9 mind-blowing concepts from Malcolm Gladwell's best-selling books

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is probably the most famous nonfiction author alive. When a new book of his comes out, it takes over airport bookstores

Each of his five books has become a best-seller, thanks to his incomparable ability to marry storytelling to social-science theory. 

This is an update of an article originally written by Aimee Groth and Elizabeth Bogner.

Social movements are sparked by small sets of influential people.

In Gladwell’s debut bestseller, “The Tipping Point,” he talks about the Law of the Few, which states that a select few sets of people push ideas, diseases, and fads through social networks.

There are three kinds:

• Connectors: who know everybody

• Mavens: who become experts

• Salespeople: who push ideas on others 

When these people get excited about something, it takes off.

Context shapes behavior.

Gladwell says “epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur.”

The most controversial idea cited is the Broken Windows Theory, which posits that crime is an outgrowth of disorder. So if you clean the graffiti off of subways and the trash off the streets and repair any actual broken windows, it will create an environment in which people are less likely to commit crimes.

It’s still being debated.

We make split-second judgment calls all the time.

In “Blink,” Gladwell zooms in on “thin slicing,” a psychological process in which we’re constantly reading people’s personalities within seconds of seeing them. 

Examples of thin slicing include: 

We predict how likely someone is to get a promotion based on the person’s clothes.

We infer whether someone is gay or straight from glancing at his or her face.

We think a woman is promiscuous if she has a visible tattoo.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Source: BusinessInsider.com