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About the book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On”

“Contagious: Why Things Catch On” is a book written by Jonah Berger about how ideas, products, and behaviors spread through social and cultural networks. The author presents a comprehensive and systematic analysis of why some things become popular and others don’t, and he provides a framework for understanding the mechanics of social influence and contagiousness.

Parts of the book

The book is divided into six parts, each of which presents a different aspect of the contagiousness of ideas and products. Here is a summary of each part:

Part 1: Introduction

In this chapter, the author explains the purpose and context of the book, and introduces the concept of contagiousness.

Part 2: Social Influence

In this part, the author explains how social influence works, and how our everyday interactions with others shape our opinions, attitudes, and behaviors. He also explores the effects of social proof, which is the tendency to conform to the behavior of others.

Part 3: Triggers

This part explores triggers, which are the things that prompt people to think about a certain idea, product, or behavior. The author argues that the key to creating a contagious idea or product is to identify the right triggers that will make people think and talk about it.

Part 4: Emotion

In this part, the author explores the role of emotion in contagiousness. He argues that people are more likely to share and talk about ideas and products that evoke strong emotions, such as excitement, awe, and anger.

Part 5: Public

This part explores the role of public visibility in contagiousness. The author argues that people are more likely to adopt behaviors and ideas that are visible to others and that they believe are widely accepted.

Part 6: Practical Applications

In this part, the author provides concrete strategies for creating and promoting contagious ideas and products, based on the principles presented in the earlier chapters.

Case studies and examples

The book presents numerous case studies and examples to illustrate the principles and concepts presented in each chapter. Some of the examples presented in the book include:

– The “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” that went viral in 2014

– The success of the “Will It Blend?” campaign by Blendtec

– The popularity of the Groupon website

– The success of the “Energizer Bunny” advertising campaign

– The rise of the “Farmville” online game

Key strengths of the book

One of the key strengths of the book is the author’s use of real-world examples to illustrate the concepts presented in each chapter. The author’s writing is clear and accessible, and he makes the concepts easy to understand and apply. The practical applications section at the end of the book is particularly useful, as it provides concrete strategies that anyone can use to create and promote contagious ideas and products.

Another strength of the book is the author’s emphasis on the importance of context and timing in the spread of ideas and products. The book makes clear that the success of a contagious idea or product depends not only on its inherent characteristics, but also on the social and cultural context in which it is introduced, and the timing of its introduction.

One drawback of the book is that some readers may find the examples and case studies presented in the book somewhat skewed towards marketing and advertising. While the principles presented in the book are applicable to a wide range of fields and industries, the author’s focus on marketing and advertising may limit the appeal of the book to readers outside these fields.

In conclusion

In conclusion, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to understand how and why ideas and products spread through social and cultural networks. The book presents a comprehensive and systematic analysis of the factors that contribute to contagiousness, and provides practical strategies for creating and promoting contagious ideas and products. While the book’s focus on marketing and advertising may limit its appeal to readers outside these fields, the principles presented in the book are applicable to anyone who wants to understand the mechanics of social influence and the spread of ideas and products.