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Contagious: Why Things Catch On

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  • Posted March 17, 2013

    ¿ Contagious: Why Things Catch On ¿ ¿ Jonah Berger ¿Jonah Berg

    “ Contagious: Why Things Catch On “ – Jonah Berger

    “Jonah Berger knows more about what makes information go viral than anyone else in the world” Daniel Gilbert, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, author of "Stumbling on Happiness". Here is why this is so:

    Professor Berger was inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s "Tipping Point" when his grandmother bought him the book as a teen. Jonah Berger has been curious about what motivates people to share information and has made it his primary focus since that time. Chip Heath author of "Made to Stick", was Berger’s mentor in graduate school. Jonah Berger is currently a Marketing Professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business specializing in viral marketing. This guy gets what messages go viral and why.

    Mr. Berger is a master storyteller and gifted researcher. In Contagious, he provides specific actionable techniques for helping information spread. He also provides a recipe for the key components of viral success stories, which he defines as six pillars. The pillars are Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories.

    Why did a $100 cheesesteak turn a new Philadelphia steakhouse into overnight success in a city already filled with great steakhouses? Rue La La currently one of the top ecommerce sites, sold for $350 million in 2008 yet, under a previous name it, failed less than two years earlier. Why? The owner took the same merchandise, redirected with a different brand name and marketing message. How did Nike raise $85 million for the charity Live Strong selling $1.00 yellow rubber bracelets? Read the book to get these stories and more.

    Contagious explains why messages go viral. It is a must read for anyone interested in understanding social media. I highly recommend it. My clients and friends have already ordered it. My only disappointment was it left me yearning for more. I eagerly look forward to the next book from this promising young author.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    This book is not worth purchasing.  Everything that is included

    This book is not worth purchasing.  Everything that is included in the text could have been produced in 3-5 pages.  If you have read/studied at all around the topic of behavioral economics and human dynamics then you will be sadly disappointed.  Also makes one question Daniel Gilbert and others who endorsed this text.  Daniel Gilbert, really there is no one who know more about what CAUSES something to go viral?  Really, did you read this book? 

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2013

    Loved this book

    I had never heard of Jonah Berger and was delighted with the litany of examples in this book of how and why things catch on. I highly recommend it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    As most of the readers of my blog know, as do my Facebook friend

    As most of the readers of my blog know, as do my Facebook friends, I spend a lot of time sharing pictures of cats and links to articles that make me generally annoyed. (I like the cat pictures--it is the articles that annoy me--in fact, I LOVE cat pictures.) And being a writer, I am generally curious about why certain articles and trends light up the internet.

    Contagious--Why Things Catch On (by Jonah Berger) is one attempt to explain why certain things on the internet and elsewhere go viral. It is not the only attempt that I have encountered, but it is the first that I have read by an actual Ph.D. who has conducted research on the subject.

    Berger starts off the book with the story of Barclay Prime's hundred-dollar cheesesteak (the brainchild of Howard Wein), something that I never heard of before. Yes, I said, hundred-dollar cheesesteak. Exactly the type of item that I would have been curious about when I was still in the restaurant business...and let's be honest, I am still curious about such things. Berger hooked me with an interesting story, and kept me interested though-out the rest of the book.

    I learned a lot about marketing from this book. I am not sure if I can make any of it work for me; let's be honest, I am not great when it comes to marketing (an advertising major, I am not). On the other hand, the book does give me hope that a certain project that I am involved in (yes, the farting monkey project) might have viral potential.

    I give this book five stars. And I am keeping the book for my own personal library.

    [Disclosure: The book used for this review was given to me by the good people at Simon & Schuster, a result of a GoodReads First Reads contest that I entered--thank you Simon & Schuster and Professor Jonah Berger of the University of Pennsylvania.]

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2015

    A book that explains virility in social media

    I found this book to an interesting read, since it explains factors in why different YouTube videos reach viral status. Dr Berger does illustrate his six main theories using anecdotes. There is some academic research to provide evidence to Dr. Berger's theories.

    I found Contagious to be an easy read. I wouldn't say some of the revelations are earth shattering discoveries to the marketing field, but Dr. Berger does give you some ideas to increase your chances.

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  • Posted November 28, 2013

    Contagious: Why Things Catch On written by Jonah Berger is a nat

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2013

    Very helpful insights.

    Very helpful insights for understanding interest and communication.

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  • Posted October 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    How to go viral Have you ever wondered why some things go viral

    How to go viral

    Have you ever wondered why some things go viral? Jonah Berger did and his research culminated in his book, Contagious. If this sounds like a familiar concept then you probably read Malcolm Gladwell‘s Tipping Point. InTipping Point, Gladwell attributes the viral spread of information/products/ideas to three types of people; mavens, connectors, and salespeople. In Contagious, Berger takes it one step further. Instead of focusing on the people that spread the information, he tries to identify what makes something worth sharing to begin with.

    The book is broken down into six main principles that range from public visibility to the story around the product (such as Apple’s ability to play to emotion when it comes to electronics). Why do people pay for a $100 cheesesteak? Have you ever been to the secret bar that you access through a phone booth? All of these things were really interesting, but what I found most interesting was his explanation for why seemingly mundane items (like a blender) become so popular. Of course, what he said is simply common sense – practical items are more talked about because everyone needs one. If a stain remover worked for your child’s grass stains in their soccer uniform, then you’re more likely to recommend the product. If you watch a video where a blender demolishes an iPhone, you’ll probably have more faith in its ability to make a good smoothie. These things have practical value and are, of course, part of your life narrative.

    Written in an approachable and conversational tone, this book has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re a blogger, an inventor, or a small business owner, this book will give you valuable insight into how to promote your product/service. And remember, ”Sharing is caring.”

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