In the seventh chapter of Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, readers are first introduced to a case study about increased rates of suicide of teen boys in Micronesia. Gladwell explains that suicide in Micronesia is common and it is triggered by the slightest things. Almost all of the suicides are males that are in their late teens and living at home. Usually, these teens are triggered by arguments with their girlfriends or parents. Gladwell then tells readers that teen suicide is a fatal epidemic in Micronesia that is related to another fatal epidemic: teen smoking in the West. Nobody really understands how to fight teen smoking. He also claims that teen smoking is self-destructive experimentation but, unlike suicide, it can be changed. Once someone commits suicide there is no reverse button. If someone becomes addicted to smoking, however, there is a possibility they can recover. The two epidemics of teen suicide and teen smoking are ways that Gladwell connects real-life events to the three laws of creating epidemics. Both epidemics seem to relate in many ways, but there are also ways that these studies are completely different.
The smoking epidemic and suicide epidemic are Gladwell’s examples of The Law of the Few. Both of these epidemics are drastically impacted by Salesmen. For the smoking epidemic, salesmen introduce cigarettes to teenagers. There is a moment when young people are vulnerable to self-destruction because they just want to fit in. This is when the salesmen attract the teenager and make it seem “cool” to smoke. For the suicide epidemic in Micronesia, all it took was one person, the salesmen, to commit suicide, then everyone thought they could do it too. Gladwell says,...
... middle of paper ...
... at all, but rather a mental disorder. Wolfe believes that nobody can influence a person to commit suicide; it is the individual that makes the decision for himself, unlike the smoking epidemic.
Although Gladwell makes a convincing argument, his examples are two different ideas. The smoking epidemic is a good way of showing how the all three laws of epidemics are used. Smoking uses salesmen to attract the teenagers and when they are attracted, the smoking begins to stick. Gladwell also says that people are more influenced by the groups they are around rather than one person. When Gladwell begins comparing the two epidemics, there becomes discrepancies. Suicide is more of a mental issue, while smoking is more influenced by the salesmen and groups they are surrounded by. Gladwell makes good claims, but the two cannot be compared because there are many differences.
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