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Publisher's Summary

One of the Best Books of 2020 - Financial Times
One of the "Most 2020 Books of 2020" - Washington Post
One of the Best Science Books of 2020 - The Times of London
One of the Best Science Books of 2020 - The Guardian

From ideas and infections to financial crises and fake news, an "utterly timely" look at why the science of outbreaks is the science of modern life

These days, whenever anything spreads, whether it's a YouTube fad or a political rumor, we say it went viral. But how does virality actually work? In The Rules of Contagion, epidemiologist Adam Kucharski explores topics including gun violence, online manipulation, and, of course, outbreaks of disease to show how much we get wrong about contagion, and how astonishing the real science is. Why did the president retweet a Mussolini quote as his own? Why do financial bubbles take off so quickly? Why are disinformation campaigns so effective? And what makes the emergence of new illnesses - such as MERS, SARS, or the coronavirus disease COVID-19 - so challenging? 

By uncovering the crucial factors driving outbreaks, we can see how things really spread - and what we can do about it. Whether you are an author seeking an audience, a defender of truth, or simply someone interested in human social behavior, The Rules of Contagion is an essential guide to modern life. 

©2020 Adam Kucharski (P)2020 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"The Rules of Contagion is popular science at its best. The prose is sparkling and clear. The subject is deeply fascinating and highly relevant. Touching on psychology, medicine, network theory and mathematics, epidemiologist Adam Kucharski has written a brilliant and authoritative guide to the hidden laws of how things spread - from ideas and memes, to violence and deadly viruses. An example of its subject matter, this book is also highly contagious: once you have read it, you will want to make sure others read it too." (Alex Bellos, author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland)

"Perfect timing.... Prepares the ground comprehensively for readers to make sense of what is happening today, by distilling the wisdom gathered by studying previous epidemics over more than a century." (Financial Times)

"Learned and lucid.... Coronavirus has prompted hot-headed public and media reaction; this book offers comfort in the form of cold, hard facts." (The Prospect)

What listeners say about The Rules of Contagion

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Brilliant and so relavent

I had a 10 year career in epidemiology and went to the best school and yet with this book I still learned tons! It was fascinating to see how the same principles of epidemiology can be applied so broadly to address so many issues!

So well written ! And I am so impressed by the authors knowledge base! I’m hoping his genius is contagious

6 people found this helpful

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Understood, then?

Recommend to those who are interested in this subject, but not expect any practical benefit.

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Needs an addendum for Covid19

Horrible narration
Fascinating write
Desperately needs a new chapter to address the Covid epidemic
High relevancy

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting, to a Point

Interesting, but repetitious. Follows the notion that if you say something often enough and loudly enough, it becomes true. Every example was slanted politically, and you can guess which side was always on the bottom.