| |

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Contagious by Jonah Berger(May 6, 2013) I loved this book by Jonah Berger. I could tell before he even said it, that this was influenced by the Heath Brothers book “Made to Stick.” Chip Heath was his advisor when he was at Stanford. That influence proved invaluable in how he presented his theories on what makes something contagious. 

In this particular era, we equate “contagious” with “viral video.” In fact, “going viral” has entered our lexicon as a goal to be achieved in the arena of digital marketing. Berger pinpoints some of the common characteristics that appeal to people and make them want to share something with others in their network: things that make us laugh, things that are awe inspiring, and things that move us emotionally are high on that list.

One of the best non-digital examples of a contagious idea in the book is his story of actress Tippi Hedren and her effort to help Vietnam refugees in the 1970s. While visiting a tent camp in California in her full couture, the women became fascinated by her professionally manicured fingernails. Tippi returned the next day with her manicurist who showed them how a manicure is given. From the initial training of 20 Vietnamese women, the skill was passed along to the influx of Vietnamese “boat people” that followed the fall of Saigon 1975. It’s no mere coincidence that many nail salons to this day across this country are operated by Vietnamese Americans.

This book is an engaging read. The fundamental ideas are applicable to so many efforts where the goal is to spread ideas quickly from one person to another.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *