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.
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.
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: