Friday, December 09, 2005

Two Degrees of Rod Steiger

Have you ever played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? Well, if you have, it seems you've been wasting your time. According to Malcolm Gladwell in his new book The Tipping Point, Kevin Bacon's "connectedness" to other actors is actually very low in comparison to some older screen veterans. In fact, in a study of nearly a quarter million actors and actresses, Bacon ranks only 669th in terms of his connectability. Martin Sheen, by contrast, ranks 19th. Other high rankers include Robert Mitchum, Donald Sutherland, and Gene Hackman. But the overall winner? Actor Rod Steiger. He connects to everyone else in well under three steps. (The book, unfortunately, didn't give his exact number. But Gladwell does mention that you can do Elliot Gould in 2.63601 steps.)

Steiger and others like him, Gladwell argues, are social "connectors"--"People whom all of us can reach in only a few steps because, for one reason or another, they manage to occupy many different worlds and subcultures and niches." Think only famous people are connectors? Think again. In fact, you may be a connector youself. You can find out by taking the test in Chapter One. I highly recommend this book--it's fascinating.

1 comment:

shannon said...

I read this a while ago and it was a great book!