Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research

2014 Edition
| Editors: Alex C. Michalos

Tipping Points

  • Ren ThomasEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_3023



Tipping points are moments in time signaling periods of rapid and intense change in behaviors, perceptions, actions, or conditions. Depending on the context, these points in time can mark irreversible changes (as in the natural sciences or complexity theory), or those that are so significant that they could be said to mark paradigm shifts (as in political regime change).


In the bestselling book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (2000), Malcolm Gladwell defined a tipping point as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.” Gladwell explored the diffusion of ideas, products, and messages, proposing that they can spread “infectiously” under three conditions: they are supported and spread through people with specific social connections (categorized as connectors, mavens, or salesmen); they use language that sticks in the memory; and the...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography, Planning, and International Development StudiesUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands