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I'll Have What She's Having: Mapping Social Behavior (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life) Hardcover – August 26, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

[A] highly informative tool-kit for understanding the exchange of knowledge and behaviour between people and is a must-read for anyone engaged in marketing and social media.

(Collyn Ahart YCN)

It's fascinating, thought-provoking, and contains some really useful, practical structures around using data around a business to understand what sort of market you're in.

(John V. Willshire Smithery)

I'll Have What She's Having has profound implications for marketing. People are much less individual than we thought and much more influenced by other people than we realized.

(John Kearon, Founder, CEO, and Chief Juicer, BrainJuicer Group PLC)

This book is a very sophisticated treatment of the most critical influence on consumer decision-making. Every marketing plan must include this thinking in order to have a chance of being successful.

(Robert Barocci, President and CEO, The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF))

Our community of shared ideas and practices comes from a process of imitation we are loath to acknowledge. (In fact our sharing comes from stealing.) But let us not repeat the error here. Bentley, Earls, and O'Brien deserve our unstinting thanks for this thoroughly lively, elegant, intelligent, useful, and companionable book. I for one intend to borrow from it liberally. You should too.

(Grant McCracken, anthropologist and author of Chief Culture Officer: How to Create a Living, Breathing Corporation)

Social networks and the power of word of mouth are increasingly important today. If you have been looking for social influence models corresponding to rational decision theory and behavioral economics, this is the book for you. Insightful examples and innovative mapping of collective behavior make this a fun and must-read book.

(Yoram (Jerry) Wind, Lauder Professor and Director of the SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)

Review

"[A] highly informative tool-kit for understanding the exchange of knowledge and behaviour between people and is a must-read for anyone engaged in marketing and social media." -- Collyn Ahart, YCN "It's fascinating, thought-provoking, and contains some really useful, practical structures around using data around a business to understand what sort of market you're in." -- John V. Willshire, Smithery " I'll Have What She's Having has profound implications for marketing. People are much less individual than we thought and much more influenced by other people than we realized." -- John Kearon, Founder, CEO, and Chief Juicer, BrainJuicer Group PLC -- John Kearon "This book is a very sophisticated treatment of the most critical influence on consumer decision-making. Every marketing plan must include this thinking in order to have a chance of being successful." -- Robert Barocci, President and CEO, The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) -- Robert Barocci "Our community of shared ideas and practices comes from a process of imitation we are loath to acknowledge. (In fact our sharing comes from stealing.) But let us not repeat the error here. Bentley, Earls, and O'Brien deserve our unstinting thanks for this thoroughly lively, elegant, intelligent, useful, and companionable book. I for one intend to borrow from it liberally. You should too." -- Grant McCracken, anthropologist and author of Chief Culture Officer: How to Create a Living, Breathing Corporation -- Grant McCracken "Social networks and the power of word of mouth are increasingly important today. If you have been looking for social influence models corresponding to rational decision theory and behavioral economics, this is the book for you. Insightful examples and innovative mapping of collective behavior make this a fun and must-read book." -- Yoram (Jerry) Wind, Lauder Professor and Director of the SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania -- Jerry Wind --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (August 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026201615X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262016155
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book covers the topic of how and why ideas spread. Overall, it is reminiscent of Gladwell's "The Tipping Point", but may years on and with fewer anecdotes and better references.

The title comes from a scene in "When Harry Met Sally". After observing a seated woman apparently having an orgasm, a customer tells the waiter: "I'll have what she's having".

The book offers an evolution-free interpretation of cultural change. However, culture is an evolutionary process - and, without evolutionary theory, scientific approaches to cultural change are poorly grounded. The main result is that this book is very basic. Without the ability to draw on existing evolutionary theory, all the fundamental topics need to be reinvented. The authors do this, but don't get far beyond the topics of "diffusion" and "cascades". Peter Richerson gets one mention. Robert Boyd gets one mention. Joe Henrich gets one mention. Memes get an entry in the index - but no actual content. There is one mention of "mind viruses" - but that's about a close as the authors get to the concept of cultural evolution. Instead of talking about "epidemics"the authors stick to biology-free terminology - "avalanches", "wildfires" - and so on.

For an evolution-free discussion of cultural evolution the book is quite good. However, without evolutionary theory, the book is stuck in a pre-Darwinian mindset that forces the authors to reinvent the wheel and leaves the book conceptually lagging behind other treatments of the topic.
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Format: Hardcover
The main point is supremely important to anyone who wants to influence people. We are a 'we' species, not a 'me' species. This has implications for messaging, for education, for choice architecture, and for consumer and psych research. For instance, it raises serious questions about our habit of directly asking people why they do or buy or listen to certain things: no one would ever admit they wear Uggs (or drink Budweiser or listen to Rihanna) just because others do. "No, I think for myself and choose what I like. It expresses my individuality. It tastes better. Etc."

The book itself is conversational, but it's also extremely dense. A single page might reference fractal geometry, Walmart, the long tail, cascade evolution, cognition, and slang trends. Wait--one page actually does reference all that. If you've read about these theories before, you'll be able to follow along better. If not, it might come across as a rich, sweet pastry of cool theories.

The ending was a bit unsatisfying. First, they point out that we basically can't predict trends--which is true if we expect 100% accuracy, but it's not universal. Even their own analogy about weather forecasts points out how much we actually can predict on micro and macro scales (el Nino, heat waves, storm tracking, daily forecasts, etc). Second, on the very last page, they suggest their theory of social copying could be tested with some datasets. I wish that was part of the book, and I look forward to seeing the research when it' done.

Still, for breadth, for the main thesis, and for brevity, it's a great read.
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Format: Hardcover
Mark Earls has the rare ability to take complex problems and explain them simply and clearly. This book is, therefore, a must read for any business decision maker who wants to truly understand why their customers are doing what they are doing, and, critically, how to change that.

Like many good ideas it will challenge assumptions, and will doubtless force the marketers who read it to accept that maybe they don't know as much as they think they do

Delivered with color, charm and wit Earls is required reading for responsible thinking in today's business environment.
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Format: Hardcover
"I'll Have What She's Having" severs the Gordian-like knots that currently entangle our culture, human behavioral norms and conventions.

I recommend this book and especially its conceptual map within, which considers "...populations different than individuals. Even when individual decisions are defined very simply, their aggregate effects at the population scale" show how often our behavior default is to simply copy others.

As the authors describe there's choice, guesses and directed copying of experts, but the real gem is the map corner depicting 'undirected' copying. This is where there are many seemingly similar options (as well as many people involved). All too often, societies look to government and institutions for solutions to remedy what only culture can deliver.

`Undirected' copying is an unexpected story weave, so let's savor this book and apply its map to understand "Social Learning, En Masse," Chapter 4 and how to better create "Cascades," Chapter 5.
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Format: Hardcover
The title of this study of social behavior comes from the Katz Deli scene in the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally. One woman observes another appearing to have an orgasm at a nearby table and tells the waiter: "I'll have what she's having." The title serves as useful shorthand for the human practices of imitation, replication and diffusion of ideas. Academics Alex Bentley and Michael J. O'Brien and consultant Mark Earls offer lucid prose and easy-to-follow examples in their fine introduction to social behavior. getAbstract recommends their insights to those interested in greater self-knowledge, social change, or marketing and innovation.
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