About Jonah Berger

Short Bio

Jonah Berger Headshot lgJonah Berger is the James G. Campbell Associate Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has published dozens of articles in top-tier academic journals, and popular accounts of his work have appeared in places like The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Science, Harvard Business Review, Wired, BusinessWeek, and Fast Company. His research has also been featured in The New York Times Magazine’s annual “Year in Ideas” issue. Berger has been recognized with awards for both scholarship and teaching, including being named Wharton’s “Iron Prof.” At Wharton, he teaches an elective called Contagious: How Products, Behaviors, and Ideas Catch On. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Longer Bio

What makes ideas viral and products spread contagiously? Professor Jonah Berger studies social epidemics, or how products, ideas, and behaviors catch on and become popular. He examines how individual decision making and social dynamics (e.g., social influence) between people generate collective outcomes such as social contagion and trends. Most recently, Professor Berger has examined why certain products get more word-of-mouth than others and why certain online content goes viral.

Jonah Berger is the James G. Campbell Jr. Associate Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He studies social influence and social epidemics, or how products, ideas, and behaviors catch on and become popular. His research has been published in top-tier academic journals, and popular accounts of his work have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Science, Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Wired, Business Week, The Atlantic, and The Economist. 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, including the Iron Professor Teaching Award and the MBA Curricular Innovation Award from the Wharton School. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

About Contagious

What makes things popular? 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?

Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions. 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. Contagious combines groundbreaking research with powerful stories. 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 seemingly 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. The book also 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.