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Publisher's Summary

Why do certain products and ideas go viral? Dynamic young Wharton professor Jonah Berger draws on his research to explain the six steps that make products or ideas contagious.

Why do some products get more word of mouth than others? Why does some online content go viral? Word of mouth makes products, ideas, and behaviors catch on. It's more influential than advertising and far more effective.

Can you create word of mouth for your product or idea? According to Berger, you can. Whether you operate a neighborhood restaurant, a corporation with hundreds of employees, or are running for a local office for the first time, the steps that can help your product or idea become viral are the same.

Contagious is filled with fascinating information drawn from Berger's research. You will be surprised to learn, for example, just how little word of mouth is generated online versus elsewhere. Already praised by Dan Ariely and Dan Gilbert, and sold in nine countries, this book is a must-listen for people who want their projects and ideas to succeed.

©2013 Social Dynamics Group, LLC (P)2013 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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A Primer on Viral & Memorable Marketing

This is a must-read for anyone professionally involved in the creation of advertising. It's written for people without background on the subject, but does such a good job in organizing and clarifying the principles that it's a good read for even marketing veterans.

Berger does an excellent job exploring and detailing the message elements that cause people to remember advertising messages and stories, and to want to pass around those stories (with or without embedded ad messages). The book explores 6 principles involved in why things catch on:

* social currency
* triggers
* emotion
* public
* practical value
* stories

These principles serve as a checklist for the creation of advertising, especially any advertising that attempts to be viral.

28 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • ANDRÉ
  • ORLANDO, FL, United States
  • 04-28-13

I will read it again!

This book is a great one-- I think it has more content than "The Tipping Point" from Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm's explanation why things become popular or viral is because of weak ties... But Contagious goes deeper-- Jonah Berger finds 6 reasons. And it all makes sense.
Very well written and with a great performance by Keith Nobbs.
I bought this book to my father and brother and they are liking it.
Read it, and you will like it too.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Breaing through the ice.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I find that some of the case studies that were reffered to as evidence for his points were effective but at times lend themselves to other intrepretations from a marketing perspective which leaves doubt as to what really causes something to be contagious.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Taking on this question, whethere or not he is right or wrong is what makes it interesting. there isn`t much solid evidence or a clear reasoning for why something becomes contagious so it is a brave effort on his part to theorize in a book.

Did Contagious inspire you to do anything?

No. I feel like there are little nuggets of information which are useful but nothing mindblowing enough to make me incorporate it into my work and daily life as a marketer.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Lots of examples of things that have gone viral

The six principles in making ideas contagious are:
1. Social currency (is it cool to know and spread the idea)
2. Triggers (is the idea associated with something that comes up often so it triggers people to talk about the idea)
3. Emotion (do people care about the idea; people share what they care about)
4. Publicity (is the idea or product out in the public)
5. Practical Value (are people eager to share the idea with friends)
6. Stories (is it delivered in a compelling story, not in a boring message)

The author gives many examples of how each of these principles can make an idea contagious. A supermarket tested playing different types of music and measured the sales of wine. When French music was played, more French wines were purchased. When German music was played, more German wines were purchased. Remember the Kit Kat "Gimme a Break" campaign? As people were taking a break and having a cup of coffee (trigger), the thought of a tasty snack popped into their head (emotion). Or what about the Budweiser's "Wassup" commercials? A bunch of Budweiser drinkers were saying "wassup," which then reinforced the behavior of hanging out with friends and drinking Budweiser. The Movember Foundation made charity giving for men's health (normally private information) into an annual conversation topic as men sported moustaches in November (public).

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 03-12-13

actionable!

Berger does a great job of breaking down the various elements that when working together, create a contagious effect. He then provides a recipe for maximizing the chance that your initiative will be contagious. Super narration and fast listen.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Started off good but...

The first couple chapters were fairly interesting. However, the rest seemed like regurgitated, general, obvious, useless information. Very simple concepts drawn out far beyond necessary. Alot of filler, waste of time.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • angie
  • leeds, al, United States
  • 06-07-13

One I will listen to again

Where does Contagious rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's in the same catagory that I put Malcolm Gladwell.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

This book has helped me in business and social circles and explains the psychology behind the connections.

What about Keith Nobbs’s performance did you like?

He held my attention with his narrative

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

social currency

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Grant
  • NANTUCKET, MA, United States
  • 05-29-13

There's no magic to it.

I work in the area of creative commerce and nearly all of the points made in this book about stickiness and compelling content on the internet were true 20 years ago in other media. The rules of engagement with consumers and audiences have not changed. Just the battlefield has. This alone is good to know, but does not justify the time one must dedicate to listening to this piece — a mixed bag, from which I'm not sure I gleaned many points that I can use in my daily work. It's just more of the same old pseudo-experts attempting to write "rules" on how creative people catch lightning in a bottle. Creative people, on the other hand, do not need those rules, as they know innately how to compel.

26 of 34 people found this review helpful

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Smart, but painfully verbose

The author’s advice on marketing makes sense, but I found his audiobook a stressful listen, as his endless stories, spelled out in a host petty details really distracted from the message. It would have benefited from a much tighter re-write.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Excellent on all fronts.

What other book might you compare Contagious to and why?

The Tipping Point. It's like the sequel to the Tipping Point, which I also enjoyed.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Social Currency. I love that expression.

Any additional comments?

The narration blends very well with the content to the point the narrator sounds like he is the author. The book is a collection of lessons framed in stories that have practical application for just about any business. This is the first book that anyone of ambition should read or listen to. I've listened to it twice and will listen to it again in the future I'm sure.<br/><br/>Highly recommended.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Russell tolliday
  • 06-14-15

Amazing! Essential for entrepreneurs!

This book is incredible, if you're running your own business or trying to promote anything you HAVE to read this book.

It starts with laying the terminology that will be used in the book and then builds and builds with examples that you can apply to your project straight away.

Also it's so enjoyable and interesting, I listened effortlessly and enjoyed every second. A must must read!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Francis West
  • 02-26-16

Brilliant

So much learning in this book. Recommend it to all IT company owners. A must read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • finch76
  • 09-30-15

Practical

Liked that the examples are practical.
Easy to follow. Very interesting, that they are memorable!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • jermaine
  • 08-11-15

GREAT!

some very insightful information, would definitely recommend for any one who is attempting to generate exposure Dorset their products.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 04-01-15

Few points made

although seemingly interesting throughout listening, in hindsight very few points are really highlighted, and of those most are not original insights

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Alex M
  • 04-16-15

Refreshing

Contagious stood out for me. I've read a tonne of books, often left disappointed with the rehashed content. Contagious has modern and interesting examples and gives a practical recipe for giving your idea every chance of success, all whilst keeping it simple. Well worth the money. Enjoy!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Quan M. Ngo
  • 11-19-17

Good short book

Like the title said, it tries to explain why. But it doesn't explain how. I also think that in many cases it tries to reverse engineer the success, but that's might not be exactly how things happened as there can be other factors.
Anyway it's a good short book that I recommend

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-12-17

Incredible

This is my new Bible for marketing. I loved it and I'll be putting to good use over the next few years.

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  • Kuda Kadere
  • 10-05-17

amazing soo far , soo upto date with current times

currently one of the most invaluable books to date . Very upto date applicable to 2017 and beyond
.

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  • PaulMcTaggart
  • 10-04-17

Highly Recommended

This book offers great practical value on how to harness and access word of mouth in order to help you product or ideas become contagious.

The range of real life examples are extremely effective in evoking thought provoking questions about your own product/idea and how you can apply them.

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  • jimjim
  • 01-22-17

Never really delivered...

I kept waiting for something revealing or interesting to come along. But it never happened. It was More discussing why things such as YouTube videos become viral than educating or enlightening the reader...disappointing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michelle
  • 02-01-15

The most brilliant marketing book ever written

I have read hundreds of matketing books and blogs and never has the content been so brilliantly represented. Packed full of real world examples and statistics, with a clear checklist on what is needed, easy to understand, beautifully narrated and very interesting content.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jack
  • 01-28-15

Modernising the tipping point

If you like any of Malcolm Gladwell's work you are sure to like contagious. Great analogies and well written. Full marks Jonah Berger!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-19-17

Perfecr for the aspiring entrepreneur

practical and concise with enough case studies and examples to support its conclusions.
Would recommend to anyone that wants to sell or share anything.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-19-17

Surprisingly so relevant to authors

I decided to listen to this audiobook in preparation for writing my first novel. I wasn't sure if it would be relevant enough, but it surprised me how valuable it was in the planning of my product - a fictional novel - opening my mind to ideas on how to make it contagious. I loved how clear and simple the steps were laid out, and the remarkable stories to demonstrate each concept. I could not recommend this book enough!

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  • Lynda
  • 06-07-17

A book I will listen to multiple times

So valuable. I loved every moment and the narrator was great to listen to. Lots of ahh hah moments

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  • Rowan
  • 10-22-16

Great Audio Book Experience

with a clear narration and engaging content i couldn't help but enjiy this book. thank you

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  • amanda
  • 08-30-16

Highly Recommended

Interesting, practical content for anyone trying to promote or sell a product, service or idea.

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  • Kyle Stagoll
  • 02-01-16

Brilliant

great book, really imformative... I now understand what makes things go viral, or I should say Contagious...

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  • Shane
  • 04-16-15

Highly Exceptional

Contagious put the wow factor into Business Science!!

Very useful information that shines light on why some things become more contagious than others through out society and social spaces!!