Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

What makes things popular? If you said advertising, think again.

Synopsis -

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.

Review - 

As a published author, how to sell books has been such a long, winding and confusing journey. If I am there in person, I can sell them hand over fist. Put them on a shelf in a store without me and they languish. I was really excited to read this book and see what it had to offer. I wasn't disappointed. 

Right at the start it talked about how important creating word of mouth was for an idea or product to go viral. There were several examples included as well as as statistics and the science behind what was happening which I appreciate.  Word of mouth outstrips traditional advertising, but the door is open.  Whether you use speaking engagements, media opportunities, face-to-face, social media, or even traditional advertising - the goal is to create a buzz.  You must be thoughtful, purposeful and more than anything - interesting. No matter what path you take, if what you present isn't worthy of people re-sharing and passing on, you're wasting your time. 

I am in the process of rethinking my strategies.  One I had let slip by the wayside has come forward again as it is unique and "buzz-worthy." It is a proven attention getter. Time to charge it up again as well as develop some new ones. Others can be let go as boring and expected. How I spend my time on promoting my books will definitely be changing. 

A great read that is easy to understand. 

Meet the Author - 

Jonah Berger is a Professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an internationally bestselling author, and a world-renowned expert on word of mouth, social influence, consumer behavior, and how products, ideas, and behaviors catch on. He has published dozens of articles in top‐tier academic journals, teaches Wharton’s highest rated online course, and popular accounts of his work often appear in places like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review. Over a million copies of his books, Contagious, Invisible Influence, and The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind are in print in over 35 countries around the world.

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