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Contagious, by Jonah Berger was all about how things catch on, or become “contagious”.   The book started out by talking about a popular restaurant, Barclay Prime.  When this restaurant came about, there was almost no advertising involved, but it still became a huge and famous place to eat.  Berger begins by talking about how this restaurant became “contagious” by only word of mouth.  This made him curious about how other ideas and products spread, and how advertising and word of mouth effects what people will do and buy.

His book was broken into six chapters which were his six principles throughout the book.

The first was social currency.  This was all about what makes someone talk about something more than another thing, and how it spreads.

The second was triggers.  He believes that people naturally want to keep a conversation going, so if there is a pause or break in the conversation people will be more likely to bring up an idea or product.

Emotion was his next principle.  He believes that if someone is passionate about something, then they will be more likely to talk about that thing.

Principle four was called public.  He states that if you see someone else doing something, you will be more likely to do that thing too.   If someone is talking about and idea or product, or doing something new, you will be more likely to want to try that idea or product for yourself.

Practical value and stories were the last two principles.  Practical value was more on the advertising side rather than the word of mouth side.  Berger believes that if a product saves money or improves your lifestyle you will be more likely to buy that product.  Stories was the last chapter and principle that Berger spoke about.  He said that ordinary stories we tell everyday get spread, and if an idea or product is in one of those stories, people will be more likely to buy that product.

This book was all about how ideas and products spread.  Berger did a fabulous job of incorporating his own stories and personal events in the book.  This book was a super easy and interesting read.  I would recommend it for anyone looking to spread an idea or product, or even just if you’re looking for a new book to read.

-Jennifer Howard

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