creative [kree-ey-tiv]: adjective. Synonyms: clever, cool, innovative, inspired, prolific, stimulating.

criticism [krit-uh-siz-uhm]: noun. The act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

29 May 2010

The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell

"How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference". This book explores  what causes epidemics - may they be of syphilis, or fashion epidemics, or crime epidemics, or what causes young people to start smoking, or epidemics of ideas that make people take action (such as Paul Revere's "The British are coming!").
It's non-fiction, and according to the Dewey decimal system it's a book on social science, more specifically social interaction; and it was very well-written. Which shouldn't be a surprise, since Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker - or at least he was in 2000.
Essentially, this book talks about how concentrating resources on key people, key messages (and mediums for these messages), and key contexts can cause dramatic changes in the social landscape, and man was it interesting. It is also somewhat related to this article that I recently read (woooh, linking! Go read that!), and it raises interesting questions.
A particularly good point that stuck with me from The Tipping Point was about cigarette use and drug experimentation: teens who experiment with drugs won't be deterred by public health statements, and will actually find motivation to rebel against the authority figures in their lives by going counter to their instructions (by smoking, for example). Also, a very negligible percentage of people who have experimented with drugs will actually become addicted (ex: only 0.9% of people who have ever tried cocaine are regular users), so "what we should be doing instead of fighting experimentation is making sure that experimentation doesn't have serious consequences." Argument that could be used to support the legalization of drugs, anyone?
So yeah. This was a really interesting read; check it out!

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