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Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives Hardcover – September 28, 2009
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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.
"[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
"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
"Connected explores the startling intricacies of social networks."―O, The Oprah Magazine
"The book has all sorts of interesting information about how our friends influence our lives, for better and for worse."―MarieClaire.com
"Connected argues convincingly that it's not enough to understand how individuals behave. The book details examples of how individual behaviors affect other members of a social network."-ScienceNews.com
"This wonderful book by Christakis and Fowler could well be one of the most important works of the decade. In a clear and engaging way, the authors apply their creative and provocative findings on social networks to understanding not only our social relationships but also the forces that shape our world. Full of fascinating stories and examples, this book is essential in understanding our very nature. A must read."―Ed Diener, Joseph Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology University of Illinois and author of Happiness
"Fascinating... the dozens of interconnected stories of research findings by Chriastkis and Fowler and others leave me eager to learn about the next wave of research in this area."―Andrew Gelman, author of Red State, Blue State
"What makes us human -- for good and bad -- is our social nature. Nowhere is this complex, wonderful, and sometimes dark part of us more clearly revealed than in Connected. 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, author Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
"An old adage tells us, 'You can't chose your family.' After reading Connected, you will find that you can't choose many things in your life. Others choose them for you! Christakis and Fowler take a fresh look at an old idea: that who we know matters. Connected is a lively, well-written account of social networks and their power to shape our lives. Complicated ideas become easy to understand and the mysteries of science unfold in front of your eyes. The world becomes smaller and more meaningful after reading this engaging book."―Sudhir Venkatesh, author of Gang Leader for a Day
"From health and happiness to fads and financial markets, Christakis and Fowler take us on a dazzling tour of the world of social networks. And in showing how these networks matter in our individual lives, the authors also make the deeper point that "network thinking" is the key to understanding how all our lives fit together."-Duncan Watts, author of Six Degrees
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a very considerable piece of work and it's has deep implications for understanding human behaviors. This book is pretty dense and well organized. Read morePublished 1 day ago by ap
I found this book quite interesting. It was not easy to read but interesting enough to keep me engaged. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Anthony Bosnick
There's good information in here, but the chapters are just too drawn out. At first, it's bearable because some new facts are presented along the way, but as you read more and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Thomas Kolodziejczak
Connected is a very intriguing book that makes you aware of situations or events that can affect you even though you weren't there. For example your friends friends cat died. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mr.Bill
I actually rather liked this book but I hated the class I had to read it for.Published 5 months ago by K. Eoghan Schwope
Interesting and useful in many ways. But Connected fails to give any serious attention the most productive social network; the market. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Dwight R. Lee
There are some very good central messages around this book but it is supported by too much fluff to fill the book outPublished 8 months ago by Amazon customer