Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Disdain for The Tipping Point

I never realized there was such disdain for Gladwell's hypothesis in The Tipping Point. When I read it, the concept was fascinating enough, and didn't set off any skeptical alarms for me. Of course, Gladwell writes well, in a conversational tone that exudes authority, so I'm guessing most people reading it would not immediately take such issue with it. I found The Tipping Point to be a good read, but both his books at times seemed more like a collection of cool facts than and idea to bring about earth-shattering change.

Gladwell just started blogging again after a long hiatus. He's been working on a new book, and even if some academics take issue with his work, his books are undeniably both entertaining and thought-provoking. I wouldn't reread the book with a critical eye, but I plan on watching this debate bubbling to the surface. The original subject matter is so fascinating that a debate about it is sure to be just as enthralling.

On a related note, Science Friday last week covered Milgram's famous experiment, mostly debunking it, but also touching on why people psychologically want to believe in the "six degrees of separation."

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