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Publication Date of David and Goliath

October 1, 2013

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CHAPTER ONE: The Three Rules of Epidemics

The Law of the Few:

3. The 80/20 Principle states that in any situation roughly 80 percent of the ‘work’ will be done by 20 percent of the participants. This idea is central to the Law of the Few theory where a tiny percentage of people do the majority of work. But say you took those 20 people who do all the “work” away, sick would changes or epidemics never occur or would the next 20 people step into that role and assume the position of “workers”? Is one born an exceptional person, a ‘one of the few,’ or could someone eventually learn how to become a member of this exceptional group?

Stickiness Factor:

4. Stickiness means that a message makes an impact and doesn’t go in one ear and out the other. Take a simple, every day example of this. Think about a song that you couldn’t get out of your head or that television commercial you still remember from when you were a kid. Could you pinpoint what it is you think makes them “sticky?”

The Power of Context:

5. This says that human beings are a lot more sensitive to their environment than they may seem. How attuned are you to your environment and its effect on you? Have you felt your mood change because of the surroundings even if it’s as subtle as standing near a couple in a bitter argument or being in a cluttered, messy bedroom?

5. KENNA’S DILEMMA

1. In the cases of Kenna’s music and the Aeron chair we see that first impressions can often lead us astray. What we initially judge as disapproval may just be a case of confusion or mistrust for something new and different. How can we distinguish a decision motivated by fear of the unknown from the ones that stem from genuine dislike towards something? Are we better off leaving it to the experts to tell us what we should like?

2. What if we have personal investment in the new product or person? Can we or how do we separate our emotional involvement from our intuitive judgment?

3. Do you believe our unconscious reactions come out of a locked room that we can’t ever truly see inside? Can we ever know ourselves wholly and understand the motivation and reason behind our every move? If an individual claims to completely know how their mind works, online are they incredibly self-aware or just delusional? And if we can’t totally get behind that locked door and fully ‘know’ why we react the way we do, is psychiatry an over-priced and limited exercise?

4. PAUL VAN RIPER’S BIG VICTORY

1. Riper believed that strategy and complex theory were inappropriate and futile in the midst of battle, capsule
“where the uncertainties of war and the pressure of time made it impossible to compare options carefully and calmly.” What other ‘work’ spaces discount rational analysis and demand immediate ‘battlefield’ decision-making?

2. Can one ever really prepare for decisive, rapid-fire scenarios? Is planning for the unpredictable worthwhile or a waste of time and energy?

3. If improvisational comedy is governed by rules and requires practice like any other sport, could anyone be a stand-up comic or performer? Or, will some people always naturally be better at thinking on their toes and more adept at unleashing spontaneity?

4. Riper says, “When we talk about analytic versus intuitive decision-making, neither is good or bad. What is bad is if you use either of them in an inappropriate circumstance.” But is decision-making all about the circumstances or more about the personality of the decision-maker i.e. do circumstances have more impact on decision-making if you are a more cerebral, logical individual versus an indecisive, instinctual one?

1. THE THEORY OF THIN SLICES

Marriage and Morse Code:

1. Have you ever had a feeling that a couple’s future is successful or doomed just by witnessing a brief exchange between them? What do you think you’re picking up on?

2. Many couples seek marriage counseling from a therapist, seek
a priest, rabbi etc. But do you think a couple about to get married should go and see John Gottman, the psychologist who can predict with a 95% accuracy whether a couple will be together in 15 years just by watching an hour of their interaction? If you were about to be married or could go back to before you were, would you want to see Gottman and find out his prediction?

3. The central argument of the chapter is that our unconscious is able to find patterns in situations and behavior based on very narrow slices of experience. This is called ‘thin-slicing.” What kinds of phenomena, if any, do not lend themselves to ‘thin-slicing?’

4. Gottman decodes a couple’s relationship and predicts divorce by identifying their patterns of behavior. Can we change our natural and unconscious patterns of behavior? Would awareness of these patterns with our partner be enough to avert an inevitable break-up?

5. Do you think you could hire someone by ‘thin-slicing’ the candidate during a brief interview? Or do you think this would only work for certain kinds of jobs or perhaps, only certain kinds of people?

6. The psychologist, Samuel Gosling, shows how ‘thin-slicing’ can be used to judge people’s personality when he uses the dorm room observers. Visualize your bedroom right now. What does it say about you?

7. If scrolling through someone’s iPod or scanning their bookshelf can tell us more about that individual, what other kinds of ‘thin-slicing’ exercises could reveal aspects of their personality?

7. CONCLUSION: LISTENING WITH YOUR EYES

1. Just as the National Symphony Orchestra were shocked to find their newly employed horn player was a female, buy cialis do you think that even as far as we’ve come with issue of race and gender equality, we still judge with our eyes and ears rather than our instinct? Are our interpretations of events, people, issues etc filtered through our internal ideologies and beliefs? Do you agree that perception is reality? And with this in mind, could improving our powers of rapid cognition ultimately change our reality?

6. SEVEN SECONDS IN THE BRONX

1. The Diallo shooting is an example of a mind-reading failure. It reveals a grey area of human cognition; the middle ground between deliberate and accidental. Do you think the shooting was more deliberate or accidental?

The Naked Face:

2. Mind-reading failures lie at the root of countless arguments, here
misunderstandings, and hurt feelings. Often, people make excuses for a sarcastic or hurtful remark as “just joking.” But if there is no clear-cut line between deliberate and accidental do you agree, “There is always truth in jest?” Do you think when we misread others and get irritated we are in fact only recognizing something in that person that we don’t like about ourselves?

3. Eckman and Friesens’ work of decoding facial expressions reveals that the information on our face is not just a signal of what’s going on inside our mind but it is what is going on inside our mind. But what about politicians or celebrities and other figures constantly in the public eye? Do you believe they are always feeling their expressions or are they just camera-savvy posers who defy Eckman and Friesens’ expression theory? How about extremely stoic individuals? Do they have diminished emotions in keeping with their limited expressions? Have you ever been ‘two-faced’ or watched someone else speak badly about another individual only to then turn around and greet them with a warm, gushy hello? Is that ‘friendly’ expression false or an attempt to make amends?

A Man, a Woman, and a Light Switch:

4. Autistic patients read their environment literally. They do not, like us, seem to watch people’s eyes when they are talking to pick up on all those expressive nuances that Eckman has so carefully catalogued. What do you make of individuals who avoid eye contact during conversation? How do you think this affects their ability to understand or interpret the speaker? Could this explain how lying is often signaled by averted eye-contact?

5. Have you ever experienced a ‘mind-blind’ moment? A moment where conditions were so stressful or confusing, your actions seemed to be the result of temporary autism? If ‘mind-blindness’ occurs at extreme points of arousal, could this explain why people ‘lose their heads’ in the heat of the moment and say something they don’t mean or cheat on spouses etc?

6. We always wonder how some individuals react to situations that make them heroes like the fireman who ran into the burning building or the ER doctor who operated in the nick of time. Do you think that what separates the ‘men from the ‘ is this ability to control or master one’s reactions in moments of extreme stress and arousal?

7. Is this skill accessible? Are you intrigued to practice and believe it is something you could improve?

3. THE WARREN HARDING ERROR

1. The Warren Harding error reveals the dark-side of ‘thin-slicing’–when our instincts betray us and our rapid cognition goes awry. Looking at the example of that 1920 presidency, here can we say that this type of error is happening today in political elections? Do you think this explains why there has never been a black or female president?

2. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) shows that our unconscious attitudes may be utterly incompatible with our stated conscious values. So like car salesmen who unconsciously discriminate against certain groups of potential customers or businesses that appear to favor tall men for CEOs, order do you find it plausible that we are not accountable for these actions because they are a result of social influences as opposed to personal beliefs?

3. Do you buy the argument that we are completely oblivious to our unconsciously motivated behavior (like the disturbing IAT results that show 80% of test-takers have pro-white associations?) Is this just a convenient excuse to justify our biases?
CHAPTER EIGHT: Conclusion

36. What underlies successful epidemics, health in the end, is a bedrock belief that change is possible, cure that people can radically transform their behavior or beliefs in the face of the right kind of impetus. Can leopards really change their spots and do you agree that it only takes the smallest infractions to cause the greatest changes? With the slightest push in the right place, physician can the world around us be tipped?

CHAPTER SEVEN: Case Study: Suicide, here Smoking and the Search for the Unsticky Cigarette

31. The epidemics of suicide and smoking are complex and largely unconscious contagions with far more subtle undercurrents at work. One explanation beyond rationale is that as humans we get permission to act by seeing others engage in deviant acts. When we engage in dangerous or reckless behavior of any kind, how much of our decision to do so is conscious versus unintentional?

32. Are you a smoker or have you ever been? What do you think makes some people pick up the habit while others steer clear of it their whole lives?

33. What are your opinions on the nature vs. nurture debate? Do you agree that environment plays a bigger role in shaping and influence children than genetics and personality?

34. “Telling teenagers about the health risks of smoking — it will make you wrinkled! It will make you impotent! It will make you dead! — is useless,” says Judith Harris. Is this morally incomprehensible advice or the sad truth? What do you think about the psychologist David Rowe’s theory that “the role of parents is a passive — providing a set of genes at loci relevant to smoking risk, but not socially influencing their offspring?” Should parents spend more time trying to monitor and shape their children’s peer group than correcting and disciplining them in the home?

35. Do you agree that instead of fighting experimentation, which is a natural and unavoidable fate of growing up, we should be rather focusing on diminishing the consequences of that experimentation? For example instead of forbidding your child from consuming alcohol when he goes out or proselytizing about the dangers of under-age drinking, should parents rather ensure there is a sober, designated driver at one of their parties? What other examples can you come up with based in this approach.

CHAPTER SIX: Case Study: Rumors, prostate Sneakers and the Power of Translation

28. Do you believe that it was essentially the ‘cool’ marketing campaign that tipped the Airwalk trend? Can you think of other more current products that have exploded onto the market with an equally impressive advertising assault? Would Apple computers and the iPod phenomenon, ed for example, be as popular if it didn’t have it’s signature marketing campaign?

29. All kinds of high-tech products fail, never making it beyond the Early Adopters, because companies fail to transform an idea that makes perfect sense to an Early Adopter to one that makes perfect sense to a member of the Early Majority. Do you know of any examples of products or ideas that looked like they had great potential but never seemed to make it to the mainstream?

30. How do weird, idiosyncratic things that really cool kids do end up in the mainstream? They are translated from a highly specialized world into a language the rest of us can understand. So, when we judge things as being weird and idiosyncratic are we really saying that we just don’t understand it? It’s not the product but our interpretation of it that is limited? Could everything, if ‘sugarcoated’ in a way we recognize, ultimately, become palatable and even enjoyable?

CHAPTER FIVE: The Power of Context (Part Two)

25. The Ya-Ya Sisterhood epidemic reveals the critical role that groups play in social epidemics. Psychologists tell us much the same thing: that when people are asked to consider evidence or make decisions in a group, generic they come to very different conclusions than when they are asked the same questions by themselves. Can we ever really make a decision in a vacuum, search solely based on our own feelings, or do our peers or surroundings always influence us somehow?

26. The Rule of 150 suggests that the size of the group is another one of those subtle contextual factors that can make a big difference. Groups under the size of 150 are more effective as they can exploit the bonds of memory and peer pressure. Is there a particular group or organization that you consider successful and if so, what do you think makes them so effective?

27. If peer pressure is more powerful than the concept of a boss would you work harder for a boss whom you are friendly with because you care more what they think?

CHAPTER FOUR: The Power of Context (Part One)

17. Is Bernie Goetz a cold-blooded murderer or a heroic vigilante?

18. The Power of context infers that epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur. Are certain individuals more sensitive to their environment than others? Think of examples of behavior as a function of social context. How often or to what extent does the environment dictate your behavior i.e. your conduct when at the opera versus being at a baseball game?

19. The Broken Windows Theory argues that crime is the inevitable result of disorder. It suggests that crime is contagious. Do you agree or do you think this risks excusing a criminal’s culpability?

20. Most conservative theories say that the criminal is a personality type whereas the Broken Windows theory and Power of Context suggest the opposite — the criminal is actually someone acutely sensitive to his environment and who is prompted to commit crimes based on his perceptions of the world around him. Which theory do you believe?

21. With the subway example, sick the problem of farebeating snowballed because people joined in after watching others do it. Are humans instinctively conformists who mimic the behavior they see around them?

22. The experiment led by Zimbardo, physician where they looked at why prisons are such nasty places, cure they showed that specific situations are so powerful that they overwhelm our inherent predispositions. If we improved the living conditions in prisons, do you believe it could impact on inmates’ behavior?

23. How does one explain certain exceptional figures like Gandhi and Mandela who were subject to the most brutal and atrocious conditions yet immerged seemingly uncorrupted?

24. The essence of the Power of Context is that our inner states are the result of our outer circumstances. But then, how does this work with or against the idea that our inner states ultimately create our outer world — that perception is reality or that if we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change?

CHAPTER THREE: The Stickiness Factor

12. Sesame Street was an example of how an agent of infection (television) was able to infect a positive virus (literacy). What are some other examples of sticky messages that aren’t as beneficial in culture?

13. What makes a message memorable? What about the commercial we dislike and we only recall because it irritated us so intensely? Haven’t the advertisers fulfilled their purpose by the sheer fact you remember their commercial? Does this mean that the cliché “even bad publicity is good publicity” is right? If something gets noticed and sticks in the viewer’s mind then does the nature of the message not matter?

14. We have become, sovaldi in our society, overwhelmed by people clamoring for our attention. This information age has created a stickiness problem. Has the excessive amount of choice proved counter-productive for American consumerism? For instance, walking down the cereal aisle at the supermarket do you:

A) Buy way more than you need after spotting 3 new attractive, discounted products.

B) Head straight to your regular brand, walking out with the same cereal you have had since you were a kid.

C) Become paralyzed with indecision and leave after 2 hours with a loaf of bread?

15. What are some of the desperate measures taken by advertisers, publicists and celebrities to get noticed and stay in the limelight? How has the level of shock tactics used to grab public attention escalated and changed over time? Do we risk become totally desensitized as a culture, immune to the eyebrow-raising, attention-grabbing ploys of marketers?

16. Do you think that children’s television shows like Sesame Street and Blues Clues are more educational and ‘stickier’ than books?

The Stickiness Factor

12. Sesame Street was an example of how an agent of infection (television) was able to infect a positive virus (literacy). What are some other examples of sticky messages that aren’t as beneficial in culture?

13. What makes a message memorable? What about the commercial we dislike and we only recall because it irritated us so intensely? Haven’t the advertisers fulfilled their purpose by the sheer fact you remember their commercial? Does this mean that the cliché “even bad publicity is good publicity” is right? If something gets noticed and sticks in the viewer’s mind then does the nature of the message not matter?

14. We have become, physician in our society, overwhelmed by people clamoring for our attention. This information age has created a stickiness problem. Has the excessive amount of choice proved counter-productive for American consumerism? For instance, walking down the cereal aisle at the supermarket do you:

A) Buy way more than you need after spotting 3 new attractive, discounted products.

B) Head straight to your regular brand, walking out with the same cereal you have had since you were a kid.

C) Become paralyzed with indecision and leave after 2 hours with a loaf of bread?

15. What are some of the desperate measures taken by advertisers, publicists and celebrities to get noticed and stay in the limelight? How has the level of shock tactics used to grab public attention escalated and changed over time? Do we risk become totally desensitized as a culture, immune to the eyebrow-raising, attention-grabbing ploys of marketers?

16. Do you think that children’s television shows like Sesame Street and Blues Clues are more educational and ‘stickier’ than books?

CHAPTER TWO: The Law of the Few

6. Would you rather see a film, diagnosis eat at a restaurant or shop at a store on hearing from a friend that it’s good or do you prefer to go in ‘blind’ with no expectations? Is the word-of-mouth phenomenon a strictly organic process or can it be manipulated? By this, capsule I mean, clinic do products circulate via word-of-mouth solely based on their merit and impact on the consumer or is it possible for marketers to create buzz from people paid to do so? Would this work or would this fail as soon as the ‘word’ got beyond the ‘fixed’ transmitters?

7. Connectors — the kinds of people who know everyone and possess special gifts for bringing the world together. What kind of careers and job titles would you expect Connectors to have? Connectors are defined by having many acquaintances, a sign of social power, but do you think a Connector privileges quantity over quality? How do Connectors embody the maxim “it’s not what you know but who you know?”

8. Maven — means one who accumulates knowledge and who has information on a lot of different products or prices or places. Could anyone be a maven if they just have the diligence and desire to learn a specific craft or area of knowledge?

9. Salesmen — are the select group of people with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing. Discuss what you think makes a good salesman? Think about the last time you were in a store and what you liked or didn’t like about the retail person assisting you? Have you ever felt suckered into buying something or recognized the only reason you bought an item (or even one in ever color) was because of the person selling it to you?

10. What happens when two people talk? They engage in a kind of dance. Their volume and pitch fall into balance and they fall into physical and conversational harmony? So, when we ‘click’ with someone, is this harmony immediately established without effort or can it be created and fine-tuned with practice or over time? Is it this synchronicity that leads to attraction? Does the way people ‘dance’ with each other indicate the presence of chemistry?

11. What would you describe yourself as — a connecter, maven or salesman? Think of the people you know and who out of them best exemplifies these categories and why.

INTRODUCTION
1. The Tipping Point is that magic moment when an idea, ed trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. At what point does it become obvious that something has reached a boiling point and is about to tip?
2. The possibility of sudden change is at the center of the idea of the Tipping Point — big changes occurring as a result of small events. If we agree that we are all, case at heart, gradualists, our expectations set by the steady passage of time, is it reassuring to think that we can predict radical change by pinning their tipping points? Can we really ensure that the unexpected becomes the expected?

Oct. 1, case 2013 is the publication date of Malcolm Gladwell’s fifth book: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants.

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Date:
October 1, 2013