In this book, Gladwell tries to provide an account of why certain behaviors, products, messages, or ideas achieve popularity while others do not. He, therefore, argues that for a trend to become successful, it must, first of all, reach the tipping point. Throughout the book, Gladwell suggests that for these ideas or behaviors to become a social epidemic, it is not necesary that large and resource intensive efforts be used. Instead, the author believes that trends becomes popular due to small but significant changes on the content, the message, the context and the individuals who convey the messages. According to Gladwell, the tipping point is reached when individuals pay proper attention to small changes that carry enormous effects.
Gladwell proposes various ways in which an idea can reach the tipping point through these small but significant changes. Firstly, an idea becomes a social epidemic when certain individuals grasp the content of the message and spread it out to the rest of the community. However, Gladwell points out that only a small fraction of the population with specific attributes are capable of spreading this kind of information. Secondly, ideas spread more quickly when they are catchy and memorable. However, Gladwell argues that people do not enjoy every aspect of a concept but instead pick out small fragments that make the message interesting and memorable. Thirdly, small changes in the environment such, as in the case of banning graffiti to reduce major crime rates in New York City as explained in Chapter 4, can lead to significant behavioral changes.