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In the last month or

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 27, 2000

In the last month or so, I’ve read two books: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference* and Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything. As I was reading them, I noticed that the style in which the books were written was influenced by the subject matter.

In The Tipping Point, Gladwell talks about “stickiness” being one of the factors in how mere trends become epidemics. One of the ways in which that stickiness can be achieved is through repetition….and he uses that to his advantage in telling us about Tipping Points. The same themes pop up repeatedly in the book, and examples introduced early in the book are reiterated to prove later points.

Gladwell also talks about Salesmen being one of the three groups of people that aid the spread of epidemics. Gladwell’s writing style struck me as Salesmen-like at times: conversational, upbeat; I felt as though I was being sold an idea. I guess it worked, I bought it.

In the same way, Gleick writes about our quickening modern world in Faster and paces his writing accordingly. Thirty-seven chapters comprise the book, none but a couple over ten pages long. He uses short, quick sentences composed of small words. Nothing for the reader to stumble over, just keep reading, Mack. Reading Faster, I felt rushed, even anxious. It wasn’t a relaxing read at all, perhaps a conscious effort on Gleick’s part to drive his point home.

*I loved the Tipping Point and have quite a bit more to say about it, but hopefully that discussion will happen elsewhere very soon. In the meantime, I’ll highly recommend the book to you.