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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

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,272 Ratings  ·  237 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
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Published September 28th 2009 by Little, Brown and Company (first published September 28th 2008)
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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 it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 25, 2010 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 30, 2012 Erika RS rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Thomas Edmund
Mar 08, 2014 Thomas Edmund rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Raluca Popescu
Oct 07, 2013 Raluca Popescu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 22, 2016 Ann rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I thought this was a "blah" book, and that was just because first of all, I couldn't figure out what the big idea was, and second, I felt that the idea was not developed, just iterated. The idea seems to be that we are influenced not just by the people we interact with directly, but with the people who know the people we know. A game of "three degrees of separation", essentially. Well, I didn't find that so surprising or shocking. The authors try very hard to make this idea sound groundbreaking ...more
Feb 12, 2012 Dirk rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 17, 2014 Jason Carney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 26, 2010 Andy Oram rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 04, 2016 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
very sluggish read despite some very interesting stories and statistics dispersed throughout. it read more like a textbook which immediately turned my mind off. i had to read in small doses. The information learned, I've recounted numerous times yet i would not read again. Perhaps an abbreviated or abstract form would be more desirable; at least for me.
Jan 25, 2015 Connor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 16, 2016 Debra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this for my book club and then promptly went on vacation and now that it's several weeks later and I'm sitting down to write this, I'm trying to remember what exactly the book was about. And I guess that's the biggest problem with it. The central premise is crucial and compelling: that social networks are an integral part of what makes us human, and that our happiness as humans is enmeshed in our experience of social networks. But the writing of the book itself is just sloppy - with every ...more
Feb 12, 2010 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jan 10, 2015 Yofish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-science-y
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
Mack Flavelle
I have read many books on the power of scale. The power of a large number of people. Also the details of what a large number of people look like. This is another notch on the belt. Some really interesting tidbits. Two problems:

1- It's aimed at my mother-in-law and me. If you want to speak to her you need a very different language/set of assumptions then when you speak to me.

2- Some of it seemed like crap. I was excited by lots of the ideas in the book but when I had to outright reject some of th
Dec 28, 2015 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the research is really neat! The book is so-so. Basically it's worth skimming if you want to understand why everything humans are and do is actually due to their social networks. I thought that would be the starting point for a rigorous discussion of how networks work; instead, the book is pretty much that same point repeated 1000 times. One useful thing that I am taking away is that 'mass psychogenic illnesses' and 'culture-bound syndromes' are not merely anthropological curiosities but ...more
Henry Barry
Jan 09, 2015 Henry Barry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc-nonfiction
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
Nov 15, 2014 Michael Slavin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
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
Aug 15, 2014 Ko Matsuo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 02, 2014 Tonkica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nista novoga... :-P
Oct 01, 2015 Al rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Connected" was given to me as a matter of potential interest because it is the summer reading book assigned to this year's entering Dartmouth class. I started reading, went to skimming, and finally gave up. The book talks a lot about how various networks work, and extols the positive powers inherent in networking. The problem is the book is basically formless, and not very useful for any practical purposes. I'm disappointed (again) that Dartmouth couldn't find something better for its incoming ...more
Sep 08, 2015 Rossdavidh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blue
Subtitle: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. This is a book by those researchers who demonstrated that if your friends get fat, you are more likely to get fat, and if you ditch your fat friends for skinny ones, you will be more likely to get skinny. Also, if your friends get divorced, it makes your marriage more likely to end in divorce, and if most of your friends are not divorced the odds of your marriage staying together are better.

So, you know, fun guys
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
Mar 24, 2010 E rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 19, 2011 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book, put-down
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
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  • Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind
  • Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age
  • Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth
  • The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do
  • Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future
  • Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room
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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...

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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.” 4 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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