Book Review for Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point

Tipping Point (book)by Jeremy Fishman

Have you ever been stuck in a quagmire of bumper to bumper traffic only to  ask yourself where did all these cars come from? Have you ever been outside on a clear, sunny day, and within five minutes wonder why you are soaked from head to toe?

These phenomena may seem like bad luck, or random chance, but Malcolm Gladwell, sociologist and author, insists otherwise. His first novel The Tipping Point, published in 2000, explores the sudden, drastic change that transforms unknown fashion statements, music styles, technological innovations, you-name-it into full blown social sensations.

Gladwell approaches social or natural change with the model of an “epidemic.” He examines three factors that underly social epidemics: “The Law of the Few”, where he examines outstanding individuals who ‘promote’ the spread of information; “The Stickiness Factor”, or the durability of the message; and “The Power of Context”, or the ability of the surrounding environment to affect the explosion of a social “virus.” All of these factors interact until the trend reaches a “tipping point” and the epidemic skyrockets.

Gladwell’s style is simple and straightforward, lending to an easy and insightful read. His theory, when applied to such examples as the drastic, unprecedented decrease in crime in New York City in the late 1980s or the fashion craze of Hush Puppies, is convincing. He masterfully draws from psychological, economic, and social research gathered from professionals and case studies to support his approaches. Despite the avalanching pace of the novel, he often repeats conclusions established in earlier chapters in order to make sure that the information is fresh in his reader’s minds, and though this may get tiresome, by the end of the chapter the reader gains a true understanding of the described situation.

When reading this book, I felt intrigued, but also skeptical. When Gladwell stated at the beginning of the novel that his theory mayseem to go against human rationale, I took that as a “cover” on why his theory may be implausible. Gladwell’s main point is that crucial change does not occur gradually, but from “little things”, such as the placement of letters in a marketing campaign, or cleaning subway trains of graffiti. However, his explanations seem over-simplified. He only supplies information that support his theory, not facts that negate his ideas. This is an example of a “confirmation bias”, that Gladwell-the-psychologist clearly demonstrates.

Overall, the novel shows fascinating examples of the evolution of social behavior. Readers can not only absorb the information, but apply certain behaviors to their own lives: such as that of Connecting, Persuading, or Gathering Knowledge. Gladwell’s language and examples are proud disciples of the Information Age. He is an intelligent observer who sees the overarching picture, who wants to show that even the most miniscule factor influences change, and that “change is possible.” This read is highly entertaining and will lend itself to hours of discussion among peers, but in the end is a collection of mostly unpractical “the-more-you-know” tidbits.

Malcolm Gladwell has written three other novels: Blink, Outliers, and What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures. For other novels similar to The Tipping Point, check out Freakonomics.

After the Party Season, We Still Need to Distinguish the Parties

pencil on white paper with eraserAt Holdcom we receive Voice Prompt Menu requests on a daily basis and being one of the Script Consultants in the Department, many of them pass over my desk for review.  i’d like to take this opportunity to clear up a common mistake in these submissions.  We’ve all heard the voice prompt line “If you know your party’s extension, please dial it now.”  Well, all too often “party’s” is misspelled; it comes over as the plural “parties.”  Granted your callers would never know the difference and that is why you are entitled to Script Consultation, but the Holdcom Voice is the opportunity for us to enlighten our readers.  Party on.

Recycle Your Holiday Cards… For A Good Cause

Christmas cardsIf you haven’t already recycled your holiday cards from this season, then send them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children.  The Children take the cards and create new ones.  The program begin 30 years ago and has had a tremendous response.  You can even purchase these cards!  Log onto http://stjudesranch.org/help_card.php for more details.

 

Cards may be donated by sending them to:

St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
Recycled Card Program
100 St. Jude’s Street
Boulder City, NV 89005

Featured Partner – Press8

HOLDCOM’s is proud to honor Press8 Telecom as our Partner of the Month. HOLDCOM was brought in as a value-added service to supply the professional voice recordings for Press8’s clients’ voicemail, attendant greetings and custom Message On-Hold programs on their VoIP phone service.

press8 (phone systems)

Press8 Telecom has been in business for over 3 years. They offer unlimited calls on all their plans and plans start as low as $49.99/mo. for one line, one extension and a local phone number. There are no contracts to sign, no setup fees, and they even offer a 30 day money back guarantee. Their support is available 24/7 and their offices are located in the high tech city of Austin, Texas. Their customers are seeing savings of 50-85% off their business phone bills by switching to Press8. On the Press8 website you can get an instant quote, save your quote for later, and buy when you are ready. You can use your current phone number or get a new number. They offer toll free numbers and numbers from all over the US48 for their customers. Press8 just launched their new website and is offering their new ‘Business Bundle’ which includes everything a small business needs to get started with unified communications including: 3 phones, 3 lines, 3 extensions, unlimited calling, PLUS a toll free number AND a fax number all for just $129.00/mo. Check out their site at: www.press8.com. THE smart phone system for your smart business.

Food Drive 2010

Eva's VillageStatistics show that millions of Americans went hungry in 2009. Many more will do the same in this New Year.

HOLDCOM is a proud supporter of Eva’s Village, a comprehensive, anti-poverty organization in Paterson, NJ. With a seating capacity of 240, the kitchen at Eva’s Village served an average of 370 hot lunches each day last year. All who come are fed. Guests are not made to stand in a “chow line,” but are seated at tables and served with dignity and respect by volunteers.

During the month of February, we open our doors and welcome donations for our Food Drive. Non perishable food items, as well as paper products are greatly appreciated. HOLDCOM recognizes the need to reach out to the community, and we look towards our network of clients and partners for their support.

For more information, contact joep@holdcom.com or andyb@holdcom.com

To learn more about this organization, check out their website at www.evasvillage.org/kitchen.html  or click here to view a video.

“This phone will self destruct in 5 seconds…”

AppsOne of the most stressful experiences for the mobile generation is losing their phone or PDA. Whether it gets stolen or misplaced, the loss of your mobile device not only hits you financially, but just the thought of someone using your phone or going through your data is enough to drive you crazy.

App-Man has found a clever way to thwart thieves and protect your identity and investment. With WaveSecure, you have an arsenal of security measures at your finger tips. Not only can you remotely lock down the phone and make it worthless, WaveSecure sounds an alarm and flashes a warning message on your screen. In addition, WaveSecure acts as a tracking device, telling you when new SIM cards are installed and where the phone is being used. And if that wasn’t enough, this app will also clear out your data and any personal affects with the touch of a button.

Don’t fall prey to thieves and protect your investment with WaveSecure. To learn more visit www.wavesecure.com or look for it in the Android Market. Your Droid will be glad you did.

Holiday Celebration at Club Holdcom

by Neil Fishman

This year HOLDCOM held its Open House Holiday Party on Friday, December 18th, in our newly painted and re-organized offices in Glen Rock, NJ. With weather cooperating, about 70 of our family, friends and clients attended the festivities from 2 to 8 PM. All were treated to a potpourri of edible delights, and the mega-sushi platters were a big hit! Thanks go out to all our staff who contributed to this delightful and successful event, with special appreciation to Stacey (and husband Tom) Caropreso and Andy Begnoche. Guests were amazed at the transformation of our lower level production suites into an intimate club-like atmosphere.

Speaking of the holidays, have you noticed the rather sudden increase in emailed virtual greeting cards this year? I don’t know if the trend has been statistically verified or documented, but my Inbox must have received at least twice as many as last year. And, we noticed a corresponding decrease in the number of mailed brick and mortar greeting cards. I suppose this shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the impact of technology and social media on traditional print distribution and fulfillment. It’s just that this year may have reached a tipping point in the balance between virtual vs. hard copy holiday greetings. Let us know your thoughts about receiving Holiday Greeting email, and whether you prefer sending or receiving virtual vs. traditional Holiday cards. One thing is certain…Holdcom is already thinking ahead about the prospect of new holiday audio greeting possibilities for 2010!

HOLDCOM Strip Calendar

You asked for it, you got it.  The 2010 HOLDCOM calendar strips are here.

Calendar Strips (2010)

Back by popular demand, the HOLDCOM calendar strip is the perfect accessory for any computer monitor, cubical, or workstation.  This 12 month calendar strip provides quick and easy reference to the year at a glance.  The white lettering on black background makes for a subtle addition to your monitor.  It also features a double sided sticky tape which allows you to easily attach it to any surface while using it to post notes for other reminders.

With all the electronic gadgets and digital calendars, it’s refreshing to have this analog reference for quick and instant viewing.   And best of all it’s FREE – compliments of your friends at HOLDCOM.  If you would like to receive a calendar strip for you computer or workstation, please email us at newsletter@holdcom.com.  Limit 2 per email.  Hurry whiles supplies last.

A FREE Reusuable Holdcom Tote… Just For You!

Holdcom tote bags

It’s 2010… please don’t say that you’re still using the paper or plastic bags available to you at your local food store.  Aside from the already great reasons to utilize reusable bags – they’re better for the environment and most food chains will give you cash back for using reusable bags, we’ve come up with one more – we’re giving you one for FREE.  That’s right, you can have a Holdcom Reusable Tote!!  They’re sturdy, will help you help the environment… oh yeah, and did we mention FREE.  Email Stacey if you’re interested – staceyc@holdcom.com.  Only one per person & while supplies last.

Happy New Year & Happy Carrying!