Connectors , Mavens and Salesmen connect the world take a moment and read this receive to understand the differences between these types of people. For some strange reason, I think read the entire Gladwell Trilogy out of order. I started with Outliers which was the last book in his trilogy, but The Tipping Point was hands down my favorite of the three books and I recommend it the most. It seems to me to have most practical utility in every day life when you can understand the concepts. I’ll go over the basics in the book shortly, but I want to mention something.
In essence we are all trying to reach our own tipping point. Success has a strange tendency to come and go in the lives of most people. A common expression that is actually a limiting belief in disguise, is that "When it Rains it Pours." I’ve heard men refer to this when they start meeting alot of women, hence the opposite dryspell. I have heard people use it to talk about wealth or opportunities. But, nobody ever says, once it starts raining, it doesn’t stop. For wealth, health, happiness or whatever it is we desire we are all trying to get to the tipping point. To share an example, that is staring you in the face, I’ve been blogging like there’s no tomorrow, and reaching the critical mass that might turn my blog into a sustainable income is the tipping point I’m looking to reach. Those are just some thoughts on the applications of Tipping Point concepts in the sphere of personal development. Now on the book review.
The main premise of The Tipping Point is that small things can lead to big changes. Gladwell starts this book by exploring the concept of epidemics using STD outbreaks and other medical epidemics to demonstrate how something small can lead to something big. Then he goes on to a few commercial examples, such as the comeback of Hush Puppies, which started with just a few young kids wearing them to be stylish and different, after the brand had nearly become extinct. Another commercial example was the Airwalk brand of shoes.
Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the section on identifying the people who play a role in influencing a tipping point. He separates these people into three distinct groups:
1. Connectors: This was without a doubt my favorite of the three groups because we can make so much progress by becoming a connector. Connectors are described as those people who easily move from group to group, subculture to subculture, and somehow manage to maintain relationships across all of them. One interesting experiment that Gladwell shares is finding the connectors in your group of friends. If you take your 40 closest friends, apparently, you will invariably come back to the same two people again and again. When I look at my own facebook profile, friends from three phases of my life (Berkeley, Pepperdine, and Brazil), I saw myself in this role. What I thought was the ultimate irony is that many connectors are unaware that they are the connector. But, if we have the simple awareness of this as our strength we can really exploit it. My roommate told me the other day that his grandmother who is roughly in her mid eighties and was a school teacher is one of the most influential people in his home town because she knows everybody and she influences the local government quite a bit.
2. Mavens: The Mavens are the gatherers and distributors of information. I think many bloggers fall into this category, especially personal finance bloggers. Mavens apparently are the people who are almost obsessive about gathering and distributing information. They are the ones that tell you when something is on sale, or when there is a coupon for something. While they don’t necessarily have the power of the connectors, they still play an important role.
3. Salesmen: Salesmen seem to be the final nudge that gets people over the tipping point. They are characterized, as personal , persuasive, and gregarious. They have the ability to demonstrate passion about an idea, and get people to buy into that idea. I spent the earlier part of my career in sales, and realized the only part of it I really enjoyed was building relationships with clients.
To me, the divisions of the three personality types is probably the most practical application of the concepts from this book in the real world. It has the most utility in the context of personal and professional development. The rest of the book goes through several more case studies of The Tipping Point in action. I would say you definitely want to add this to your reading list.