Contagious by Jonah Berger
Why Things Catch On

67%

25 Critic Reviews

The book can’t help the reader develop a more nuanced appreciation of the mechanics of these ideas in real life operation. In short, you walk away from the book wanting more.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

New York Times bestseller

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.
 

About Jonah Berger

See more books from this Author
Jonah Berger is the author of the New York Times bestseller Contagious: Why Things Catch On, and is the James G. Campbell Jr. Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His research has been published in top-tier academic journals, and popular accounts of his work have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Science, Harvard Business Review, and more. 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. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
 
Published March 5, 2013 by Simon & Schuster. 257 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on May 08 2016
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Critic reviews for Contagious
All: 25 | Positive: 17 | Negative: 9

Kirkus

Above average
on Nov 04 2012

A provocative shift in focus from the technology of online transmission to the human element and a bold claim to explain “how word of mouth and social influence work...[and] can [be used to] make any product or idea contagious.”

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on May 20 2016

The result is a useful and entertaining primer that diagnoses countless baffling pop culture epidemics.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Feb 25 2013

...it’s too derivative and too clichéd to be genuinely interesting.

Read Full Review of Contagious: Why Things Catch On | See more reviews from NY Times

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Apr 29 2013

Drawing upon his numerous academic publications and the work of others in a variety of fields, Berger explores the essential elements of how ideas, products, and organizations become very popular very quickly—and unlike other authors, his answers don’t necessarily point to social media.

Read Full Review of Contagious: Why Things Catch On | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by A. Jurek on Aug 19 2013

The book can’t help the reader develop a more nuanced appreciation of the mechanics of these ideas in real life operation. In short, you walk away from the book wanting more.

Read Full Review of Contagious: Why Things Catch On | See more reviews from Blog Critics

Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Christine Parizo on Mar 22 2013

A must-read for any entrepreneur, Contagious will kick-start your marketing conversations and lead you down the pathway to an infectious campaign.

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Maija Palmer on Apr 28 2013

This book is unlikely to offer anything startlingly new for the serious marketing professional.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Maija Palmer on Apr 28 2013

...the book is an easy, breezy read, peppered with absorbing examples, from the McRib sandwich to the unexpected link between Vietnamese nail technicians and Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."

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Christian Science Monitor

Good
Reviewed by Ben Frederick on Feb 28 2013

Berger is one of those lucky academics who has managed to write a book that answers the important questions, like, how come my awesome YouTube videos never get more than 100 hits? If what he says is true, I have a strong feeling that this book will catch on.

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Dallas News

Above average
Reviewed by JIM PAWLAK on Mar 23 2013

Interesting products create an immediate buzz, but it soon fades unless there’s an ongoing reason to continue talk and remember them...The bottom line: Contagion keeps your message alive.

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The Boston Globe

Below average
Reviewed by Glenn C. Altschuler on Mar 04 2013

Given the ratio of failure to success in spreading the word about anything at all, the conclusion to Berger’s interesting book seems too sanguine...You can’t help wondering if he believes what he’s just said — or whether he’s just trying to make “Contagious” contagious.

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The Columbus Dispatch

Above average
Reviewed by Margaret Quamme on Mar 17 2013

Berger writes for those who would like their products or ideas to catch on, but his book is just as relevant for those who would like to understand how they’re being encouraged, or manipulated, to act in one way or another.

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PopMatters

Below average
Reviewed by Daniel Rasmus on May 20 2013

If you missed The Tipping Point or Made to Stick, Berger does a credible job of collecting, sampling and collating contagious ideas, events and products, but he offers little original insight and only a weak framework upon which to hang his observations.

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Seattle PI

Below average
Reviewed by A. Jurek on Aug 18 2013

Missing a deeper engagement with context, the book can't help the reader develop a more nuanced appreciation of the mechanics of these ideas in real life operation. In short, you walk away from the book wanting more.

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Annenberg Digital News

Above average
Reviewed by Judy L. Wang on Apr 09 2013

Even if you’re not a budding entrepreneur or a fresh face trying to make it in the marketing business, you’ll find “Contagious” to be an informative read because it’s essentially a book about you.

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Small Business Trends

Good
Reviewed by Ivana Taylor on Apr 21 2013

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why some ideas spread while others don’t – read Contagious and learn how to add a viral element to your business.

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Business Day Live

Above average
Reviewed by Maija Palmer on May 28 2013

This book is unlikely to offer anything startlingly new for the serious marketing professional. But for non-experts who puzzle about the best way to make an impact in a world of social-media addicts with short attention spans, it provides plenty to think about.

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Las Vegas Weekly

Below average
Reviewed by Rick Lax on Apr 17 2013

Jonah Berger’s Contagious: Why Things Catch On is a dumb-person book disguised as a smart-person book. Slick minimalist cover, prominent blurb from Harvard professor (Daniel Gilbert, whose book Stumbling on Happiness is entertaining and important), nothing good inside.

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Taipei Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Mar 05 2013

Contagious is at its most engaging when Berger is looking at specific case studies...Contagious is rarely boring, but it’s too derivative and too cliched to be genuinely interesting.

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Lesa's Book Critiques

Good
Reviewed by Lesa on Apr 04 2013

I found Contagious to be fascinating. Anyone interested in marketing, or why we bend to peer pressure, might want to pick up Jonah Berger's book.

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BrodartVibe's Blog

Good
Reviewed by Emily-Anne on Feb 08 2013

I recommend this as a resource; however don’t ask to borrow my copy. Since I was so impressed, I don’t intend to lend it. I’ll send people to the library, or buy copies to pass on to deserving colleagues.

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Sophisticated Dorkiness

Good
Reviewed by Kim on Apr 25 2013

If you’re into marketing or curious about what makes thins go viral, Contagious would be a great place to start reading.

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Under My Apple Tree

Good
Reviewed by Leslie on Apr 25 2013

The book is well written, entertaining and easy to follow. No techno babble here. We get real life, interesting examples...

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First Friday Book Synopsis

Good
on May 19 2016

Jonah Berger is a master story teller. (I think Malcolm Gladwell deserves quite a bit of the credit for raising a cadre of writers who want to tell stories in compelling ways).

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Leadership and Learning

Good
on Apr 28 2013

This book is smart, entertaining and educational...I believe it will be one of the top selling and most talked about books of the year.

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http://www.allaboutpresentations.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Vivek Singh on Jul 16 2013

The best marketing book I have ever read. What 'Made to Stick' is to communication, 'Contagious' is to marketing. Essential read.

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Ben Labovitz 23 Nov 2013

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