Am höchsten bewertete kritische Rezension
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Not the real thing
am 20. Februar 2000
The main problem with this book, for me at least, is that it just isn't substantial enough to be a BOOK. While the original article, which first appeared in the New Yorker quite a while back, was absorbing, delightful, and even thought-provoking, but I suppose my initial positive reaction was mostly due to the fact that it was a MAGAZINE ARTICLE, and I read it--as most people read magazine articles--while eating a meal alone or commuting to work; that is to say, without sitting at my desk, pencil and notepad at hand, paying each word and every sentence my undivided attention. I don't of course wish to disparage journalism or books written by journalists, but "The Tipping Point" suffers, I think, from everything that can go wrong when one adopts, expands, or simply reprints a newspaper or magazine article into a full-length book. The arguments Gladwell presents, when they're surrounded not by cute and funny New Yorkers cartoons but between the cardboards of a hardcover book, seem lightweight at best, and commonsensical, perhaps even farfetched, at worst. A fellow reviewer below has already noted the strange absence of any discussion of memes. Allow me to add that in a book that purports to reveal the little hidden mechanics that bring about tidal-wave changes in our social behavior and our society, the absence of detailed examination of memetics is simply unforgivable. (It'd be like writing a book that claims to talk about 20th-century physics but skips any mention of quantum mechanics.) In addition, some of the "scientific" methods employed by Gladwell seems dubious when they're not simply quixotic. For instance, the little experiment whereby Gladwell gave a list of people's last names to "400" people to read, asking them to give themselves a point every time they personally "know" someone who shares any of the last names on that list, seems just so pointless as not to merit inclusion even in a shoddily written article, much less a real book. And what's Gladwell's conclusion from this little experiment? That college students don't score too well, because they don't yet have the opportunity to know too many people, while real professionals, especially those whose business it is to have a lot of business connections, score the best. (You don't say!) And then Gladwell went on, apparently oblivious of the obviousness of it all, to dub the latter, the well connected, "the Connectors" (his capitalization; I should also mention that the author, like many fellow journalists, has the annoying habit of coining catchphrases, the usefulness of most of which seems rather questionable). If you think this is ridiculous, please allow me to assure you that the book is full of examples like this. All I can say is that if you're intrigued by the idea of the "tipping point," perhaps you should just go to your local library and photocopy those few pages of the New Yorker, rather than spend your money on the actual book. It's just not worth it.