Tipping Point – How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference [Book Review]

Title: The Tipping Point – How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
ISBN: 0 – 316 – 34662 – 4 (PB)
Copyright: 2000, 2002 by Malcolm Gladwell pgs. 300

I came across this title on Twitter and when I enquired about it a friend sent it to me in the mail. He said I would really enjoy it. He wasn’t lying, I did enjoy it. While not a book I would otherwise pick up and read I am glad that I did.

The book flows with such ease it makes it hard to put down. The hour a day I committed to reading it went by fast. The author did a masterful job of drawing you in. He brings in numerous case studies interwoven throughout which made for even more interesting read. The case studies did for me what a good illustration does for a sermon, it made the book stick!

The gist of the book is self-awareness (how are actions, personality and tendencies can have an effect in the world around us) and from a sociological perspective, how things work. How things become trendy, catalysts (Tipping Point) for crime, what makes books and ideas popular. A marketing strategy of sorts, but at a sociological level.

He went into depth regarding the research concerning the habits and character traits of children on how that influenced Sesame Street and Blues Clues.

I thought his insight in chapter Power of Context part 2. He went on to explain why things tend to “get clumsy” when 150 people have been reached particularly in companies, (Citing Gore as a prime example) and why going over that number can cause a weakness in leadership, productivity in the workplace and creativity. He remarked using the Hutterite’s (A Christian sect) as an example and how they would break off into two churches after 150 members were reached.  I remember reading something similar a while back under the context of large churches as well.  Large churches have their unique challenges where the fellowship aspect and leadership can be burdened with the task of trying to meet the demands of the ministry.  Of course, more could be said, but suffice it to say there is more than meets the eye and having an eye for these underline things can help anyone along.

My big take away as a preacher and learning from the world around me is that there are patterns in things and we can see these similar patterns in religion. Patterns that lead to TIPPING POINTS, that in the examples of ministry can either make or break them.

Christians are to be discerning, discerning the times and discerning people, along with habits, and trends. By picking up on these nuances of culture, trends and religion Christians will be better prepared to minister.

It’s a good book with lots of insight and a quick read.