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Contagious: Why Things Catch On

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,882 Ratings  ·  856 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, they listen
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Simon & Schuster (first published March 1st 2013)
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Mar 07, 2013 Liz rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
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
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
Jun 15, 2014 David rated it liked it
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
Mar 06, 2016 James rated it really liked it
Great marketing book and a good way to see why some of the dollars you spend are not working. It's interesting to take the 6 factors discussed and review them against your corporate advertising. Does your company have any ideas that fit those factors that would make them great items to share and if not, how can you start too.

Also liked the discussion on vaccines where one physicians publication started tons of rumblings in the medical field around it being a cause of a neurodisorder. This was u
Srikanth Srk
Feb 13, 2015 Srikanth Srk rated it really liked it
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
Jan 09, 2013 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it
“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
Sep 15, 2014 Jason rated it it was ok
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
Jay Connor
Aug 01, 2013 Jay Connor rated it really liked it
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
Bibash Sapkota
Apr 26, 2016 Bibash Sapkota rated it really liked it
तपाईँको लयापटपमाथि हेरनुस त ! कमपनीको लोगो किन तयता पटटि फरकिएको छ ?
चाउचाउहरूले किन आशचरयजनक तथय लेखेको कुपन राखछन ?
Ncell लाई Paisa Back अफरबाट के फाइदा हुनछ ?
MRRमा Group मेमबर बनन राखिएको Restrictionले गरुपको लोकपरियतामा कसतो असर पारेको होला ?
तपाईलाई यसता परशनहरूको उततर जानन मन छ भने "Contagious: why things catch on" नामक पुसतक उपयोगी हुन सकछ ।
कुनै कुरा किन भाइरल बनछन, अरू किन बनदैनन भनने विषयबसतु समेटिएर लेखिएको किताब हो । तर यसले भाइरल भइसकेका कुराहरूको विशलेषण गरछ । कुनै कुरा भाइरल बनछ कि बन
Dec 09, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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 -
Apr 13, 2013 Sheila rated it really liked it
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
Mar 13, 2013 Danie rated it really liked it
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
Feb 28, 2013 Andrew rated it liked it
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
Mar 15, 2013 Jackie rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 15, 2013 Bookkaholic Magazine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
(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
May 21, 2015 Alex rated it liked it
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,
Aug 30, 2013 Ariana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: entreprenerds
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!
Brooke Barnhardt
Mar 04, 2015 Brooke Barnhardt rated it really liked it
Berger’s research has revealed that there are 6 main factors that help explain social pandemics. 1. Social Currency; 2. Triggers; 3. Emotion; 4. Public; 5. Practical Value; and 6. Stories
Jurgen Appelo
Aug 29, 2013 Jurgen Appelo rated it it was amazing
Great overview of viral marketing, good stories, credible research, engaging style.
Йона Бергер вивів дуже чіткі і легкі до запам’ятовування принципи віральності (вірусного поширення інформації). Резюме цієї книжки можна розмістити на кількох сторінках, а самі принципи вписуються у виведену автором формулу "STEPPS". все інше - тільки ілюстрації прикладами з реклами та маркетингу, що є впізнаваними більше за кордоном, ніж у нас. Проте висновки, до яких прийшов автор, хоч і не багаточисельні, зате не голослівні - вони підкріплені дослідженнями і масштабним аналізом віральних мате ...more
Mar 20, 2013 Supriya added it
Shelves: cool-stuff
im not really sure about this book
Feb 04, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Good book on six triggers that cause things to go viral:

1. Social Currency: We share things that make us look good.
2. Triggers: Top of mind, tip of tongue.
3. Emotion: When we care, we share.
4. Public: Built to show, built to grow.
5. Practical Value: News you can use.
6. Stories: Information travels under the guise of idle chatter.

The Power of Awe. Awe is the sense of wonder and amazement that occurs when someone is inspired by great knowledge, beauty, sublimity or might. It's the experienc
Savvas Katseas
Dec 29, 2014 Savvas Katseas rated it really liked it
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
Dec 06, 2014 Nelson Zagalo rated it really liked it
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 really liked it
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 Love
Apr 23, 2013 Jennifer Love rated it really liked it
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
Apr 04, 2013 Aaron Thibeault rated it it was amazing
*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
Mar 13, 2013 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
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
May 31, 2013 Lisa Niver rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business-of-life
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
Mar 14, 2013 Jenn Fenton rated it really liked it
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
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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.” 7 likes
“Virality isn’t born, it’s made.” 6 likes
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