I had heard of the 80/20 principle but did not know it applied to so many things. This is the idea economists refer to when they say that 20 percent of a workforce does 80 percent of the workload. Or as Gladwell extended it: 80 percent of crimes are committed by 20 percent of the criminal element, 20 percent of motorists cause 80 percent of accidents, 20 percent of people consume 80 percent of all beer. (Gladwell, 48)
Speaking of people who do all the work...old Paul Revere had a helper...someone who rode the other direction and covered the same amount of territory to tell people the British were coming. William Dawes, however was not as charismatic and his word of mouth epidemic did not spread. Why was Paul Revere so incredibly successful with mobilizing the revolutionaries while William Dawes mobilized no one? What makes a person charismatic? How do word of mouth epidemics get started? How does something like "Silly Bands" (animal shaped rubber bands) become a huge business? Gladwell will entertain you as he explains the science of epidemiology of social fads as well as medical epidemics.