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Publisher's Summary

What makes one novel a bestseller, while a similar work languishes unnoticed? Why are the same few baby names suddenly everywhere? Why is everyone talking about that viral video?

Welcome to the science of social epidemics: the cutting-edge study of why some ideas, products, and concepts spread wildly, while others quickly flame out.

Anyone who has something to sell, a cause to promote, or a message to spread knows that there are obstacles in creating a message that resonates, spreads, and sticks to make their product or idea the word on the street.

Enormous sums of time and money have been spent trying to answer the question of why some ideas catch on. And not only is it an ever-present challenge for businesses, governments, and organizations, but it has long been a source of inquiry for psychologists, economists, and sociologists as well.

Now, in How Ideas Spread, discover what researchers studying the science of social transmission have learned. Taught by Jonah Berger - a best-selling author, expert in social dynamics, and faculty member at the Wharton School - this enlightening course draws on lessons from business, social psychology, economics, and popular culture to give you the cross-disciplinary tools necessary to identify and promote contagious ideas that last.

Across 12 half-hour lectures filled with absorbing stories and intriguing information, you'll learn the psychological and sociological mechanisms that lead products, ideas, and behaviors to catch on, plus specific techniques that can be applied in your personal and professional life, whatever your field or interest. Listen to one powerful case study after another to find out how to leverage three main concepts—individual psychology, social influence, and social networks—to design infectious messages. Whether you're a professional seeking guidance on crafting products and messages that grab hold, or you just want insights into how viral trends work, this course will open your eyes to the power of contagious ideas.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2014 The Great Courses (P)2014 The Teaching Company, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Great informative content at the cost of a few ads

Berger delivers great readily actionable knowledge based on social psychology and other studies and the only problem with the exposition is that some examples are obviously sponsored (JetBlue I am looking at you), although the concepts expressed are still valid.

One of the most memorable moments of How Ideas Spread was when it explained how flashy logos on apparel and accessories define you as a lesser person in the eyes of those who are really into fashion and how this is part of a cyclical behavior in the fashion market.

There are many things to learn from How Ideas Spread that I would use in my daily life, actually almost all of it, but first of all not to spend any effort and even less money, looking for the attention of an influencer.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Clear, well-structured, compelling

The presentation if this course was clear. The ideas were well-structured, the explanation practical and practically demonstrated through life stories and examples...

Compelling!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Basically a live rendition of Contagious

I was hoping for some more content in addition to Contagious. However, I really enjoyed the author's narration.
If you haven't read/listened to Jonah's other book, this lecture series will be fascinating.
I'm glad I listened to this and would like to read more of Dr. Berger'a work.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Totally enjoyed

How or why I would ever crave to listen to lectures again, I don't know. But, I really do like the class like structure of many of the Great Courses. It's like reliving a favorite college class without having to stress about mid terms, finals, etc. You can just listen, contemplate, enjoy, and move on. If only college were this stress free.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Narrator was soooo repetittive!

I thought I would really like this book, but the narrator was annoying and spoke in a sing-songy manner. Very elementary in concept and delivery.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very clear and engaging

I loved this lecture series. It was much shorter than other lecture series I have listened to (only 5 hours). Berger was extremely clear and used excellent data from interesting studies. This was some of the best stuff I remember from my undergraduate days studying cognitive neuroscience. Why ideas spread definitely fits into the notion of "sexy science."

No prerequisite needed. Berger makes it simple yet thorough.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Blend of Business, Communications and Psychology

I decided to listen to this course because it looked interesting even though I do not have a background in the topic. The course is a great blend of equal parts business/marketing, communications and psychology. The professor explores the various ways that ideas spread from word-of-mouth to directed advertising to internet blogging. He explains concepts such as "social influencers" that help ideas become trendy. The professor gives many real world examples and describes experiments used to validate theories. For example, the professor describes a study where researchers induced popular college students to wear yellow armbands. The researchers observed how other students followed the trend. The researches then induced college students viewed as "nerdy" to wear the same bands and observed how quickly the trend of wearing the bands died. This illustrated the example of negative social influence. The professor also described a similar experiment involving the selection of popular music: when unpopular groups embraced certain bands, others changed their musical preferences to avoid identifying with the unpopular groups. The same study also examined the selection of laundry detergent. The study found that the adoption of a particular detergent brand by an unpopular group did not deter others from selecting the same detergent. The study illustrated that socially identifying products like music preference can be highly influenced by others while products that do not carry aspects of social identity, such as detergent, are not as impacted by the preference of others. These are a just a few of the fascinating issues covered in the class. My only complaint about the course is its length. This course covers a lot of ground in just six hours, which leaves many topics just barely scratched.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Really good information

This book is actually better than I anticipated. Excellent research. I would highly recommend this to any marketing person. Thanks

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Good but not very original

Ideas already familiar from other books on the subject and related subjects, relatively shallow overview with little actionable takeaways. Recommend only if have no knowledge of the subject at all.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • A. Haase
  • Denver, CO United States
  • 06-17-16

Marketing 101

Good coverage of what motivates a typical person and what techniques are used in promoting ideas and products.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • CC
  • 06-09-15

Very interesting and useful

I thoroughly enjoyed this. I listened to loads of audio books and few are as interesting as this one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Santiago
  • 02-21-17

Very good book

Fundamental concepts in human nature that you can apply to designing effective marketing or communications.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-15-16

Good Info, fascinating, on viral spread of ideas

Narrator was very engaging with good stories.
Most chapters were excellent, good insights based on research, explaining how many ideas and products spread in the modern world ~ for example, watching iPhones getting blended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • stryder
  • 04-21-16

Very useful

Good short series of lectures looking at psychology and sociology of communication, tech and marketing.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-24-16

Too superficial.

Could have been condensed in to only a few lectures. The information that was presented was interesting however, there was not enough to satisfactorily fill the course. For me this only got somewhat interesting after around lecture 7.