The Tipping Point | Study Guide

Malcolm Gladwell

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The Tipping Point | Key Figure Analysis


Roger Horchow

Roger Horchow has "an instinctive and natural gift for making social connections," according to Gladwell. He takes a genuine interest in people and remembers acquaintances from long ago. Gladwell describes Horchow's detailed memory of casual meetings as "unusual" but uniquely suited to the Connector's social influence.

Lois Weisberg

Lois Weisberg, like Horchow, had a genuine interest in the lives and careers of others. Gladwell mentions her gift of seeing "possibility" in each new acquaintance and finding "everyone interesting." She held racially integrated gatherings in the 1950s, which were rare at the time—revealing her outsized social power and influence. Weisberg died in 2016.

Mark Alpert

In The Tipping Point Gladwell refers to Mark Alpert as a Market Maven or price vigilante—someone with detailed knowledge about where to find products and services for the best price. Alpert investigates consumer deals and shares this information with the public. Gladwell believes Alpert and other Mavens find fulfillment in helping others solve problems.

Tom Gau

Tom Gau is an expert in the financial-planning field. He's optimistic and friendly, and he genuinely enjoys helping clients. According to Gladwell he also has a certain "indefinable trait" that makes him more persuasive than others—the ideal Salesman.

Bernhard "Bernie" Goetz

Given Bernie Goetz's personality and background, it was unsurprising that he'd commit a racially motivated crime. He was antisocial and prone to inner rage, and he strongly disliked authority. He'd also been the victim of petty crime in his neighborhood, increasing his frustration. Goetz's life experience and his surroundings influenced his actions, according to Gladwell.

Paul Revere

Paul Revere, a "gregarious and intensely social" fellow, was respected by the colonial Massachusetts community and given positions of authority. Gladwell describes him as a "link" between many colonial neighborhoods across New England. All of this helped him spread news of the British attack faster than others might; people trusted the messenger.

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