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Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Written by Jonah Berger

Narrated by Keith Nobbs


Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Written by Jonah Berger

Narrated by Keith Nobbs

ratings:
4.5/5 (71 ratings)
Length:
6 hours
Released:
Mar 5, 2013
ISBN:
9781442359383
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Why do certain products and ideas go viral? Dynamic young Wharton professor Jonah Berger draws on his research to explain the six steps that make products or ideas contagious.

Why do some products get more word of mouth than others? Why does some online content go viral? Word of mouth makes products, ideas, and behaviors catch on. It's more influential than advertising and far more effective.

Can you create word of mouth for your product or idea? According to Berger, you can. Whether you operate a neighborhood restaurant, a corporation with hundreds of employees, or are running for a local office for the first time, the steps that can help your product or idea become viral are the same.

Contagious is filled with fascinating information drawn from Berger's research. You will be surprised to learn, for example, just how little word of mouth is generated online versus elsewhere. Already praised by Dan Ariely and Dan Gilbert, and sold in nine countries, this book is a must-read for people who want their projects and ideas to succeed.
Released:
Mar 5, 2013
ISBN:
9781442359383
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Jonah Berger is a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and internationally bestselling author of Contagious, Invisible Influence, and The Catalyst. He’s a world-renowned expert on social influence, word of mouth, and why products, ideas, and behaviors catch on and has published over 50 papers in top-tier academic journals. He has consulted for a range of Fortune 500 companies, keynoted hundreds of events, and popular accounts of his work often appear in places like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review. His research has also been featured in the New York Times Magazine’s “Year in Ideas.”


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Reviews

What people think about Contagious

4.5
71 ratings / 21 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (2/5)
    A bit boring and repetitive
  • (4/5)
    The author explores what characteristics make an idea or business grow. It must have social currency, be targeted, have practical use, connection to what people are familiar with, and/or have an emotional connection. Many related characteristics are discussed.
  • (1/5)
    I don't really know what I was expecting, it had been sitting on my "to be read" pile for almost two years, but at some point I must have read a review for it that intrigued me. In the end, it is a rather simplistic business marketing book that purports to offer a step by step guide to ensure that your online material "goes viral". It's all seems rather like common sense, but with just enough jargon thrown in to make it seem like a serious tome.
  • (4/5)
    As a patron of the popular culture which governs our youth society with ephemeral trends and fads, I often step back and think to myself and think: "why do people insist on spending hundreds of dollars on *insert any soon-to-be-outgrown toy, gadget, or food*". Jonah Berger explores these tendencies in Contagious: Why Things Catch On. From a marketing perspective, the book is gold, as it serves as a guide to transforming a product from unpopular to instantly famous. As a near-supplement to Malcolm Gladwell"s The Tipping Point, Berger's work is more concise but more ambiguous. Berger tries to incorporate too many examples from various unrelated fields into the points of his STEPP process. This works against Berger's presumed goal of providing a more in depth supplement to The Tipping Point. However, the book still utilizes appropriate examples in many instances and its points are nonetheless valid and coherent, making this novel worth the read.
  • (5/5)
    Contagious takes the ideas behind Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point and turns them into a practical guide for people who want their product, brand, or idea to catch on. But it's more than just a how-to book; it's also an in-depth exploration of the social science of popularity. Overall, Contagious is an extremely engaging listen that drew me in with its fascinating subject matter and excellent narration. Highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    Very clever, with how to and why illustrations to prove the point
  • (4/5)
    We've all looked at our computer screens and wondered, sometimes with disgust, how the latest viral video got so popular. Why are people sharing something that seems so useless over and over? Why do I keep seeing the same story from multiple people? What is making me want to click that share button?

    Jonah Berger ventures into answering those questions in his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On. After identifying six elements that help ideas stick, Berger walks through examples of each element, giving almost a history of viral information. The book is a quick, accessible read that answers many questions readers might have, with a few really surprising bits of information thrown in (the one that really got me was in the epilogue). Though once you've read them, most of the elements Berger identifies seem like common sense, Contagious is still enjoyable.
  • (4/5)
    I got a copy of this at the annual Brand Manage Camp last summer and finally got around to reading it after a friend mentioned how much he enjoyed it. Glad I made the time -- an interesting book.
  • (5/5)
    Anyone at all interested in marketing or social media needs to read this. It'll make you think twice while you're hitting that 'share' button on Facebook or 'retweet' on Twitter. Why are you sharing it? To make yourself look good? Because it made you angry? Because it made you think of a particular person who might be interested?

    Very readable book with lots of examples and stories to explain his points.
  • (4/5)
    This book is essentially an "alternate exposition" of the material in Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point - that is, it is concerned with the process by which things or ideas become popular to the point that they seem to take on lives of their own. Jonah Berger acknowledges that this is a subject already covered by Gladwell, but he does offer his own approach.Berger develops what he terms his STEPPS process by which some things become extremely popular: Social currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical value, and Stories. Using a variety of examples of things that go "viral," Berger uses his STEPPS to explain how "virality" occurs, even with things that would seem to be self defeating, such as a restaurant that succeeds because (or despite the fact that) it offers a $100.00 Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich; a hot-dog eatery that has access to a "secret" club (through an old wooden phone booth), and so forth.The book is accessible, intelligent and witty; I would not really put it on a level with Gladwell's The Tipping Point, however. An interesting read.
  • (4/5)
    I'm always after books that pry open my cranium with a crowbar and mess around with everything that's in there, unlearning what I've learned, and learning something I've never learned. It seems like a conceit at the outset, with a claim of knowing about something that seems actually be the result of random forces, but as the book sweeps along, the case for specificity is solidified. The entire top of my head popped off when he showed how "Just say no!" resulted in increased drug use, amid other such examples, coupled with useful advice to produce the opposite effects. I'll apply this new knowledge to develop branding and awareness for myself, my books, my writing, my running club, and other interests.
  • (4/5)
    Berger has figured out what makes some ideas spread more than others, sometimes for surprising reasons. He explains why Cheerios get more attention than Disney, why some good commercials were completely ineffective, and why a juicy secret is least likely to be kept. Reading this book will make you a better storyteller, a better marketer, and smarter about trends you see.
  • (4/5)
    Berger has penned a highly-readable book that is driven by lively anecdotes. True, some of his insights seem quite simplistic. For example, one of the earliest case studies involves an eatery in Philadelpia that created a hundred buck Philly Cheesesteak sandwich merely to generate "buzz." The implied message is that "shock value" is a key ingredient to making a message stick. Some would justifiably argue that Malcolm Gladwell took a more scholarly approach to this fascinating topic in his classic "Tipping Point." That being said, Berger, offers an accessible user-friendly guide that provides some practical tips for creating "social epidemics."
  • (2/5)
    More fluff than substance. Good read for a plane, but don't expect to get any practical info out of it.
  • (4/5)
    I am an indie author, so I'm always interested in picking up new marketing strategies. Contagious gave me a lot of great ideas on how I could sharpen the advertising for my novels. Jonah Berger writes in a very easy-to-understand way, and I liked how he used anecdotes about real marketing campaigns to drive his points home.

    The book did feel a bit short, and more advanced marketers might not find enough content here. However, as someone who dabbles in marketing, I definitely walked away satisfied.
  • (4/5)
    How does marketing work in an era where things go viral on the Internet and social media dominates our national discourse? Jonah Berger, a professor at the Wharton School of Business, has an understanding of how it can work and a philosophy of how you can use it to promote your work. Using terms like “social currency” and established concepts like social status, he describes how online marketing can work in a way that is inexpensive but effective. He does so in a manner that outperforms perhaps any other author on the subject.

    Berger attempts to provide a coherent and comprehensive theoretical treatment. He defines several essential and mutually exclusive qualities of communication that might effectively communicate with potential customers. In the last chapter, he brings these qualities together to show why certain online communications work or didn’t work. He provides illustrations from history (or more accurately, builds his theory from historical examples). These stories not only convey his point; they also provide a context and a story that persuades the reader that he knows what he’s talking about.

    This work will certainly appeal to marketers and to communicators, but it can also appeal to people (like me) who are interested in how the computer and the Internet are transforming the way we live. This book could not have been written in the early 1990s, but is essentially a foundation of marketing theory today. Berger teaches us that theory should not lag behind practice too much. He gives us a first draft of what that theory might look like. In so doing, he teaches us how we can draw a good audience for the work that is our lives.

  • (4/5)
    I picked this up when I was looking for books on book marketing. While I didn't think I'd written a novel that would "go viral," I thought maybe I'd still find something in Contagious I could apply to promoting my book. When I started reading it, however, I wasn't sure that was going to happen—the introduction on why things catch on and the first chapter on social currency were interesting, but also pretty much what I would have come up with if you'd asked me to guess why things catch on. As I got deeper into the book, though, I found myself reaching for my notepad. The information here is interesting, useful, and valuable to anyone with a product, service, or cause to promote. Berger writes in clear prose and provides plenty of anecdotes and examples to illustrate the concepts of triggers, emotion, practical value and more. In all, I found it more insightful than the book marketing book I purchased at the same time.
  • (4/5)
    In this day and age so many people believe that advertising and/or social media drive trends. New words have even been coined to describe the phenomenon … trending or viral. But are those two things enough to explain why people would be willing to pay $100 for a cheese steak sandwich, why a certain video gets millions of hits on YouTube or one brand of blender outsells another? Not really.

    In this book Jonah Berger looks at why things catch on. A look at his credentials and there is no doubt that he did the research he describes and that his theories are sound. Not only sound, but surprisingly interesting and delivered in a concise and often humorous manner. Even someone who has never studied marketing (ME) understood and enjoyed this book. The scariest thing about reading this little book? I came to realize just how gullible I am when it comes to advertising and media. It’s a bit of an eye-opener!
  • (3/5)
    Contagious: Why Things Catch On written by Jonah Berger is a natural next-step for readers who enjoyed Maxwell’s “Tipping Point.” While the writer did not definitively answer the question posed within the title, the anecdotal style was helpful in developing a higher awareness and perspective going forward. A bit repetitious, the book probably should have concluded about two-thirds of the way. However, worth the read if you are looking to reposition a community or business.
  • (4/5)
    Witty, insighful and full of mind-blowing and yet such simple concepts! I was hooked from the first page and drawn in further with each passing chapter. I thank Simon and Schuster, as well as Jonah Berger, for awarding me with this Goodreads giveaway copy of [book:Contagious: Why Things Catch On15801967] before it has even been released to the public. It is good to see that you not only teach the concepts of your book, but you put them into practice in ways that will benefit you and your publisher. I have a great respect for S&S, and even more so now for having published such an incredible book and such a worthy author. Berger's weaving of business, psychology and marketing strategies make for such a captivating read, and the concepts of which are truly contagious in themselves. I found myself unable not to share the things I was learning. Plus, I was further compelled to actually set the book aside and look up some of the companies, commercials and viral videos that the author was talking about as I continued to read along. Any book that makes you want to dive even deeper into other resources can be labeled as truly inspiring. I would read this book if you have an interest in any of the areas or fields that I mentioned. If you are an independent seller of anything, I would grab this book and soak up all that it has for you. If you have been in business for a long time, I would not hesitate to pick this up and see if it has anything new. Jonah has written this book in a way that literally anyone from any walk of life can understand and appreciate, and yet the information in this book is priceless and can be tied back in to so many complex concepts and theories. Even if professionally this book doesn't appeal to you, it still serves as an inside look into the industries that surround and bombard us with so many words and visuals on a daily basis. It can ultimately serve as a tool in navigating our world of prices, sales and advertising that seems so often to have the upper hand.
  • (4/5)
    Contagious is one of those books that is destined to become essential business reading, especially for the marketer. In some ways, it reminded me of "Made to Stick" and the Tipping Point, but it did have it's own messaging. (By the way, the author Jonah Berger was mentored by Chip Heath, the author of Made to Stick)The book focuses on the reasons why things stick through the six elements of the STEPPS model presented in the book:Social Currency - we share things that make us look goodTriggers - Top of mind, tip of tongueEmotion - When we care, we sharePublic - Built to show, built to growPractical Value - News people can useStories - Information travels under the guise of idle chatterThe thing that I really liked about this books is that the author presents practical examples of why things work and why they do not. It makes it into a translatable model that anyone can use. The research is fantastic and it has a lot of great examples throughout. Well worth the read.Reader received a complimentary copy from Good Reads First Reads