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December 16, 2005

Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point Holds Lessons in Both Marketing and Writing

Practicing law is demanding and difficult. Many lawyers I know either have no time to read, or are too burned out from reading to read outside the law. I have experienced both problems. Nonetheless, this holiday season I find myself giving clients, business people and other lawyers copies of The Tipping Point--How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell's 2000 bestseller. In a word, it's about "buzz"--how and why some ideas gather currency and speed and others don't. If you own or operate a business, and need to market either products or services, spend $10 for the paperback and find out whether you and your contacts are connectors, mavens or persuaders. You could build a marketing plan around this book.

If you are a lawyer, there's a second reason to read the book. Gladwell (a non-lawyer) sets an example for good writing. A relatively young man with already-elite journalism credentials, he could have still written a great book using intelligent but busier, Buckley-esque language and sentence structure. Instead, and with few deviations, Gladwell chose to write in simple prose which communicates. In writing this book, he was challenged--as lawyers are daily challenged--to identify and explain arcane or complicated ideas and then apply them to real life. But Gladwell accomplishes that with straightforward "people" language. This book is both exciting and a pleasure to read.

Posted by JD Hull at December 16, 2005 10:39 AM


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