Synopses & Reviews
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 this book, 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.
Contagious combines groundbreaking research with powerful stories. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheese-steak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the seemingly most boring products there is: a blender. If you've wondered why certain stories get shared, e-mails get forwarded, or videos go viral, Contagious explains why, and shows how to leverage these concepts to craft contagious content. This book provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread — for designing messages, advertisements, and information 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.
"Faster-spreading than the flu are the ordinary conversations people have about products and ideas, according to this infectious treatise on viral marketing. Drawing on his own nifty research, Wharton marketing professor Berger investigates all manner of phenomena surging name brands, chic restaurants, YouTube hits, most e-mailed articles that catch on through word-of-mouth popularity. There are discernible dynamics behind the apparent chaos of trendiness, he argues: we naturally want to talk about things that seem fashionable, secretive, useful, or remarkable, that arouse our emotions, that come to mind frequently in mundane settings, and that wrap themselves in compelling stories. He applies these principles to illuminate a slew of marketing and PR conundrums, explaining why a Philadelphia restaurant prospered by charging for a cheese steak, why 'Just Say No' ads may make kids say yes, why people sometimes pay more to get a discount, and why that Budweiser commercial featuring dudes saying 'Wassup?' was a stroke of genius. Berger writes in a sprightly, charming style that deftly delineates the intersection of cognitive psychology and social behavior with an eye toward helping businesspeople and others spread their messages. The result is a useful and entertaining primer that diagnoses countless baffling pop culture epidemics. Agent: James Levine, Levine/Greenberg Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A provocative shift in focus from the technology of online transmission to the human element and a bold claim to explain 'how word of mouth and social influence work...[to] make any product or idea contagious." Kirkus Reviews
"Why do some ideas seemingly spread overnight, while others disappear? How can some products become ubiquitous, while others never gain traction? Jonah Berger knows the answers, and, with Contagious, now we do, too." Charles Duhigg, author of the bestselling The Power of Habit
"If you are seeking a bigger impact, especially with a smaller budget, you need this book." Chip Heath, co-author of Made to Stick and Decisive
"Jonah Berger knows more about what makes information 'go viral' than anyone in the world." Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University and author of Stumbling on Happiness
"Jonah Berger is as creative and thoughtful as he is spunky and playful. Looking at his research, much like studying a masterpiece in a museum, provides the observer with new insights about life and also makes one aware of the creator's ingenuity and creativity. It is hard to come up with a better example of using social science to illuminate the ordinary and extraordinary in our daily lives." Dan Ariely, James B. Duke professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University and bestselling author of Predictably Irrational
"Contagious contains arresting — and counterintuitive — facts and insights....Most interesting of all are the examples Berger cites of successful and unsuccessful marketing campaigns." The Boston Globe
"The book is just plain interesting. Berger's cases are not only topical and relevant, but his principles seem practical and are easily understood....I have a strong feeling that this book will catch on." Ben Frederick, The Christian Science Monitor
"Think of it as the practical companion to Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point." Discover
"An exegesis on how ideas really 'go viral' (hint: the internet gets too much credit) by a marketing wunderkind." Details
"For nonexperts who puzzle about the best way to make an impact in a world of social media addicts with short attention spans, it provides plenty to think about....If there were a 'like' button underneath it, you'd probably find yourself clicking it." Los Angeles Times
Why do certain products and ideas go viral? Dynamic young Wharton professor Jonah Berger draws on his research to explain the six steps that make products or ideas contagious.
Why do some products get more word of mouth than others? Why does some online content go viral? Word of mouth makes products, ideas, and behaviors catch on. It’s more influential than advertising and far more effective.
Can you create word of mouth for your product or idea? According to Berger, you can. Whether you operate a neighborhood restaurant, a corporation with hundreds of employees, or are running for a local office for the first time, the steps that can help your product or idea become viral are the same.
Contagious is filled with fascinating information drawn from Berger’s research. You will be surprised to learn, for example, just how little word of mouth is generated online versus elsewhere. Already praised by Dan Ariely and Dan Gilbert, and sold in nine countries, this book is a must-read for people who want their projects and ideas to succeed.
About the Author
Jonah Berger is the author of the New York Times bestseller Contagious: Why Things Catch On, and is the James G. Campbell Jr. Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His research has been published in top-tier academic journals, and popular accounts of his work have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Science, Harvard Business Review, and more. His research has also been featured in the New York Times Magazine’s "Year in Ideas." Berger has been recognized with a number of awards for both scholarship and teaching. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.