The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
Trends, social change, crime, marketing, suicide--they're all epidemics. They all begin with something seemingly insignificant and rise (or shrink) exponentially until they "tip." Kind of like water reaching the boiling point. The concept of a social epidemic makes a lot of sense to me. Christianity would not have caught on except for some contagious behavior by a few people. Groups form around ideas because of the contagious behavior of cool, connected people. Look at the Crocs trend if you don't believe me. A few beach bums wore them on the West Coast and now suddenly everyone and their sister has a pair.
Gladwell talks about the people who effect these changes: Mavens, Connectors, and Salesmen. He talks about Stickiness--how to get your message to stick in people's minds and behavior. He talks about Context--people do or don't do things based mostly around what their environment looks like, not rationality.
Fascinating book and well worth the read. I'm still marinating on it but here's the thing: it's true. Like Johnny Cash sings the truth. Like you feel at the end of Life is Beautiful. I completely resonate with Gladwell's points, and I can't help thinking how to leverage them into my ministry.