Re-read Saturday


Tipping Point

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Re-read Week 4 – Chapter 3: The Stickiness Factor

Chapter Three of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point is a reminder of why this book continues to be important and useful. The density of ideas in this chapter is amazing. Stop borrowing your best friends copy and buy a copy of the book for yourself!  

Chapter Two, The Law of the Few, describes the role of people in passing messages along.  Chapter Three tackles stickiness. Stickiness is the attribute that determines whether a message is heard and internalized. Messages that are heard and internalized stand a chance to be acted upon. In this chapter, Gladwell uses Sesame Street and Blues Clues as the vehicle to discuss how messages can be packaged to make them sticky.   (more…)

Tipping Point

Today we begin our re-read of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.  My wife and I originally read the book in the early 00s.  We will be reading from is the paperback version published in 2002 by Back Bay Books (15th printing).  The book has an introduction, 8 chapters, an afterword (the 2002 version had a new afterword), endnotes and an index for a total of 302 pages. Dust off your copy or buy a new copy — I think I loaned my original copy to someone five years ago and I suspect it is not coming back.  I am reading my wife’s copy. (more…)


I have been vacillating between an intense discussion of Bad Blood and a terse and blunt statement about Theranos.  In the end, I took a middle path. If you want to dive into the detail again, grab the book and the follow our re-read through it.  If you want the later,  the bottom line is — sleazy company, bad board and sociopathic people at the top.  Now the middle path. (more…)

I decided to complete the content portion of the re-read this week.   From a team-level perspective, I believe we can all recognize some if not all of the behaviors seen in Bad Blood, albeit on a far less sociopathic scale. If this were a business novel, it would be easy to assume that the behavior shown in the book is hyperbole used to make a grand point.  In Theranos’s case, the supporting reading I have done suggests the book is somewhat understated. Why do people take the abuse? Why is money the only thing that matters to some? Why do some people say yes to doing work they know is ethically wrong? I am not sure this book answers those questions nor do I think my analysis can shed light on the psychological rationale of individuals; however, next week we will wrap up our re-read by reflecting on the impact of Theranos like behavior at the team level.  Remember that we will re-read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell next (get a copy soon). (more…)

My intent is to complete our re-read of Bad Blood, Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup in three more weeks.  The book has 24 chapters and an epilogue, therefore there will be two more weeks on the book and then a wrap-up.  We will re-read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell next. This week we tackle three more chapters in which we learn money is thicker than blood (something I learned working in a department store during college), and that people with a moral basis for ethics always have a breaking point (something I have only had to tangentially face).
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We are re-reading Bad Blood, Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2018 – Buy a copy and read along). This week we move through three chapters. These three chapters continue to show the same pattern of abuse of the truth and employees that we have seen in other chapters. Arguably, conflating Theranos’s mission with a religion (chapter 14 – below) might take the story to a new level of crazy but it is only that, a new level.  

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We are re-reading Bad Blood, Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2018 – Buy a copy and read along). This week we tackle two related chapters.  Over the course of the book to date, we have seen secrets and lies (hence the title), intellectual theft, poor diagnostics and careers being destroyed.  This week we add a suicide to the hot mess that is Theranos. (more…)

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