The Tipping Point (Gladwell, M.); Book/Movie Review

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The Tipping Point (Gladwell, M.); Book/Movie Review

Type of paper:
Book/movie review

Psychology and Education

Format or citation style:

Paper instructions:

Read the book “The Tipping Point” and answer ALL of the following questions.

A 8 to 12 page paper on the book The Tipping Point.
1. The Tipping Point is that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. At what point does it become obvious that something has reached a boiling point and is about to tip?
2. The possibility of sudden change is at the center of the idea of the “Tipping Point”—big changes occurring as a result of small events. If we agree that we are all, at heart, gradualists, our expectations set by the steady passage of time, is it reassuring to think that we can predict radical change by pinning their tipping points? Can we really ensure that the unexpected becomes the expected?
3. The 80/20 Principle states that in any situation roughly 80 percent of the ‘work’ will be done by 20 percent of the participants. This idea is central to the Law of the Few theory where a tiny percentage of people do the majority of work. But say you took those 20 people who do all the “work” away, would changes or epidemics never occur or would the next 20 people step into that role and assume the position of “workers”? Is one born an exceptional person, a ‘one of the few,’ or could someone eventually learn how to become a member of this exceptional group?
4. Connectors—the kinds of people who know everyone and possess special gifts for bringing the world together. What kind of careers and job titles would you expect Connectors to have? Connectors are defined by having many acquaintances, a sign of social power, but do you think a Connector privileges quantity over quality? How do Connectors embody the maxim “it’s not what you know but who you know?”
Maven—means one who accumulates knowledge and who has information on a lot of different products or prices or places. Could anyone be a maven if they just have the diligence and desire to learn a specific craft or area of knowledge? Salesmen—are the select group of people with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing. Discuss what you think makes a good salesman? Think about the last time you were in a store and what you liked or didn’t like about the retail person assisting you? Have you ever felt suckered into buying something or recognized the only reason you bought an item (or even one in ever color) was because of the person selling it to you?
What would you describe yourself as—a connecter, maven or salesman? Think of the people you know and who out of them best exemplifies these categories and why?
5. Sesame Street was an example of how an agent of infection (television) was able to infect a positive virus (literacy). What are some other examples of sticky messages that aren’t as beneficial in culture?
6. What makes a message memorable? What about the commercial we dislike and we only recall because it irritated us so intensely? Haven’t the advertisers fulfilled their purpose by the sheer fact you remember their commercial? Does this mean that the cliché “even bad publicity is good publicity” is right? If something gets noticed and sticks in the viewer’s mind then does the nature of the message not matter?
7. What are some of the desperate measures taken by advertisers, publicists and celebrities to get noticed and stay in the limelight? How has the level of shock tactics used to grab public attention escalated and changed over time? Do we risk become totally desensitized as a culture, immune to the eyebrow-raising, attention-grabbing ploys of marketers?
8. The Ya-Ya Sisterhood epidemic reveals the critical role that groups play in social epidemics. Psychologists tell us much the same thing: that when people are asked to consider evidence or make decisions in a group, they come to very different conclusions than when they are asked the same questions by themselves. Can we ever really make a decision in a vacuum, solely based on our own feelings, or do our peers or surroundings always influence us somehow?
9. If peer pressure is more powerful than the concept of a boss would you work harder for a boss whom you are friendly with because you care more what they think?
10. Do you believe that it was essentially the ‘cool’ marketing campaign that tipped the Airwalk trend? Can you think of other more current products that have exploded onto the market with an equally impressive advertising assault? Would Apple computers and the iPod phenomenon, for example, be as popular if it didn’t have it’s signature marketing campaign?
11. How do weird, idiosyncratic things that really cool kids do end up in the mainstream? They are translated from a highly specialized world into a language the rest of us can understand. So, when we judge things as being weird and idiosyncratic are we really saying that we just don’t understand it? It’s not the product but our interpretation of it that is limited? Could everything, if ‘sugarcoated’ in a way we recognize, ultimately, become palatable and even enjoyable?
12. The epidemics of suicide and smoking are complex and largely unconscious contagions with far more subtle undercurrents at work. One explanation beyond rationale is that as humans we get permission to act by seeing others engage in deviant acts. When we engage in dangerous or reckless behavior of any kind, how much of our decision to do so is conscious versus unintentional? Are you a smoker or have you ever been? What do you think makes some people pick up the habit while others steer clear of it their whole lives?
13. What are your opinions on the nature vs. nurture debate? Do you agree that environment plays a bigger role in shaping and influence children than genetics and personality?
14. What underlies successful epidemics, in the end, is a bedrock belief that change is possible, that people can radically transform their behavior or beliefs in the face of the right kind of impetus. Can leopards really change their spots and do you agree that it only takes the smallest infractions to cause the greatest changes? With the slightest push in the right place, can the world around us be tipped?
15. How does this book relate to Evolutionary Psychology? Discuss.
The paper must be typed, double spaced, and written in Times New Roman 12pt. font. Answer all questions above. Please do not re-write the questions within your paper.


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