tungwaiyip.info

home

about me

links

Blog

< March 2006 >
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
    1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 91011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 

past articles »

Click for San Francisco, California Forecast

San Francisco, USA

 

Book Review: The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point
by Malcolm Gladwell

How does fashion trends emerge, opinions and behaviors change across society? Gladwell suggests it is analogous to epidemics. Small change spread from person to person, until it reaches a tipping point and all of a sudden ends up with big effect.

This book is wildly popular. It is also highly overrated.

It starts off with a lot of excitement. His theory hold a lot of promises and his stories are captivating. But beneath the exuberance my critical mind started to ask, "can this be true?" Further reading failed to bring forward any strong evidence. Instead the same theme grows increasing tired and the stories get more far fetched. Until it got to some absurd idea like the 'rule of 150'. Which basically says the most effective human group size is around 150, a magic number hardwired in our brain during the evolution process. It would be hard pressed to find any empirical evidence to support this. Astute reader might even notice this actually contradict with the Connectors chapter, where his studies shown the number of connects among any group of people varies greatly from very low to very high. All the same he devoted an entire chapter to this 'discovery' and went about this as enthusiastically as anything else.

Our human society is complex. It is often impossible to attribute any event to a simple cause. So when he reduce complex social phenomenon into a single cause, a lot must be missing from his interpretation. Just what does he say about the dramatic drop of crimes rate in New York subway? "Clean up the graffiti and all of a sudden people who would otherwise commit crimes suddenly don't" Magic solution? Or hasty conclusion?

Gladwell's talent is really in writing and journalism rather than sociology and science. There is a lot of excitement, big surprises, big discoveries, big theories but ultimately with weak scientific basis. Sounds familiar? This is sociology done in the style of popular psychology.

2006.03.01 [, ] - comments

 

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

past articles »

 

BBC News

 

Trump rejects proposal for Russia to interrogate US citizens (19 Jul 2018)

 

New Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab vows to 'intensify' talks (19 Jul 2018)

 

Burberry burns bags, clothes and perfume worth millions (19 Jul 2018)

 

Zuckerberg in Holocaust denial row (19 Jul 2018)

 

Egypt sarcophagus: Mystery black tomb opened in Alexandria (19 Jul 2018)

 

Would you choose to sleep with the fishes? (19 Jul 2018)

 

Macron aide Benalla in French probe for beating protester (19 Jul 2018)

 

Trevor Noah defends 'Africa won the World Cup' joke (19 Jul 2018)

 

US faces retaliation if car tariffs go ahead (19 Jul 2018)

 

India Netflix actor Rajshri Deshpande 'disgusted by porn star label' (19 Jul 2018)

more »

 

SF Gate

 

Facebook to remove misinformation that leads to violence (19 Jul 2018)

 

Ship traffic, July 20 (19 Jul 2018)

 

EBay lays off nearly 300 Bay Area employees (19 Jul 2018)

 

Ship traffic, July 18 (18 Jul 2018)

 

Business News Roundup, July 19 (18 Jul 2018)

 

Settlement rejected in McDonald’s franchisee case (18 Jul 2018)

more »


Site feed Updated: 2018-Jul-19 15:00