Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Jonah Berger uses his Wharton education experiences and professional study findings to explain why certain ideas stick and others flop. Although Gladwell and Kahneman have broached the subject in other books I have reviewed, no one has really dissected the art of transmitting information and making certain topics trend faster than others. Yes, marketing is a whole field but understanding the psychological mechanics that make humans prefer certain conversational pieces over others is still a new field of study. What makes an idea contagious? Turns out many factors including how the exchange is framed and the triggers that are used to make you talk about the it thing.

The author  elaborates the subject of transmission and provides examples of how different brands spread their message, giving opinions on the success of their respective campaigns and goals. Using his STEPPS method, he explains how the social currency, story and emotion, amongst other dimensions, help popularize a thought and helps it go viral. The claim is that after reading the book one can understand how concepts spread and how to do it with your own products or message. In the end it is about what we are trying to convey and the emotions that provoke us to share our opinions on the subject matter. But wait, there’s more!

Berger will take you on a short and sweet ride that became on of The New York Times Bestsellers. In 200 pages you will read about how products like Apple’s iPod and Kit Kat broke through certain barriers to engage the customer and differentiate their products. Even if you are not attempting to sell or promote something, the insight in this book will teach you about how those things you already know, and some cases love. The amount of knowledge transferred is totally worth the investment. Don’t believe me, check the reviews. If you do believe me, thanks for the vote of confidence. Word of mouth is still 7x more effective than social media (only 7% communication happens there) so you reading this is a statistical fluke in the making. I’ll make sure to mention this during our next conversation.

Enjoy!

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