Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer with The New
Yorker magazine since 1996. His 1999 profile of Ron Popeil won a
National Magazine Award, and in 2005 he was named one of Time Magazine's 100
Most Influential People. He is the author of The Tipping
Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference, (2000) and Blink: The
Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), both of which were number one
New York Times bestsellers; as well as Outliers (2008) and What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (2009).
From 1987 to 1996, he was a reporter with the Washington Post, where he covered business, science, and then served as the newspaper's New York City bureau chief. He graduated from the University of Toronto, Trinity College, with a degree in history. He was born in England, grew up in rural Ontario, and now lives in New York City.
This biography was last updated on 07/07/2011.
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Interview with Malcolm Gladwell
What is The Tipping Point about?
It's a book about change. In particular, it's a book that presents a new way of understanding why change so often happens as quickly and as unexpectedly as it does. For example, why did crime drop so dramatically in New York City in the mid-1990's? How does a novel written by an unknown author end up as national bestseller? Why do teens smoke in greater and greater numbers, when every single person in the country knows that cigarettes kill? Why is word-of-mouth so powerful? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? I think the answer to all those questions is the same. It's that ideas and behavior and messages and products sometimes behave just like outbreaks of infectious disease. They are social epidemics. The Tipping Point is an examination of the social epidemics that surround us.
What does it mean to think about life as an epidemic? Why does thinking in terms of epidemics change the way we view the world?
Because epidemics behave in a very unusual and counterintuitive way. Think, for a moment, about an epidemic of measles in a kindergarten class. One child brings in the virus. It spreads to every other...
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