Thursday, 1 October 2009

Assignment 1: Arguments and Evidence

We as humans are very sensitive to the environment around us, whether we are conscious of this or not. In the chapter, The Power of Context (Part one), Gladwell presents Bernie Goetz to us. A seemingly 'normal' man, who was approached by four black youths and asked for $5 on a subway car. Goetz shoots at these youths and leaves one paralysed but is still hailed as a 'hero'. Crazy?

Three of these four youths were carrying screwdrivers (clearly looking for trouble) and they had all committed previous offences, so really Goetz
was cleaning up the streets, wasn't he? I mean he was clearly a normal man who had had enough of the violent crimes occurring and decided to take a stand! Wrong! Gladwell and the reader delve into Goetz's past and learn about how he was merely an accident waiting to happen. He was a class example of an emotionally unstable person - bullied as a child, abused by his father, a social misfit... It was only a matter of time before the environment around him made him 'tip'.

Reading The Tipping Point was very interesting for me. Never before have I read a book that has made me think about things so much or agree with statements I had never questioned before. The book for me was very enjoyable but at times sometimes hard to read. Gladwell presents many ideas all at once, sometimes bringing points up which had be discussed previously and this sometimes confused me.

Creating the mind maps made me understand things more and reinforced ideas that initially I had found hard to understand. I choose the Power of Context chapter to look at in more detail because for me it was the most interesting chapter. I had never thought before that crimes could be committed because of the environment around us. Splitting the chapter into different parts allowed me to focus on key points, e.g. Crime, Goetz
, etc, and mind map these into more detail.

The mind mapping allowed me to understand more of the book than would have been possible by writing screeds and screeds of linear notes. If I forgot anything while I was mind mapping the first time I could always go back and add more (even my own opinions).

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