Book Report: The Tipping Point

Perhaps this is less of a book report and more of my musings on Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book The Tipping Point

The premise of the book is that there are “the moment(s) of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point” and those moments can create widespread social changes that can become part of our everyday.

So, why is this more my musing than an actual review? Well. We are living in a pandemic. All evidence points to the efficacy of masks. They work. They are widely available. They are slightly uncomfortable, but, hey, so are belts and high heels.

We have the “connectors”, who Gladwell’s notes as necessary for a trend to stick. We have celebrity after celebrity sharing pictures of themselves masked. The paparazzi must be terribly bored because they, too, are snapping mask pictures. 

We have the “mavens”, who we rely on, according to Gladwell, for information about masks and the efficacy of them. In my state, our governor made early pleas for mask wearing, shared pictures of himself in his mask, and made masks widely available. 

And yet, the mask has not “stuck” everywhere. Not only have they not stuck, they’ve been actively opposed. 

We strive to get to the tipping point of this omicron-fueled surge of COVID. Masks are certainly a tool in our toolbox. In using them, we could get to the tipping point of the epidemic. Same with vaccines. They are a tool in the toolbox. The conditions are right. But, as of this writing, not nearly enough people have gotten vaccinated to get us to the tipping point of COVID. I want the tipping points of masks and vaccines to lead to the tipping point of COVID.

So. What gives? Of course, the powerful voices on the anti-mask side of things have their own connectors and mavens. Does this mean we are at a standstill? Is history, from the 1919 flu where this exact same thing played out (minus vaccines), repeating itself? 

What do you think Malcolm Gladwell would say about this push and pull as we get to our tipping point?