Why Things Catch on

Book - 2013
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The New York Times bestseller that explains why certain products and ideas become popular.

"Jonah Berger knows more about what makes information 'go viral' than anyone in the world." --Daniel Gilbert, author of the bestseller Stumbling on Happiness

What makes things popular? If you said advertising, think again. People don't listen to advertisements, they listen to their peers. But why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?

Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions. He's studied why New York Times articles make the paper's own Most E-mailed list, why products get word of mouth, and how social influence shapes everything from the cars we buy to the clothes we wear to the names we give our children.

In Contagious , Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumors and YouTube videos. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheesesteak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the most boring products there is: a blender.

Contagious provides specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread--for designing messages, advertisements, and content that people will share. Whether you're a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2013.
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781451686579
Branch Call Number: 658.8342 BERGER J
Characteristics: viii, 244 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.


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Jul 12, 2016

Useful as an introduction to marketing. I like the fact that the strategies are based on actual research.

Nov 15, 2015

The book is well written and delves into the detail of how and why things catch on. But while I believe that the author captures well the social dynamic of how things catch on, I found myself mostly at odds with this dynamic and way of being in the world. I did appreciate some of the conclusions Berger comes to and also believe that I may be operating unconsciously with some of the traits and motivations he describes. But as a whole, Berger's description of what motivates people and how they respond to products, messages and ideas doesn't capture much of who I am or want to be.

Never the less, I found his discussion of the role of emotions in how a message gets passed on interesting. I had never before considered or contemplated the role that joy or sadness or anger play in the receptivity to a message and to the impetus they give to people passing on that message. But hearing Berger's explanation of the social research conducted so far, it makes sense to me based on my experience of the manner in which people are moved to respond to messages that evoke each of these feelings.

JCLHopeH Jul 17, 2014

Easy to read and filled with actionable principles for individuals or organizations trying to successfully share their message. I love the examples provided throughout the book.

susankent Mar 11, 2014

Learn why word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool. How to harness it? Berger breaks it down int 6 easy steps. A fast read with an excellent bibliography if you want to follow up.

Jun 09, 2013

Very well written book with useful insights. Six factors to consider in making any message effective:

Social Currency: We share things that make us look good. Blenders that crushes marbles.

Triggers: Top of mind, top of tongue. NASA's Mars rover increased the eponymous candy sales.

Emotion: When we care, we share. High arousal emotions ( excitement, awe, humor, anger , anxiety) leads to more sharing , compared to sadness and contentment.

Public: Showing in public, leads to more growth. Why anti-drug commercial may end up increasing drug abuse.

Practical Value: Usefulness can be viral.

Stories: Stores have been the vessel for centuries to convey information, moral, knowledge.

ksoles Jun 03, 2013

Jonah Berger packs his fascinating new book, "Contagious" with examples of viral campaigns, each explained using painstaking analysis into the science of social transmission. According to Berger, six essential factors contribute to contagious ideas; together they form a blueprint for creating ideas and messages that spread like wildfire.

"Social currency" means we share things that help us compare favorably to others; "triggers" are ideas that attach themselves to top of mind stories or occurrences; "emotion" boils down to caring = sharing; "public" describes the tendency for people to follow others' leads; "practical" taps into the human desire to give advice and offer tips; and "stories" act like vessels that carry brands and information.

This book offers plenty of advice to professional marketers but also clearly and interestingly explains to every reader how viral campaigns eschew overt marketing messages. They tap into consumer wants, desires and emotional needs, causing the consumer to share his/her experience. And this sharing ultimately reaches a much broader audience than any advertisement can.

May 27, 2013

May 27, 2013....had this one on my to read list for a while, and finally getting to it. First 10 pages show promise!......May 31, just finished this book, and I would say it was very thought provoking and possibly even useful. I will refer back to it in the future. Also a very easy read, although a little repetitive but I guess, that's understandable to get across some points. It's worth a gander for sure.

May 23, 2013

This is a wonderful book to learn about how to make an idea go viral.

May 16, 2013

Not all that informative. Not exactly Gladwell.

JCLKimG May 16, 2013

Great read for professionals or business book clubs about how to make your product/idea/service catch on. If you liked this, check out Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath and The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcom Gladwell.

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