hairylunch (hairylunch) wrote,

Book update (Tipping Point and Kavalier & Clay)

I probably read the Tipping Point 6 weeks or so ago. The quick summary is that it looks at change and compares it to epidemiology. No matter what you may believe of Gladwell, his examples are fascinating, ranging from Sesame Street and Blues Clues, to marketing for Airwalk, to the smoking studies he uses as examples (which look at the link between smoking and depression). Also, he uses Stanley Milgram as an example. Milgram is probably most famous for his obedience experiment (which is fascinating in and of itself), but in the book, Gladwell focuses upon the small world phenomenom which lead to the six degrees of separation idea. The idea Gladwell stresses is the "funneling" aspect, or that there are "connectors" who are critical in social networks. I wonder if Orkut/Friendster/MySpace would back up this theory? The wikipedia article points out a disease transmission study that suggests connectors aren't important because social networks have strong bonds, even w/o the connectors. (Writing this has made me realize how interesting Wikipedia can be as I get sucked into reading one article, and then another, and another . . . )

The second book (that I just finished a few days ago) was the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. It takes place in the years surrouding WWII, and the characters truly have some amazing adventures, with Kavalier being a Polish Jew who got out just in time, and connections to Dali, Orson Welles, an Eleanor Roosevelt. A big hook for me was that Kavalier and Clay are making their living in the then nascent comic book industry. Micheal Chabon's research is apparent, as he talks about all the Golden Age comics, with the debuts of National's Batman, Timely Periodicals' Submariner and Human Torch, Superman, the tough times the industry had during the Congressional inquiries brought on by "Seduction of the Innocent" (which has some interesting parallels to video games today). But, even w/o all the comic book connections that appeal to a geek like me, the book is a wonderful roller coaster, and left me wanting more. (And amusingly enough, Something Positive's current story line is dealing with Golden Age comics as well.)

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