The Tipping Point

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Phan 1 Julie Phan Nancy Matthews ENGL-101-12 Short Writing #2 8 Sept. 2012 The Tipping Point The “tipping point” is the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, he gives us many examples of when there were tipping points in our society. Some examples are when Hush Puppies became popular, when the violent crime rate in New York simmered down, or when Baltimore was attacked with an epidemic of syphilis. The significance of the “tipping point” is very important in society because it shows trends and epidemics that affects society. Gladwell brought up the epidemic in Baltimore, “In the 1990s, the city of Baltimore was attacked by an epidemic of syphilis…the problem was crack cocaine. Crack is known to cause dramatic increase in the kind of risky sexual behavior that leads to the spread of things like HIV and syphilis” (15). The epidemic going on in Baltimore had to have a huge impact on everyone’s well-being due to the rapid rate that syphilis had been growing. The CDC said that crack was the small push that turned syphilis into a huge epidemic. John Zenilmen stated that medical services had to cut back the number of patients and doctor causing another push toward the epidemic. John Potterat also stated that since Baltimore had public housing that served many families it caused many exposures to crime and infectious diseases, finally setting off the tipping point of this entire epidemic. There is more than one way to tip an epidemic. Gladwell states that, “…when an epidemic tips, when it is jolted out of equilibrium, it tips because something has happened, some change has occurred in one (or two or three) of these areas…The Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context” (19). Gladwell defines the Law of the Few as a tiny percentage of people doing the majority of work. The
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