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Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives -- How Your Friends' Friends' Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do Paperback – January 12, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (January 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316036137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316036139
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Harvard professor and health care policy specialist Christakis (Death Foretold: Prophecy and Prognosis in Medical Care) became interested in social connectivity when observing that the mortality rate of spouses spike after a partner passes away. Christakis sought out a collaboration with Fowler, a health systems and political scientist, and together they compare topology (the hows of a given structure) across different social networks to better explain how participation and positioning enhances the effectiveness of an individual, and why the "whole" of a network is "greater than the sum of its parts." Five basic rules describe the relationship between individuals and their networks-including mutual adaptation, the influence of friends and friends' friends, the network's "life of its own"-but the results do more than promote the good of the group: they also spread contagions; create "epidemics" of obesity, smoking and substance abuse; disseminate fads and markets; alter voting patterns; and more. A thorough but popular take on a complex phenomenon, this volume offers an entertaining guide to the mechanics and importance of human networking. 13 b/w illustrations, 8-page color insert.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Christakis and Fowler have written the book on the exciting new science of social networks. CONNECTED could change your life forever. How? Read it yourself and find out."—Daniel Gilbert, bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness

"In a category of works of brilliant originality that can stimulate and enlighten and can sometimes even change the way we understand the world."—The New York Times

"Groundbreaking."—Kirkus

"An entertaining guide to the mechanics and importance of human networking."—Publishers Weekly

"Engaging and insightful...sure-to-be a blockbuster...Connected succeeds in connecting with its audience."—SeedMagazine.com

"Illuminating...The authors excel at drawing out the devil in the detail. Connected has profound implications."—New Scientist

"Intriguing."—SmartMoney.com

"Connected explores the startling intricacies of social networks."—O, The Oprah Magazine

"Could well be one of the most important works of the decade. Full of fascinating stories and examples. A must read."—Ed Diener, Joseph Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology University of Illinois and author of Happiness

"In a social world exploding with new ways to interact, Connected is a user's guide for ourselves in the 21st century."—Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics and author of Predictably Irrational

"A God's-eye view of social relationships that may make you dizzy. Every business leader, teacher, and parent should see their life from this vantage."—Chip Heath, coauthor Made to Stick

"A lively, well-written account of social networks and their power to shape our lives. The world becomes smaller and more meaningful after reading this engaging book."—Sudhir Venkatesh, author of Gang Leader for a Day

"The possibility that we all participate in one mind challenges religion, philosophy, and the meaning of life itself."—Deepak Chopra, San Francisco Chronicle

"[In a category of] works of brilliant originality that can stimulate and enlighten and can sometimes even change the way we understand the world."—The New York Times

"A clever, cogent, and enjoyable look at the latest thinking about humans in community. It provides a swath of important research in one place for readers and makes it a stimulating read."

Michael Fitzgerald, Boston Globe

"An intellectual but accessible approach. The authors make a persuasive case for the power of social networks to affect everything and everyone."—Business Week

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Customer Reviews

Writing style: I enjoyed reading this book.
Brian Needham
Dr Christakis and Dr. Fowler have written for the scientific world, NY Times and lay reader - all who are part of the network.
Kathryn Schultz
I read this book when it was first published in 2009 but am only now getting around to re-reading and then reviewing it.
Robert Morris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 84 people found the following review helpful By moderate user on December 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
While the statistics in the original journal articles might be fine, the authors do not present the interpretations in a particularly convincing way. Many interpretations given are just stated and the reader is apparently supposed to accept that explanation without evidence why it is the correct explanation. Even I can think of alternate explanations for some of their observed data.
Also, in many chapters the point is made and then elaborated upon for pages when they could've stopped much earlier--or else instead of just restating the same conclusions over-and-over, they could've told why other explanations don't work.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jay C. Smith on November 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Nicholas A. Christakis (MD, PhD) and James H. Fowler (PhD) hold a high opinion about the potential value of their own field of expertise: "If we do not understand social networks, we cannot hope to fully understand either ourselves or the world we inhabit." Having read their book Connected I am generally inclined to agree with them, although I remain skeptical of much they have to say, including the validity of some of their most attention-grabbing conclusions. The book exhibits many of the merits that accrue when scientific authors are skilled at writing for a popular audience, but it also illustrates some of the perils that arise when complex and technical research details are truncated to make the product palatable for non-specialists. Nevertheless, anyone with a serious interest in the social sciences, public health, or public policy generally, but not previously fully-versed in social network analysis, should find Connected very instructive.

That is my summary judgment and you can stop here if you just want to understand why I assigned four stars. Connected is rich in content and I apologize that to summarize the book fairly and further justify my evaluation requires considerably more words, quite likely more than you may want to read at this point.

Social networks consist of humans and the connections between them. Most of us are members of "multiplex" networks involving different kinds of connections such as family, close friends, coworkers, neighbors, acquaintances, and so on. We can be either directly connected to others (first degree of separation), or indirectly so, through the second degree (a friend of a friend, for instance) up to about six degrees of separation to cover the globe.
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49 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Schultz on September 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. Sensitive, aware people perceive on a daily basis that actions, behaviors and emotions impact the lives of those around us, but the science that proves conclusively that your behaviors are impacting mine, my spouse's and friend's in Idaho offers such hope for improvement in the cosmic social network of which we all have our "connectedness". I loved the anecdotal stories - Nicholas and Erika meeting, the Starbucks employee, crazy unstoppable laughter - to which each reader will add additional network stories. We are connected, like it or not, so perhaps we can all start behaving in ways that benefit the entire network. Everyone who reads this will think twice about the impact of cutting someone off in traffic. Dr Christakis and Dr. Fowler have written for the scientific world, NY Times and lay reader - all who are part of the network.
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful By B. Kim on October 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Connected" by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler is one of the most important books you will ever read. In this insightful and thought-provoking book, the authors explore our social networks and their powerful shaping role in our daily lives. The authors show that the powerful role of social networks obeys the Three Degrees of Influence Rule, meaning that our behaviors have impact on our friends, our friends' friends, and our friends' friends' friends. This amazing fact can be applied to human experience as diverse as happiness, loneliness and other emotions, political views, sex, and health. For example, happiness can spread through social networks from person to person to person, and our health behaviors can affect those of our friends, our friends' friends, and even our friends' friends' friends.

As I perused this book twice since its publication, I found reading "Connected" very delightful since it presents a constellation of thought-provoking, and sometimes counter-intuitive, ideas on social networks. We can enjoy the book solely for the purpose of enhancing our knowledge. But I think this book is much more than that and has meaningful implications in various ways. First and foremost, the book has very important implications for policymakers. For instance, as the authors articulated in Chapter 4, social-network perspectives can offer a whole new set of cost-effective public-health interventions. This innovative approach is particularly relevant at a time when soaring costs of health care are a major issue and health care reform is gaining momentum. Many policymakers now know that nudging is important, but they don't know how to implement it. This book provides a good answer.

Second, "Connected" has significant implications for academia as well.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S Collins on January 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Connected by Nicholas A. Christakis Md, PhD and James H. Fowler, PhD is a fascinating and intriguing novel. Christakis and Fowler expose the extraordinary connections within different social networks. The way they analyze how everyone is connected within "six degrees" of each other. It is also interesting how they adopted the conclusion that emotions can spread from and to "three degrees" away from you. For example, my friend's friend's friend is upset because her dog died, her being upset could ripple through the social network and upset me. In addition, they grasped my attention when they began to explain how our behaviors mimic each other. Christakis and Fowler have observed that people react in ways similar to their co-workers, friends and/or family. This observation makes me wonder how many of my reactions are mirrored reactions of those around me and how many are solely mine? Surprisingly they believe the way others portray people as attractive or not so attractive can also be spread through the "three degrees" and mimicry. I guess the idea of individualism doesn't really apply in this novel because it is all based on the fact that we are all connected in some way whether it be personal and/or emotional.

Furthermore, I believe this book was difficult to read because Christakis and Fowler went into so much depth with every concept they brought up. Many times throughout the novel I noticed myself getting bored with the text and having a hard time finishing each section. Most of the subsections within the novel were explained so much that I started to get confused with some of the ideas they were trying to express. Besides the fact that the authors had a hard time finding the appropriate amount of text for their concepts; they tackled a large and very interesting subjects and did a fantastic job exposing all the sides of social networks.
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