The Tipping Point – names

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell has a discussion of the Connectors, people who know everyone. To determine who would fit on the list a number of names were chosen randomly from the New York City phone book. Then folks were asked how many people with this last name they knew who would also know them. The “know” only meant could identify the name when seeing the person.

After typing out the list of names in the book to find out how many average people know, I thought that there is a disparity in the names and the general population. I thought so when I first read the list and I think so even more now.

There are way too many Jewish names for the percentage of Jews in the average town in Texas. Shoot, any town in Texas.

And that, I think, would make those taking this test in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut have higher numbers than those down here. When I was in high school I went to school with Cohns and Cohens and Feinsteins and Weinsteins and Levines. I wouldn’t think one of those names would come up in my church directory now. (Larger population size in the church.) Let’s look. Nope. Not a one.

Just for giggles, in the area phone book there are
3 Cohen
4 Cohn
1 Feinstein
1 Levine
1 Weinstein

In contrast, there are
53 Gomez
120+ Clark
120+ Garcia

0 Moy
0 Guglielmo

Just a thought, but it may be that you would do better on this list if you were in the city from which the list was taken. (In this case, NYC.)