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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Gladwell, Malcolm: The Tipping Point

  Amazon  

4.5 stars

In his bestseller The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell discusses the phenomenon named by his title, the point at which something--an idea, a virus, a fashion--becomes an epidemic, its growth accelerating exponentially. There are three characteristics of something that has "tipped": it is contagious, the change in its growth is dramatic rather than gradual, and the change is the result of small, ostensibly insignificant changes. But little changes, as Gladwell shows us, can have big effects.

In his first chapter Gladwell lays out the three rules of epidemics, which he discusses at greater length in subsequent chapters. (1) Whether or not an idea tips depends in part on the messenger, if it's being spread by someone who is unusually connected (and can thus spread the idea among disparate groups) or unusually informed (and thus called upon as a source of information among his acquaintances), or else a very good salesman. (2) The successful spread of an idea depends in part as well on the message itself, whether it is "sticky." (3) Finally, its success depends on its context, the particular conditions--social or environmental, for example--in which it operates.

Gladwell considers numerous real-life examples while discussing the phenomenon of the tipping point--from Paul Revere's ride (a guy with connections and a sticky message!) to Bernie Goetz and the "Broken Window Theory" of policing to Sesame Street and Blues Clues and the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. It's a fascinating read, one that will likely leave readers analyzing their own situations in light of Gladwell's comments. But what I most like about Gladwell's book is not so much what he says--though that's extremely interesting--but the way he says it. The Tipping Point is an object lesson in how to write nonfiction for a general audicence. Gladwell manages to communicate complex ideas in remarkably clear prose, which is made further accessible by his repeated, timely restatements of his arguments to that point. All writers of nonfiction should aspire to communicate so clearly.

Comments

1.

Excellent review! I just picked this up at the library yesterday as an audiobook, read by the author. I'm planning to listen on my commute. I was already looking forward to the book, and your review almost has me looking forward to my drive to work tomorrow.

2.

Wow, Laura. Thanks for your nice comment! I hope you enjoy the commute :)

3.

I loved this one too! I hadn't thought of it as a good example of nonfiction writing. It just came across as so simple that it never entered my mind that he was actually making something complex *seem* simple. :-)

4.

This is a great read. Very incite full. I bought this book based on your review. - www.mindreign.com

5.

Thanks, Kelly and Robert! I don't often get this much feedback on my reviews. This is nice. Robert, I hope you enjoy the book.

6.

cool blog. I love this book

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