I just received my latest issue of Fast Company, and saw that New Yorker writer and author of the book, The Tipping Point is on the cover–under the headline The Accidental Guru. I haven’t had a chance to read the article in great detail yet, but it looks like a good one.
Writer Danielle Sacks writes about his phenomenal success in business circles: “No one in recent memory has slipped into the role of business thought leader as gracefully or influentially as Gladwell. Soon after his first book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Little, Brown, 2000), fell into America’s palms, Gladwell made the leap from generalist staff writer at The New Yorker to marketing god. Since then, Gladwell has oscillated between pen and mike, balancing lengthy New Yorker articles with roughly 25 speaking gigs a year, his current going rate some $40,000 per appearance. Last year, he spoke at such highbrow conferences as TED and Pop!Tech and was invited to share his wisdom at companies including Genentech, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Hewlett-Packard. His New Yorker articles have become required reading for B-school students. The Tipping Point spent 28 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and more than two years on Business Week’s, and today there are almost 800,000 copies of Gladwell’s trend-mapping bible in print. Mention his impact, though, and he modestly tries to brush it off — leaning, like any good journalist, on data points to support his argument. “Remember,” he points out, “even a book that’s a best-seller still is only read by less than 1% of the American public.””
She goes on to call him a ” rock star, a spiritual leader, a stud.” I enjoyed the Tipping Point a great deal. What is nice about Gladwell’s style is that he is able to take fairly complicated ideas and explore them in great detail in prose that is straightforward, clear and concise. It’s not wonder that his ideas about early adopters and trends were scooped up by marketers and business leaders eager to gain an edge.
His new book, Blink (an exploration into what occurs when you make a “gut decision” and how it might be more accurate than you think) comes out in January. And, I hope to see him and have him sign a book or two when he comes to the Twin Cities area on February 8. If you aren’t familiar with his writing, take a look here at his site. It’s worth a read.