Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives

Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives

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by Nicholas A. Christakis, James H. Fowler
     
 

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Connected will forever change the way we look at one another — and at ourselves

- Happiness is contagious.

- Your future spouse is likely to be your friend's friend.

- Your friends' friends' friends can make you fat — or thin.

These are just a few of the startling

Overview

Connected will forever change the way we look at one another — and at ourselves

- Happiness is contagious.

- Your future spouse is likely to be your friend's friend.

- Your friends' friends' friends can make you fat — or thin.

These are just a few of the startling findings of internationally renowned scientists Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler. In Connected, they present intriguing new evidence that our real-life social networks shape virtually every aspect of our lives. How we feel, whom we marry, whether we fall ill, how much money we make, and whether we vote — everything hinges on what others around us are doing, thinking, and feeling.

Connected shows that our world is governed by the Three Degrees Rule — we influence and are influenced by people up to three degrees removed from us, most of whom we do not even know. For example, your friend's friend's friend has more impact on your happiness than $5,000 in your pocket. Our social networks underlie financial scams, eating disorders, substance abuse, and suicide clusters, but also voter turnout, innovation, altruism, and "random" acts of kindness.

Provocative, insightful, and useful, Connected explains why emotions are contagious, how health behaviors spread, why the rich get richer, and much more. Overturning the notion of the primacy of the individual, Connected provides a revolutionary new paradigm — that, like schools of fish changing direction in unison, we are consciously and unconsciously led by the people around us..

Editorial Reviews

The Internet age has provoked some quips that Andy Warhol's "in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes" has been superseded by "in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen people." At this point, few would deny the major significance of social networks, but perhaps those proliferating people connections have never been presented as vividly or as entertainingly as in this book. In Connected, versatile Harvard scientist Nicholas Christakis and University of California political science professor James Fowler make a compelling case that social networks hold powerful influence over our health, taste, wealth, happiness, beliefs, and even our weight. Never have contagions been so entertaining.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743579100
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date:
09/29/2009
Edition description:
Unabridged, 9 Cds
Product dimensions:
5.04(w) x 6.02(h) x 1.17(d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, is a professor at Harvard University with joint appointments in the Departments of Health Care Policy, Sociology, and Medicine, and in 2009 was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world. James H. Fowler, PhD, is an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, in the Department of Political Science and The Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems, and was named one of the "most inspiring scientists" by the San Diego Science Festival. Christakis and Fowler's research has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, Today, and The Colbert Report, and on the front pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today.

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Connected 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
wizardhlee More than 1 year ago
The authors (one an M.D. and Ph.D. and the other a professor of political science) do research on the topology of social networks and they knowledgeably survey the field. They conclude that persons up to three degrees away from us have the most impact on our lives. Surprisingly, it is very often the people exactly three degrees away--strangers even--who have the most detectable impact and not people closer. One such area is our likelihood of being obese! Their examples cover a wide range of domains which makes the validity and applicability of their case even stronger. Their findings have practical impacts on how we build our networks. We should do so more explicitly, I suppose. Of course, if we do not know some of our third degree neighbors in the real or virtual world then it behooves us to locate them to learn about them. I don't know how easy it would be to divorce yourself from 3rd degree neighbors. Nor do the authors talk about differences in impact when we know how our 3rd neighbors might be affecting us vs. when we are totally ignorant. As in all social sciences such knowledge of others affects our perceptions and how we play the game and is what makes analysis of human and social behavior more complex than the physical world. Overall, the book is a fascinating read.
bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
People that you don't even know can make an impact on your life. Sometimes it's a good thing but it can also be toxic. If you are interested in finding out how the slightest thing that someone else does can change you, I suggest you read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Connected” is a great book to learn what social networks are all about. I chose to read this book as part of an assignment for my English class and upon hearing a brief description from my teacher; it sparked an interest for me. It sounded fascinating to learn how this type of connection affects our lives. This book really helped me to understand and clarify the meaning of a social network. The idea that a social network not only applies to the internet but any type of connection you may have with others. All you need are people and something that connects them; whether it is their related, their co-workers, or even students who go to the same school. Social networks are everywhere and they define the meaning of “it’s a small world.” Instead of simply stating connections the authors, Dr. Christakis and Dr. Fowler, enforce them with research and statistics as well as real world examples and applications. They discuss how our connections to those in our own networks influence how we feel, how we dress, how we compare ourselves to others, even the desire to vote or who we vote for. The first chapter of the book lays down the fundamental basics of a network and how they work. This makes the rest of the chapters, filled with different scenarios, much easier to follow. If you’re truly interested in social networks and how they impact society this is the book for you. Some may enjoy the whole book, while some, like me prefer to read the sections that are the most relatable and applicable to them personally. Overall, “Connected” lets its readers become more aware of their own social networks and how they influence and are influenced by them. Many people don’t realize that we are all connected in some way, you just have to pay attention; this book shows you what to look for. I would recommend the book to those who have an interest in social networks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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TheNeonNarwhal More than 1 year ago
There is truth hidden between the pages of Christakis and Fowler's "Connected," but though true, these "discoveries" are far from anything new. Connected explores the way our social networks help influence us to feel or act in certain ways. For example, we can understand that if one's best friend begins to eat more, we in turn will eat more as well due to the sheer amount of time we share with him or her. The authors of this work, however, spend 10-15+ pages discussing this issue that probably could be summed up sufficiently in five sentences. Over-all, "connected" is not terrible, but it is not earth-shattering either. I would suggest reading it for the few sections that interest you -- keep in mind that in many cases (because both of the authors are male, therefore the male mind is what they understand best) the book can feel very sexist. In summary: not a terrible book, but is rather one I would recommend picking up at the library or used book store. There are more intelligent (for lack of a better word) psychology books on the shelves that are better deserving of your top dollar.
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
The raise of the internet has precipitated the increase of public's interest in networks and many books have come out in recent years that explore this new fascination. Most of these books, however, focus on some very trite and visible aspect of the web networks, and don't delve deeper into the more subtle and nonobvious properties of networks. In the light of that the strength of "Connected" is that it heavily relies on well established scientific research and presents it in an accessible fashion that still does full justice to the topic. Both authors are themselves prominent researchers in the field, and this fact helps with the choice and presentation of topics. The particular focus on social networks is very timely in the light of recent explosion of online social networks. However, social networks have been around for a very long time. In fact, there have been some evolutionary theories that suggest that our rise as a species has been to a large extent spurred by the need to manage large social networks. The book provides many interesting and nontrivial insights into what sorts of social networks are most beneficial in certain circumstances, and which ones on the other hand can have the most deleterious effects, such as in cases of spreading of diseases. One of the more pleasant aspects of this book has been the more positive attitude towards the role of religion in society that is not simplistic and provides us with some useful new insights and ways of looking at religion. For instance, from the purely social-networking point of view God can be viewed as a node in a network that is equally distant from all other nodes - individual believers in this case. This provides us with a useful new paradigm, and it would be interesting to see if other social researchers would employ it in their investigations and analyses of religion in the upcoming years. If you are looking for a well-researched and accessible book on social networks, this is probably the best one that has been on the market thus far.
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kaavar More than 1 year ago
quite interesting based on the researched provided in this book. I will be more aware of my 'network' now
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