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

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,825 ratings  ·  212 reviews
Your colleague's husband's sister can make you fat, even if you don't know her. A happy neighbor has more impact on your happiness than a happy spouse. These startling revelations of how much we truly influence one another are revealed in the studies of Drs. Christakis and Fowler, which have repeatedly made front-page news nationwide.

In CONNECTED, the authors explain why
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 28th 2009 by Little, Brown and Company (first published September 28th 2008)
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Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas R. HofstadterChaos by James GleickEmergence by Steven JohnsonThe Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas TalebLinked by Albert-László Barabási
8th out of 36 books — 42 voters
Freakonomics by Steven D. LevittGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared DiamondOutliers by Malcolm GladwellThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganThe Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins
Best Pop Science Books
36th out of 86 books — 102 voters

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Community Reviews

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There are a number of things I’ve been thinking about lately and quite a few of those things are discussed here in this book. So, in a sense I should have found this much more interesting than I did. Overall, I was a little disappointed even though I think this book has an important message and has interesting things to say about a number of incredibly important issues.

If I had written this book…

It is hard to say just what the perfect society might be for humans, but what we have today seems pre
Sep 28, 2009 Margie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people with very short attention spans
Recommended to Margie by: GoodReads giveaways
Shelves: first-reads, society
I've read a couple of reviews by professionals, and have been really surprised that everyone focuses on the content, and no one mentions how poorly organized the book is.

The data is very interesting and compelling. And the authors aren't bad writers. But I'm simply stunned that people who talk about using visualization software to map the topology of social networks can't come up with some workable, organized map of how to present their findings. They seem to rely on having interesting anecdotes
The Superorganism. We've animated! We've vivified. Social Media, social networking, geolocation, Goodreads, bookmarking, news aggregators, RSS feeds, it goes on and on. We've layered ourselves in so many overlapping, four-dimensional, self-annealing, anfractuous networks that we exist as single honeycombs in a living hive of millions. There are invisible lines that leave your body and connect to other people in ways you can't even represent on paper, exploding outward in fractal, logarithmic ste ...more
Glenn Myers
Only three stars for this well-researched, original and intriguing book, mainly because I was much more interested in the original and intriguing conclusions rather than the many pages of social and psychological research and anecdote. These Harvard profs doubtless want to strut their academic stuff but I would have liked (at least) more in the way of summary and signpost, For all that, fascinating, thought-provoking and one of those books that makes you think differently for ever after.

Here ar
Erika RS
This book had some great information packed inside of a repetitive package that wasn't very sticky.

Once you picked up the key ideas, most of the conclusions followed in a fairly obvious manner. The key ideas or, at least, the ones that I remember, were:
- Network influence tends to travel three degrees before shrinking to statistical insignificance. You influence your friends, friends' friends, and friends' friends' friends, and they influence you back. The strength of influence decreases with e
T. Edmund
Non-fiction is always such a risk, especially anything that could be considered pop-psychology. Connected paid off however, presenting an interesting thesis, with little page filler or rehash of psyc 101 concepts (that so many pop-psychology books suffer from)

The focus is on human networks - not entirely online social media as one could be forgiven for assuming - but a thorough review of 'real life' online and political connections between groups of people.

If you're one to read non-fiction to pi
The book is very interesting as it provides a readable and intelligible introduction into studies of networks and social networks. It has been written by two promoters of social network theory. Hence you won't find any critique of the theories they promote in this book. For example the transposition of the network concepts from the natural sciences onto the social sciences remains unquestioned although there is a 100year old history of studies that criticise such transpositions. In particular, t ...more
Jason Carney
This is a wonderful book. The thesis is that we are profoundly influenced by our family, friends, and friends of friends (which sounds inane, but it's developed wonderfully), but it also emphasizes how we can influence our family, friends, and friends of friends. This book really makes you question your assumption that you are a free agent, in control of your personal beliefs, your emotional states, your physical health. But it's message is also empowering, to the extent that it amplifies your p ...more
Andy Oram
Most of the research in this book has already been widely reported in
the popular press--a sign of its value--but like the phenomena the
authors describe, the book is much greater than the sum of its parts.
The carefully build a view of life from many areas of social science
(while generally admitting that there are alternative ways to
interpret the phenomena) and end up with one of those "big ideas" that
publishers love. I'm quite willing to entertain this big idea: the
ways we informally connect to e
Tom Leland
Favorite piece: From a study done on 42 social networks sampled from 15 different species, it was found that grooming relationships were very similar across species…and the model that best predicted the network structure of U.S. senators was that of social licking among cows.

If I removed all that I found self-evident or obvious, and all that, although interesting, amounted in my mind to a "So what?" …it would be a much thinner book. As it is, it dipped deeply into sociology and psychology, somet
Sonia Lavadinho
Jul 28, 2014 Sonia Lavadinho rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sociologues, psychologues, spécialistes des réseaux relationnels
Un livre fabuleux, tant par les théories de l'interaction et de l'influence qu'il met en avant que par les excellents graphiques en couleurs qui mettent en évidence ces réseaux relationnels. Le livre s'applique à décrire pour des thèmes très divers les processus de contagion, et réussit admirablement à donner une image claire des imbrications entre ce que nous sommes, ce que nous faisons et le rôle assumé par les gens qui nous entourent dans les processus décisionnels qui façonnent notre identit ...more
Raluca Popescu
A rather "classical" pop-science book, using simplified research and examples to explain, this time, the interesting-ness and power of human networks. Going from prehistoric social mechanisms to digital hyperconnectivity, Christakis and Fowler make a point about how our web of human relationships ends up defining who we are. An enjoyable and well-structured read finished up with an extensive reading list for the research-oriented.
Very interesting read filled with plenty of thought provoking analysis of day to day influences and situations through a network perspective. The authors did a good job of describing their research across a variety of different scenarios while providing insightful analysis along the way. The writing was both engaging and easily digestible.

The section regarding religion and anthropomorphism was particularly intriguing and caused me to reflect back on the movie Castaway and the insight of those w
This was a good read. It reminded me of Teilhard de Chardin's theory about humankind evolving toward the Omega point. I learned a little about the mechanisms of influence among people and the description of political polarization was really good!
I listened to this on the way to work, so in 30-minute bursts, which probably isn't the best way. Nothing stuck very much.

There were some interesting things---I had heard some about how somehow knowing people (and knowning people who know people) who are overweight somehow makes it more likely that you will be overweight. They had some interesting ideas on why people bother to vote---in pure economic terms it just doesn't make sense because your vote is so unlikely to make a differeence, but if
Henry Barry
A nonfiction book about how powerful social networks are and how people influence each other. The book is based on the premise that my behavior influences my friends, their friends, and their friends (to three degrees of separation). People are far more influenced by their friends than they realize. The book suggested solutions to crime and obesity that were based on network centers, meaning that if we can get the most well-known obese person to lose weight, others will too. The book was fascina ...more
Michael  Slavin
This was very interesting with a good discussion about social networking. There are many examples of how we all impact each others lives in ways we may never have suspected. It is supported with statistics, but the authors I do not feel give you all the supporting data they could have and reach some conclusions that may have other equally supportable conclusions that are different.Still I liked this book and feel it will make you a little more considerate of others, because what you to even stra ...more
Ko Matsuo
Holistic study of how our social networks affect us. Authors address a broad range of issues from who we marry, how much we weigh, how much we make, and whether we vote. Fascinating insight into human psychology. For example, we'd rather be relatively more attractive than others but low on the absolute attractive scale than be higher on the absolute attractive scale, where others are higher. Lays a new framework for public health, advertisement, and economics. Two or three really slow chapters w ...more
Nista novoga... :-P
Sehar  Moughal
The book is thoroughly researched, however, the information is not very organised - many times I'd lose my train of thoughts when the discussion steered into a different direction in a sudden and complete manner. However, credit must be given to the author for linking the argument points to the main discussion towards the end of each chapter. This book introduces the reader to the concept of three-degree connections and six-degree connections, the former being the most influential. The arguments ...more
As someone who prefers small groups and one-on-one interactions, I was curious about the authors' research on social networks, specifically: To what extent does active participation in (large or extensive) social groups matter? What are the pros and cons of extensive "networking" (a term I dislike but that fits here)?

This book was enlightening but not as engrossing as others I've read with some overlapping content (e.g., Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky, or Where Good Ideas Come From by Stev
A report on the basic urge to connect

Individuals derive their identities from their social networks. By forging dynamic connections, people accomplish innumerable worthwhile activities, such as giving to charity and sharing knowledge. Unfortunately, social networks also can bring great harm to their members. Panics may reverberate across financial networks, quickly sending stock markets into death spirals and shutting down credit for businesses and consumers. Pathogens like the AIDS virus can sw
So far some interesting, but not new, thoughts on how ideas and behavior spread like disease. A good behavior like quitting smoking or a bad one like ...moreSo far some interesting, but not new, thoughts on how ideas and behavior spread like disease. A good behavior like quitting smoking or a bad one like obesity can both be idea/behaviors that spread. - You are likely to behavior similar to those around you and you are likely to surround yourself with those that are like you. True to some exten ...more
Jj Kwashnak
Most people hold their family and friends important to their lives - that's a given. And many have played the Six Degrees of Separation (Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon) game. But how important those social networks has not been as well understood. Christakis and Fowler show us that it really is who we know and how we know them that is more important than we ever understood in our lives. Through our friends, and their friends and acquaintances, we amass a rather large collection of people who can hav ...more
Paulo O'Brien
We now live with humongous online social networks, but human beings have always had them -- in fact, it is one of the very things that defines being "human." Or says this book, which is a must read for understanding the power that social networks have had from the beginnings of human history and how that works.

This book provides a magnificent explanation of how central our connections to others have always been, going back to the tribal. In addition, the authors posit that our need to be so conn
Richard Conlin
This book summarizes the research about social connections that changes the way we can think about social change and other phenomena. The authors suggest that social networking is so important in human activity that they even propose (almost seriously...) remonikering us "homo dictyous" (network man). A fun example, dear to my heart, about door-to-door voter turnout operations. A study they cite indicates that contacting a person and urging them to vote leads to a 10% higher chance that person w ...more
As a political scientist interested in popular science books, this book is a big disappointment for me. I bought this book, because I already knew about Fowler's research and I decided it would be more fun to read more on his work in a book written for laymen than the research papers. What I expected was something written in the line of Freakonomics -discussing the major issues in social network research from a scientific point of view but mixed with stories and anectodal evidence from popular c ...more
Alexandra Graßler
Wer wissen möchte, wie uns unsere ganz persönlichen sozialen Netzwerke beeinflussen, kommt an diesem Buch nicht vorbei. Es ist faszinierend zu lesen, dass die Reichweite - die Wirkung auf uns hat - bis zu den Freunden der Freunde unserer Freunde reicht.

Um ein Beispiel zu nennen: hören Freunde der Freunde unserer Freunde zum Rauchen auf, steigt die Chance (wenn wir auch rauchen) signifikant, dass wir auch aufhören zu rauchen! Von diesen Beispielen und Zusammenhängen gibt es viele zu lesen.

Die T
“Connected” is basically a discussion about how people connect and how those connections affect us, in many ways — our health, our actions, our political affiliations — you name it. The book admittedly has a lot of fascinating research findings: marriage adds 7 years to a man’s life, 2 to a woman’s. More people would like to earn $33,000 if their coworkers earned $30,000, than would want to earn $35,000 with peers earning $38,000. Most of us find jobs and marriage partners not from our immediate ...more
This book came out when Facebook was (is?) peaking and many of the references to this book I had read made it sound like the book was an examination of social network sites like Facebook. However, this book is not an examination of social network websites, but social networks in the sociological sense. Considering my passion for sociology, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself reading a straight-up sociology book.

This book is more of a "pop" sociology treatment of the social networks, so it
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  • Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Theory of Networks
  • Networks: An Introduction
  • The Empathic Civilization: The Race To Global Consciousness In A World In Crisis
  • The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do
  • Grouped: How Small Groups of Friends Are the Key to Influence on the Social Web
  • Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age
  • Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future
  • Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
  • Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge
  • Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
  • What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption
  • I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted
  • Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing Our True Nature
  • Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind
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.

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
More about Nicholas A. Christakis...
Death Foretold: Prophecy and Prognosis in Medical Care Social Networks and Health (Annual Review of Sociology) Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine

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“If we are connected to everyone else by six degrees and we can influence them up to three degrees, then one way to think about ourselves is that each of us can reach about halfway to everyone else on the planet.” 2 likes
“We discovered that if your friend's friend's friend gained weight, you gained weight. We discovered that if your friend's friend's friend stopped smoking, you stopped smoking. And we discovered that if your friend's friend's friend became happy, you became happy.” 1 likes
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