.

You can also bet that “policymakers,” aka politicians, also know these rules and are using them to direct your attention where they want it to be.

And I’ve been using some of these ideas on my blog and my social media accounts as well. I call it putting some positive vibes into the world, sharing the love of books and great movies and tv, but really I’m only directing your attention where I would want it as best I can.

It’s crazy when things like this all come together for me. The Tipping Point is a used book I’ve had on my TBR shelf for over a year. Why did I pick it up now and not one of the other thirty books staring up at me with those big pleading eyes? I don’t know!

The Tipping Point: New Read

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference is the third Malcolm Gladwell book I’ve read. The first two were Talking With Strangers and Blink. Both ended up being an entirely different book than I thought they were going to be, and in the greatest way. The way he writes pulls you in. He’s talking about statistics and behavior, but it feels like a story.

Malcolm Gladwell leads you through a maze of interesting (and seemingly unrelated) pieces of information and then allows you to connect the dots yourself. Both the previous books I’ve read changed the way I look at things. I felt smarter, more ready to take on the world, and in positive ways.

And that’s exactly the feeling I need right now, which is why I picked this book for my next read. The Tipping Point is about how ideas and behaviors spread like a virus.

I don’t have much else to say about the book so far. I’ve only read the introduction and first chapter. I’ll leave you with a quote (of course) before I go.

“We need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that sometimes big changes follow from small events, and that sometimes these changes can happen very quickly.”

This book was written in 2000, so now this sentence feels quite ominous, doesn’t it?

We think life will continue on the same way forever; the frog in the water slowing coming to boil doesn’t notice the slow and steady changes, right? But at some point, the frog does notice, and things start happening. For the frog story, it’s bad. He gets boiled. Or does he? Maybe he jumps out. I don’t know! It’s just a silly analogy everyone knows.

My point right now is, what else around us has reached a tipping point and what was it? If we can notice the small changes that might trigger bigger ones, maybe we could respond in ways that make things better for ourselves instead of worse.

Want to read more posts about The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell? Try:
Product Epidemic in Real Time?
or Influenced? Yes, But That Can be a Good Thing

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