Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Don't Throw Out the Hush Puppies! Read the Tipping Point and find out why!

Guarded by the book fairy statue, my reading spot is nestled in the shade of a hazelnut tree with the water of the bubbling mill race percolating in the background. Swinging gentle on the garden swing, I just finished my summer book today,
"The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference" by Malcolm Gladwell,
just in the nick of time, I still have the Hush Puppies!
They are not the Hush Puppies I wore in elementary school, they belonged to John's late mother. She had an amazing collection of shoes. I loved her shoes in the Hush Puppy box, and asked if I could have them. She wore a size 6 1/2 and I wear a 9, and sometimes a large 8. No matter how hard I try, I can't squeeze my foot into them. My friend who I thought could use them has an extra wide foot, they don't fit her either.
I remember the grey suede lace up Hush Puppies I wore in the 1960's to elementary school. They were not pretty but did come with a cute shoe brush with stiff metal bristles. They were practical and went along with my simple wardrobe including my grey wool skirt, which I loved. Girls only wore dresses, jumpers and skirts at Kamala Elementary school in Oxnard, California in the 60's. Pants and shorts were never worn to school. We changed into our play clothes when we got home from school, which were usually pants or shorts or an old dress. I walked to school like so many children did in Oxnard, it was only a few blocks away and on the same street that I lived on. My address was 1212 West Kamala Street.
Today I like to use the numbers 1212 as my lucky numbers.
My family even had a basset hound like the one on the Hush Puppy box. Her name was Bridget, she was brown and white. When we moved from the city of Oxnard to the country in San Luis Obispo, Bridget and the rest of us suddenly had a new found freedom. My brother Dane and I got our first horse, Big John and my mother purchased chicks which grew up and taught us where eggs come from. Dane was blamed for Bridgett chasing a killing sheep. Dane was blamed for everything that went wrong, so I'm still not sure if it was his fault, either way, Bridget had to go to a new home where there was no livestock to chase.
Gladwell defines a tipping point as "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point." The book seeks to explain and describe the "mysterious" sociological changes that mark everyday life. As Gladwell states, "Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do." The examples of such changes in his book include the rise in popularity and sales of Hush Puppies shoes in the mid-1990s and the steep drop in the New York City crime rate after 1990.
It was a fun book to read. The value of the box of Hush Puppy shoes in my bedroom went up from the pile to be donated to the thrift store to,
"Maybe I could sell these on E-Bay."
The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea,trend,or social behavior crosses a threshold and tips into huge influence or popularity. Trends like Sesame Street, teenage smoking, crime, epidemics and much more are discussed in this book.
When I was child I remember my dad, Doug Conklin talking about words that become popular and trying to come up with a word that would catch on.
The words, cool, neat, rad etc. all have their tipping points from ordinary words to extraordinary.
I don't think any of my dads words took off, I can't even remember what they were.
Many people want fame, fortune and recognition. How does that happen for some and not for others? Well, it seems you need: Salesmen, Maverns and Connectors. These are people with distinct personality traits that make things happen.
The Tipping Point discusses these phenomena in great detail.


  1. Glad you enjoyed the book! Well written post! Keep the hush puppies!!!!

    1. Thanks for loaning me the book, I really enjoyed it. I'll give it back to you the next time I see you. I guess I have to keep the Hush Puppies now that I understand them better. The Hush Puppy shoe box is cute!

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  3. After reading that book, I find myself identifying mavens, salesmen, and connectors in my life all the time.

    1. That book has caused me to to do the same Abe.