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Contagious: Why Things Catch On

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  7,093 ratings  ·  728 reviews
New York Times bestseller and named Best Marketing Book of 2014 by the American Marketing Association

What makes things popular? Why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?

If you said advertising, think again. People don’t listen to advertisements, th
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Simon & Schuster (first published March 1st 2013)
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If this material is enough to cover an entire Wharton MBA course, then I'm not sure what that says about Wharton's program. There is just not that much information in this book far beyond common sense most people already intuitively know. I had been looking forward to this book release as the topic is interesting and even possesses its own themed six characteristics, conveniently ascribed the acronym STEPPS, which the author Jonah Berger explains contributes to why products or ideas become conta ...more
This is a fun book, full of ideas for advertising new ideas or products. It contains many good anecdotes about promotions that worked and didn't work. For example, there is a description of a youtube video that went viral, that advertised a blender--and boosted sales enormously. Then there is a video that went viral, and advertised a casino--but didn't boost sales at all. Why not? The video had absolutely nothing to do with the casino--it was just a catchy video!

The author, Jonah Berger, is a pr
Sporting a business degree (advertising/PR/Marketing) under my belt means that I view the world, consumer and otherwise, in a marketing sense. Although I can predict trends and see market value; I was very curious about why ideas and brands affect us. That is where Jonah Berger’s “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” came into the picture.

“Contagious” begins with an almost 30-page introduction which appears to summarize the book instead of provoking interest, causing some trepidation. However, movi
Sock puppets move on......

Contagious: Why Things Catch On
So I won this in a goodreads give away.

It was an interesting book, if only because it solidified the fact that I would never want to work within any profession where this book is applicable.

It serves its purposes (FOR ME) in explaining in a very, very basic manner the tactics used to establish the worthiness/useability of a product.

I assume it's very practical for any business person, and I assume it will be picked up and use in numerou
Srikanth Srk
Excellent and Informative Book with many examples to explain the concept of “Contagious” and how many things become viral and are spreaded. Of the six wonderful principles (STEPPS) explained i believe that word of mouth is most effective. Everyday interactions we have with other people in life are definitely contagious in some way or the other. Also there are many day to day activities such as knowledge , laughter , passion and so forth are already contagious in our life. The best part of our kn ...more
Paul Pessolano
“Contagious, Why Things Catch On” by Jonah Berger, published by Simon and Schuster.

Category – Business

I can’t remember the last time a business book had me up all night reading. Although I am retired I found this book fascinating on several levels.

Jonah Berger is a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has studied Marketing and has come up with six elements that will make a product “Contagious”. The basic idea is to make a product “viral”, that is, to have the pr
Jay Connor
Jonah Berger has given us a very good read that builds on "Switch" and "The Tipping Point." In essence we are introduced to a means to put into practice what were simply observations in the Heath's and Gladwell's separate takes on how to influence others. Those of us who work across sectors in community are always trying to find the magic formula for engaging and moving our respective audiences to action.

For Berger, there are six essential factors that contribute to contagious ideas: think of th
Contagious is one of those books that is destined to become essential business reading, especially for the marketer. In some ways, it reminded me of "Made to Stick" and the Tipping Point, but it did have it's own messaging. (By the way, the author Jonah Berger was mentored by Chip Heath, the author of Made to Stick)

The book focuses on the reasons why things stick through the six elements of the STEPPS model presented in the book:

Social Currency - we share things that make us look good
Triggers -
Interesting and disturbing. Does someone share a link on FB for social credit, or are they moved by something to the point they feel they must share it? (This may explain why some of my FB friends feel the need to fill the news feed with dozens of pictures & links on any given day). And, totally unrelated, why do I occaisionally crave a Kit Kat bar?

"Contagious: Why Things Catch On" addresses these questions and much more. And it makes me wonder how far into our psyches, and social media, are
First, I want to disclose that I received this book for free.

Secondly, I think it's definitely worth picking up. I enjoyed a lot of the references the book makes to social currency and things that have been viral hits in the marketing world. It makes the book feel very current. That being said, I'm not sure if this book would age very well. Although the author breaks things down (almost to too much of an extent for my liking) the examples are ones that are only relevant to people who have spent
Everyone has a theory about why ideas go viral, but Jonah Berger has studied the phenomenon and it’s not all babies and cats. In Contagious: Why Things Catch On, the Wharton school professor outlines what all contagious ideas have in common. He draws on marketing campaigns and YouTube videos that have gone viral, including Google’s quirky Parisian Love campaign, Susan Boyle’s unforgettable rendition of I Dreamed a Dream, and the one of the greatest customer complaints ever, United Breaks Guitars ...more
I received Contagious via BzzAgent. I kept it around a few weeks and looked at it and always thought, "What a great cover!" I finally started reading it on my trip to this past week. Let me just tell you, I read this whole book in a 4 1/2 hour flight! I have never been so intrigued by Berger's principles and writing style. It was very easy to understand and also to apply what he was saying to my own life. The examples he used were very current and straight forward. I loved every chapter. Each ch ...more
Bookkaholic Magazine
(See our full review over at Bookkaholic.) Fans of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference will either love or hate Contagious. Berger's book shares many similarities to Gladwell's, so the comparison is inevitable, though readers may be disappointed to find that Contagious is not as innovative, well-researched, or well-written. But that doesn't mean it isn't good. It's just a little lighter, geared more toward non-business people. Berger's writing is i ...more
This was an alright book. It's interesting to learn about different products or movements (or Youtube videos, I guess) that have gone viral. But this would have been much more enjoyable if the author didn't repeat every single point twenty times. Maybe all popular non-fiction books are like that. Maybe that's why they're popular.

My other issue is that the STEPPS (the necessary elements for making something contagious) are evidence-based, but not really proven. I'm sure it's not an exact science,
This book was absolutely fantastic. Great stories, easy to read and wonderful insights about the reality of what makes some ideas spread while others (that you think would) don't! You can get some tangible recommendations that are relevant to any business, leader, movement maker or change agent!
Jurgen Appelo
Great overview of viral marketing, good stories, credible research, engaging style.
Mar 20, 2013 Supriya added it
Shelves: cool-stuff
im not really sure about this book
Savvas Katseas
Ενδιαφέρον το Contagious -- πατάει επάνω στο γνωστό (πλέον) μονοπάτι των "εξανθρωπισμένων" επιστημονικών βιβλίων, προσπαθώντας να εξηγήσει το γιατί ιδέες ή προϊόντα γίνονται μεταδοτικά, με όρους που ο Μέσος Μήτσος μπορεί να καταλάβει.

Πέραν των γνωστών κινδύνων ("μου τα είπες τόσο απλά που άλλα κατάλαβα") η κύρια κριτική που μπορεί να γίνει σ' ένα τέτοιο βιβλίο/θεώρηση είναι αυτή του cherrypicking: τα παραδείγματα είναι λίγα, και κάποιος θα μπορούσε εύκολα να πει πως "βολεύουν την κύρια θεωρία".
Nelson Zagalo
This is a book about marketing, but not only that, it talks about a myriad of things that make us click.

Jonah Berger, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania, wanted to understand what makes things goes viral. He started tracking the most e-mailed articles from the New York Times, and between August 2008 and February 2009, his team tracked more than 7,500 articles. With this they had plenty of data to work upon.

The book starts with this study, but develops, supported
Lorrie Mccullers
Mar 29, 2013 Lorrie Mccullers rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lorrie by: BzzAgent
Shelves: read-in-2013
As a blogger always looking to increase traffic, I found "Contagious: Why Things Catch On" a good read.

The book gives 6 clear STEPPS to creating your own buzz, even if the product is not an exciting one. Jonah Berger hits home the idea that it is often not the product but the way you present it that makes it go viral in the ever-burgeoning world of social media.

Berger's STEPPS:
Social Currency - we share things that make us look good
Triggers - Top of mind, tip of tongue
Emotion - When we care, w
Jennifer McGee
Apr 23, 2013 Jennifer McGee rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jennifer by: Goodreads Giveaway
Shelves: 4-real
Witty, insighful and full of mind-blowing and yet such simple concepts! I was hooked from the first page and drawn in further with each passing chapter.

I thank Simon and Schuster, as well as Jonah Berger, for awarding me with this Goodreads First Reads copy of Contagious: Why Things Catch On before it has even been released to the public. It is good to see that you not only teach the concepts of your book, but you put them into practice in ways that will benefit you and your publisher. I have a
Aaron Thibeault
*A full executive summary of this book is available here:

It is only recently, with the rise of the internet, that the term ‘viral’ has gone, well, viral. But the phenomenon of social pandemics—ideas, products and behaviors, that catch on and spread quickly and widely—has been around presumably as long as sociality itself. The phenomenon is interesting in its own right, for it says something meaningful about our psychology and how we interact. However, und
The movie Inception blew my mind. This book had the exact same effect. First, this book made me realize the STEPPS (haha!) that I need to take if I ever want to his 1,000,000 views on Youtube (a current goal of mine--after that many views you make money). So not only is it useful in my personal life (it would also be very useful in advertising or marketing) but it helped me realize the way I act as an effect of what I encounter in my daily life.

For example: My roommates and I buy a lot of specia
Lisa Niver
Enjoy my review of Wharton "Iron Professor" Jonah Berger's book in the Frankly Penn Alum Blog:

I did not realize when I picked Penn (after being admitted early decision in December 1984), that class would still be in session in 2013 while traveling on a local bus in Nepal! During this trip, I read Contagious, Why Things Catch On, because as a traveler, teacher, and writer it sounded extremely compelling. I too wanted to learn how to “create contagious cont
Jenn Fenton
I'm currently in an MBA program for Marketing and I found this book extremely relevant to my studies. I was able to read this book prior to release at no cost thanks to BzzAgent and I'm glad I got to read it.

There have been arguments in some of the reviews on different websites that the information provided by the author was obvious and unremarkably generic. While some of these examples may have seemed that they were just common sense, the explanations are what made it more interesting. More tha
onah Berger investigates the social implications of why ideas and products spread the way they do. There are plenty of case studies in this book, but it's more than just a rundown of interesting stories. It's a psychological look at why we are moved by the things we are. It is focused on the human element of social sensations.

Berger's research led to six principles of contagious ideas, each is covered in detail in its own chapter, and easily remembered using the acronym STEPPS: Social Currency,
Caitlin Moyer
"Guys, we need to make a viral video."

How many of you have heard this from some naive marketer, or maybe a top-level boss who doesn't understand how it works? Most smart marketers know that you can't MAKE something go viral, it's something that just happens. But why does it? Why do some things take off and some fall flat?

Jonah Berger's book uses research and case studies to explore some of the answers and he's come up with some guiding principles that can help increase your chance of success.

Apr 05, 2013 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: social science enthusiasts
Recommended to Judy by: Amazon
Using six "STEPPS" from a class he teaches at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Jonah Berger details how things catch on with the public. The book is easy-to-read, interesting and well-researched. I found it much in the vein of Malcolm Gladwell's bestselling books, but would give the journalistic edge to Gladwell.

Berger's 6 "STEPPS" come from research of viral You Tube videos, businesses that used quirky ideas to break into competitive markets, etc. The stories a
Contagious - The general thought what I had before reading the book was things spread because it was different on something. This book has various other dimensions on how things go viral. Intrigued by the fact how social currency work, people tell things to others so that they look good, the example for this was very clear with person standing on the line to get the first iPhone. Triggers - If the trigger worked in a right way at the right moment then people talk about the product and it catches ...more
We've all looked at our computer screens and wondered, sometimes with disgust, how the latest viral video got so popular. Why are people sharing something that seems so useless over and over? Why do I keep seeing the same story from multiple people? What is making me want to click that share button?

Jonah Berger ventures into answering those questions in his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On. After identifying six elements that help ideas stick, Berger walks through examples of each element, g
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FULL Creative Lib...: Contagious 1 5 Mar 05, 2014 10:56AM  
Goodreads All Sorts: This topic has been closed to new comments. Contagious Book Giveaway! 116 119 Apr 01, 2013 10:51AM  
To November 2nd Winners: Anyone got copy of book? 1 18 Nov 30, 2012 07:49PM  
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How Ideas Spread He Walks Like a Cowboy: One Man's Journey Through Life with a Disability Contagioso. Cómo conseguir que tus productos e ideas tengan éxito Contagio: el poder del boca a boca en la comunicación viral: 1 Buzz: Waarom wordt iets viral? (of toch niet)

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“People don't think in terms of information. They think in terms of narratives. But while people focus on the story itself, information comes along for the ride.” 6 likes
“Virality isn’t born, it’s made.” 5 likes
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