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.
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