Tuesday, June 4, 2013


As soon as I saw the title Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger, I knew I wanted to read it.  There are plenty of times I wonder how and why certain items become popular while others flop. 

Berger's writing reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell's and there are plenty of awesome points and anecdotes he includes that make this entertaining reading and not dull, boring and dry. 

Six factors affect what causes certain things to become popular: social currency, triggers, emotions, public, practical and stories.  Berger spends a chapter explaining and giving examples of each.  And, although much of this seemed rather like common sense, the way in which Berger is able to explain and give examples backs up the vast research he has done on this topic.

I have no doubt that people in business will find more practical applications for Berger's research, yet I still was totally entertained by Contagious.  From the story of Rebecca Black and her youtube video, Friday, which became a viral sensation to the popularity of certain names, Berger finds a way for his research to connect with things that everyone can relate to or has heard of.

Contagious is the type of book that could appeal to any reader, and book clubs could even find plenty of discussion topics to talk over.  Anyone looking for a great non-fiction read should put Contagious at the top of their list.

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