Contagious: Why Things Catch On
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.
“An easy, breezy read, peppered with absorbing examples…If there was a “like” button underneath it, you’d probably find yourself clicking it.” –Financial Times
“Entertaining, illustrative examples in the vein of Malcolm Gladwell or Freakonomics.” –Kirkus
“Contagious provides…interesting insights into factors that can help make an idea, a video, a commercial or a product become infectious” –New York Times
“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.” –Publishers Weekly
“Contagious contains arresting — and counterintuitive — facts and insights.” –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” –The Christian Science Monitor
“Contagious explains secret behind infectious ideas” –USA Today
“A playbook for marketers” –Fast Company Unassigned
Translations of Contagious