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The Watercooler Effect: A Psychologist Explores the Extraordinary Power of Rumors

3.05 of 5 stars 3.05  ·  rating details  ·  44 ratings  ·  8 reviews
A deeply revealing look at why we spread rumors, why we believe them, and how they affect our behavior.

During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, rumors were flying about stranded residents shooting rescue workers. In New York City, the Brooklyn Bottling Group’s business was devastated by false rumors that its soda contained sterilizers.

Psychologist Nicholas DiFonzo has
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 11th 2008 by Avery (first published 2008)
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My Review of The Watercooler Effect by Nicholas DiFonzo
The Watercooler Effect was surprising to me as I thought it would be a dull, scientific stuffy type read and that isn’t my kind of reading. However, Nicholas DiFonzo kept my attention with his smart and clever examples and explanations. In fact, the lack of too much research or depth surprised me.
After studying why we spread rumors, DiFonzo also discussed why we believe in them and what rumors do to each of us. We all know how we are taught
Nicholas Di Fonzo’s The Watercooler Effect, while not my usual fare, turned out to be quite interesting. It is a thorough study of rumors, complete with the results of research that has gone into people’s fondness for rumor and its continued preponderance.

I was particularly fascinated with the clear differentiation between what is rumor and what is merely gossip, and the different ways in which the two are disseminated.

Prior to reading this book, I had never considered that rumors could have re
What makes a rumor?

That is the question.

We all know what a rumor is. It can be described as "an unverified account or explanation of events circulating from person to person and pertaining to an object, event, or issue in public concern". In The Watercooler Effect, Nicholas DiFonzo explores as well as explains why we as a society latch onto rumors in addition to how they get started. DiFonzo provides the reader examples of some very popular rumors and myths.

He explains that some times a rumor
The Watercooler Effect explores the idea of rumors from multiple angles. I'm sure we have all had some sort of experience with rumors but it's really nice to see the idea of a rumor laid out in front of you. I've never thought about rumors in such detail but really enjoyed this exploration.

We learn about how and why rumors start. The difference between rumor, gossip, and urban legends. The personal gain of passing on a rumor in your social circle and how rumors can be successfully snuffed out a
Ceceilia Williams
This novel read like an essay with numerous examples of how 'rumors' have been used over the years and really didn't give me any new information or facts about the causes and human behaviors. It was not what I expected and I was very disappointed.
Read the full review on my blog.

Generally speaking, this is an interesting and timely book, but you won't find any startling revelations here. There are some interesting anecdotes and a lot of common sense information, including some techniques for managing the rumor mill that might be useful for those readers forced to deal with office politics.
The Watercooler Effect examines rumors -- what they are, the social purposes they serve, which types are the most likely to be true or false, how they spread and how to combat them. DiFonzo's conclusions are illustrated with examples of famous and not so famous actual rumors and research studies. The book is surprisingly interesting for what could be a dry subject, and manages nicely to avoid an overly academic approach.
The first half served my purposes for the research I was doing on the evolution of gossip/rumor, but the last three chapters or so are mostly cutesy anecdotes and common sense.
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