The Tipping Point | Study Guide

Malcolm Gladwell

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The Tipping Point | Chapter 8 : Conclusion: Focus, Test, and Believe | Summary


Key Takeaways

  • The conclusion gives the reader guidelines for putting the principles of epidemics into action.
  • Gladwell uses the example of nurse Georgia Sadler, who spread information about diabetes and breast cancer prevention to San Diego's black community by enlisting hair stylists as communicators. The stylists were outgoing people, and their clients trusted them.
  • By changing the messenger and the environment, and translating the message into "conversational starters," Sadler got the results she wanted. More women went in for breast cancer and diabetes screenings.
  • All the successful epidemic starters Gladwell analyzed used their resources intelligently, using the right people and the right methods, without expending too much effort.
  • To truly understand Tipping Points readers should realize how "messy" and puzzling human behavior can be. Communication comes with unusual rules, and social change is often "volatile and inexplicable."
  • Gladwell believes epidemics succeed when people are hopeful and believe in the possibility of dramatic social change, even when problems seem like they can't be solved.
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