The Tipping Point Chapters 1-5
Theme: Humans will rarely ever change.
Quote: “The key to getting people to change their behavior“ (Gladwell 29).
Explantation: Society, as a whole, has a hard time changing their actions. Perhaps is the group mentality that comes with being a part of society, or maybe it has to do with the general attitude that society holds to the leaders of that society. The group mentality comes from a shared sense of blame on a situation, but also a shared sense of responsibility. If someone does not do something someone else will. Those people not acting in a situation do not want to “change their behavior” even if that is what is expected of them from society. The same comes from the way that a majority of society blindly follows what the leaders say to them. For the leaders, it is “key” to get the group to follow their commands, and for many in the group they are not even aware if they are doing something morally wrong. Humans will follow the group, and follow a leader. They do not wish to change their ways, because that involves work and humans are lazy. Changing takes a lot of work and a lot of dedication, and for many it is easier to just be in denial of a situation than actually try to change
The Tipping Point Chapters 6-8
Theme: Change will happen with many at once.
Quote: “If you want to bring a fundamental change in people’s belief and behavior…you need to create a community around them” (Gladwell 175).
Explantation: Humans are heavily influenced by their peers. As seen with the “broken window theory” of psychology, which states that maintaining and monitoring an area to prevent small crimes such as vandalism to create an atmosphere of order prevents further crimes from happening. Our actions are broken windows. The best way to change a person’s behavior is to surround them with people who act differently. Especially in regards to fundamental change, traits that are often considered untouched by outside society. By altering the environment around someone, a tacit responsibility to conform is instated. This is simply due to the fact that humans are, as David Brooks suggests, social animals. Similar to other animals, we follow leaders and groups to ensure survival. As the world changes, people will begin to change with the people around them. Change is difficult, but when it feels obligatory, or they observe a new “standard”, such as vandalism in the broken window theory, change will come naturally.
The Social Animal Chapters 3-9 ECQ
Theme: People always desire recognition.
Quote: “Thumos was the desire for recognition, the desire to have people recognize your existence, not only now but for all time” (Brooks 174).
Explanation: People will always want to be recognized. If that’s for their hard work, their courage, or even just existing, it makes everybody happy inside. It makes them feel appreciated, it gives them recognition. Thumos perfectly describes this phenomenon. Everybody dreams at some point for the desire to be remembered in the history books forever. To be remembered for something remarkable or even horrible. This is why in Germany they do not show a criminal’s face or their name. A person can realize that they will be remembered forever for a horrible deed because they will have their names remembered and plastered across the news. Wanting recognition is not a bad thing either. People without recognition for their work will eventually abandon it while the few that get it flourish in theirs’. People desire it, people crave it, and people love it. Thumos is a part of the human condition, and it is part of being a social animal. (Used the title of the book, yeah)
Social Animal 10-16
Theme: Nature versus nurture will always have a resounding impact on a persons life.
Quote: “Maybe it was because her upbringing was so different, or her skin color was different, or for some other reason, but she seemed more aware of the irrational, darker, and passionate side of life. One day, when she was at her most exasperated, she half-jokingly decided that she had been put on this earth to fulfill a Mission from God: to save the white man from himself” (Brooks 290).
Explanation: Everyone sees the world different, because everyone has different experiences. Perhaps it is “upbringing” or “skin color” that can make the difference in how people have outlooks or maybe it is something deeper. Nature versus nurture is a very debated topic, rightfully so, because it looks at if people’s thoughts and actions are a result of their surroundings or themselves. For some, nature is very present in their choices and actions but for others the upbringing makes all the difference. It will never fully be known which one is more correct mainly due to the fact that the environment surrounding humanity as a whole shapes humanity every second of every day. Nature cannot be the primary cause for actions, just as nurture does not answer some actions as well. There are many factors that can make people different, and these factors mess with how people view themselves in accordance to others. Just as someone can see themselves “save the white man from himself” another can see himself letting people give into the indulgences that would ultimately be the end of them. So much of how a person views themselves can be seen through how a person treats and views others. It all comes back to the idea of nature versus nurture and how this will affect someone.
The Social Animal Chapters 17-22 ECQ
Theme: intellectual genius is a product of nurture.
Quote: “The prevailing view is that geniuses are largely built, not born” (Brooks 380).
Explanation: There is nothing inherently natural about being a “genius”. The idea of being so far ahead of one’s peers has very little place in the natural world. Mozart for example, was born a relatively exemplary musician , however; at the beginning of his career Mozart’s skills were not much more impressive than most other child musicians of the same caliber. It was not until the further refinement of his craft, nurtured by his environment, that Mozart’s creation’s were works of genius. To be so far ahead of the crowd takes time. Thats not to say many geniuses have innately astounding abilities, but as children they are not geniuses…yet. The skill they need to unlock their true potential, something very few people are born with, is desire to keep going. Mozart needed to devote his entire life to his compositions; without that, he would not have excelled.