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''The Tipping Point'' Selected as Common Book

Quick Facts

 The fall 2006 Common Book will be Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point."
 A former Washington Post reporter, Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker.

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University freshmen will read "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell as they prepare to start school in August. 

The book was announced Friday, Jan. 27, at the university’s Faculty Conference meeting. The selection marks the third year of the Common Book Project sponsored by University College.

"The Tipping Point" is that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product or a drop in the crime rate.

Gladwell was a reporter for the Washington Post from 1987-1996, working first as a science writer and then as the New York City bureau chief. Since 1996, he has been a staff writer for The New Yorker.

A 24-member Winthrop committee chaired by Ginger Williams, associate professor of history, made the selection. Other committee members included faculty, staff, students, and a representative from the York County Public Library.

Williams said "The Tipping Point" shows how powerful we are as humans. “We can never know the impact that small changes make,” she said. “It’s not a bad thing for our freshmen to think that the small things they do can amount to something big.

Committee members believe "The Tipping Point" will lend itself well to the various academic disciplines due to its exploration of a range of illustrative cases. It also may be used in Orientation, freshman classes and the residential learning communities.

The Common Book Project is one of many programs designed to integrate Winthrop students into the university environment and provide a common academic experience. Incoming freshmen receive information about the book at Orientation and read the book during the summer. Reading the book is a shared experience that connects freshmen with other members of the university.

University College administrators will spend this spring on programming for the book. In addition, public art about the book will be installed this summer on the campus.

For more information, call University College at 803/323-3900.

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