Read Connected: How Your Friends' Friends' Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do by Nicholas A. Christakis James H. Fowler Online


The Internet age has provoked some quips that Andy Warhol's "in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes" has been superseded by "in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen people." At this point, few would deny the major significance of social networks, but perhaps those proliferating people connections have never been presented as vividly or as entThe Internet age has provoked some quips that Andy Warhol's "in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes" has been superseded by "in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen people." At this point, few would deny the major significance of social networks, but perhaps those proliferating people connections have never been presented as vividly or as entertainingly as in this book. In Connected, versatile Harvard scientist Nicholas Christakis and University of California political science professor James Fowler make a compelling case that social networks hold powerful influence over our health, taste, wealth, happiness, beliefs, and even our weight. Never have contagions been so entertaining....

Title : Connected: How Your Friends' Friends' Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do
Author :
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ISBN : 9780316036139
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 348 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Connected: How Your Friends' Friends' Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do Reviews

  • Trevor
    2019-03-03 09:02

    There are a number of things I’ve been thinking about lately and quite a few of those things are discussed here in this book. So, in a sense I should have found this much more interesting than I did. Overall, I was a little disappointed even though I think this book has an important message and has interesting things to say about a number of incredibly important issues.If I had written this book…It is hard to say just what the perfect society might be for humans, but what we have today seems pretty close on a number of counts. We live longer now, a larger number of us live (potentially, at least) worthwhile lives that we have some measure of control and choice over, and compared to any other time in history we are probably less likely to die from random acts of violence. However, paradoxically, we probably feel less happy and less in control of our lives today than our ancestors ever did before. I think a lot of this has to do with our feelings of connected and disconnectedness.We like to think of ourselves as ‘individuals’. We are attracted to stories of those who go off on their own – monks or Jesus into the wilderness or Nietzsche’s Zarathustra living in his cave and coming down from the mountains – and then for these loners, purified by their social isolation, to somehow come back to us and to tell us of the path, of the way. A foundational myth within our culture is that society itself is insane and that it is only individuals (and even then only certain and of necessity very few individuals) who are in fact both wise and sane. As Nietzsche himself puts it, “Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, nations and ages is it the rule.”However, we forget (or overlook the fact) that human individuals don’t really exist, at least, not the romantic individuals of these myths. I think part of the appeal of these myths is that we tend to be confused by the fact that we are constrained to look out at the world through a single set of eyes and that it is this optical illusion that deludes us into forgetting how much we are shaped and defined by the society we find ourselves immersed within. Surveys have been done that show not only that we are remarkably well connected with all other humans – the idea of ‘six degrees of separation’ has become a cliché – but also other surveys show that if your friend’s friend loses weight then you are also likely to lose weight. The friends of our friends play more of a role in our lives than we might ever want to imagine – so much so that if you are looking for a new partner (sexual or otherwise) a good strategy is to join Facebook and start flicking through the profiles of your friend’s friends. Throughout history that one step remove has been the most likely source of our partners.We have also come to think of the world as hierarchical. We think of the world as having the President of the USA on the very top (or maybe Rupert Murdoch, if I’m feeling particularly disheartened) and we then shimmy down the branches of the great tree until we find ourselves at the roots somewhere in an African or in a Latin American slum, you know, inhabited by the sorts of people that even if a million of them were to die it would not generate the news print of a particularly bad rail accident somewhere in the first world. (Think I exaggerate? like to think in symbols – we like to think in simple schemes. So, if we can think of all Orientals as Muslims and of all Muslims as terrorists and fanatics and all terrorists and fanatics as not like us, well, it simplifies and justifies both our current mistreatments of ‘them’ and our refusal to do anything, to make any change. We have created simple dichotomies (us = good, free, moral, superior; them = bad, fanatical, misguided, childlike) and with these schemes we are able to overlook any atrocity that is committed in our name and by our hand.But what if we were to move away from hierarchical structures and simple dichotomies and toward building and strengthening the networks and connections that already exist between people. Because so many of our current myths are directly opposed to such an idea. How would you react to the challenge of The Third Man? Tax free or not, the lives of others are not the same as the lives of ants, even if they do prove hard to comprehend at anything like a little distance. In a week where a madman has cut a scythe through so many images that cluster around US democracy – a 9/11 child, a judge, a Jewish congress woman, a pair of grandparents – the paradoxes and contradictions and confusions of who is valuable and who is not, who should live and who die, who counts and who does not, have all become messy and confused in ways of aching complexity. As much as I would like to endorse Obama’s words, “Let's make sure it's not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle” or to believe with him “that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us”, a few things I have witnessed this week help to confound that hope.When Sarah Palin says, “Don’t retreat. Reload” or when she produces a poster with gun sights marking the states were she wishes Republicans to defeat Democrats in elections, I struggle to see these actions of hers as anything but an incitement to murder, as an incitement to her supporters to shoot her political adversaries. When she is then outraged that people might take her actions or her words or the images she has produced on their face value, I can only conclude that either she is utterly disingenuous or that she and I live in completely incommensurable worlds. To put that in plain language, I can’t help feeling that she is either a liar or that we simply don’t speak the same language.And when you watch the first moments of Obama’s speech it is difficult not to feel for him as he tries to control the audience, an audience so unsure of how to react at such a time, in such a circumstance. An audience that can only think to cheer. It is sad, almost sad beyond words, but we seem to have become a world that has forgotten that silence speaks louder and is more articulate than applause.What this book teaches us is that normalising behaviours is incredibly powerful within our societies. If we choose to normalise hatred and anger and fear we will get one particular type of society. Nevertheless, there is an alternative.This book looks at experiments such as the Milgram prison one (, but also at other experiments showing how acts of altruism spread. This book offers hope – hope that if we can view others as people, rather than categories or types, perhaps we can avoid inflicting the ever-increasing electric shocks onto a screaming other. And as in the Seven Up series, we will quickly see that people are rarely fully defined by their class or the box we might like to place them in – that learning anything about people at all displays their remarkable diversity and that is what we must embrace – it is our sole life line.The most fascinating experiment in this book is told around Second Life – a computer site I’ve avoided like the plague for fear of it erasing too much of my first life. All of this section of the book is fascinating (not least the ‘affairs’ committed in cyberspace, with virtual sex tracked by virtual private investigators leading to actual divorce), but what I found infinitely more interesting was the fact that when they allocated people avatars in cyberspace at random, avatars of a different sex to the physical sex of the ‘player’ – the player’s behaviour (including how close they might stand to other players and the likelihood of ‘eye contact’ they would hold) morphed to be identical to that of the socially appropriate behaviours of any other member of that socially constructed gender to which they had been assigned. I have to admit that I found this surprising, but I don’t for a minute doubt its veracity. This book also refers to The Wisdom of Crowds, a book that has convinced me we need to ensure greater and in fact unconstrained diversity if we are to have a future – diversity of opinion, of life style, of belief. Somehow we need to find ways to increase the access and voice of those who in our society remain outside and voiceless. We need to challenge the masks we ourselves wear, particularly those we don’t even know we have on; like gender, class, nation and race.Perhaps the only way to liberate ourselves from the faux individualism that dresses us up in our various identities is to recognise the power of the forces shaping us and the equally remarkable power we have to affect change, not only in ourselves, but also in those around us and those around them. With our good actions we can literally make a better world.

  • Margie
    2019-03-20 06:51

    I've read a couple of reviews by professionals, and have been really surprised that everyone focuses on the content, and no one mentions how poorly organized the book is.The data is very interesting and compelling. And the authors aren't bad writers. But I'm simply stunned that people who talk about using visualization software to map the topology of social networks can't come up with some workable, organized map of how to present their findings. They seem to rely on having interesting anecdotes and studies to report, rather than having a clearly articulated plan for conveying the information.There were many, many points at which I found myself wondering whether the conclusions presented were drawn directly from some research or were merely interesting thoughts the authors had. I finally got so frustrated that I quit the book about halfway through.Fascinating stuff. And if one doesn't care a whit about how the information is presented, one might enjoy this book. I now have a copy I'm willing to pass on.

  • Jason
    2019-03-11 04:58

    The Superorganism. We've animated! We've vivified. Social Media, social networking, geolocation, Goodreads, bookmarking, news aggregators, RSS feeds, it goes on and on. We've layered ourselves in so many overlapping, four-dimensional, self-annealing, anfractuous networks that we exist as single honeycombs in a living hive of millions. There are invisible lines that leave your body and connect to other people in ways you can't even represent on paper, exploding outward in fractal, logarithmic steps to the rest of the world. These connections can be both perennial or ephemeral, durable or solvent, obvious or perplexing, and usually several types at once. But, they are as essential--though seemingly unrelated--to the same organism as kidneys and a hypothalamus.We know what it means to have Six Degrees of Separation between us, ala Kevin Bacon. Connected now presents us the next maxim in the formula that defines the Superorganism. There are 'Three Degrees of Influence,' no more, and generally no less. In other words, you are influenced most by your first degree of friends; next by the second degree of friend's friends; and finally by a third degree of friend's friend's friends. You don't even know those people, and yet, using repeatable mathematical rigor, the experiments show that we are ultimately affected by Three Degrees of Influence. Sure, it's less influence at each degree, but the unknown people in your myriad networks yield a certain, empirical influence over your actions. I shit you not. For my new friends on Goodreads, that means my buddy from high school has a new work co-worker that now, from Three Degrees of Separation, can influence your thoughts, decisions, and attitudes. It seems absolutely ridiculous, but the PhD authors have employed CRAY 1 supercomputers to cull trillions of nodes and billions of interactions, and have arrived at numbers that are amazingly replicable--and replicable over networks of different kind, shape and form.In a network of thousands of people there are bizarre clumpings of obesity, depression, athleticism, obsessive-compulsion, white collar crime, hyperlipidemia, and political persuasion. Some of these seem intuitive, but how the heck can my high school buddy's new co-worker affect your triglycerides? Is it possible that your ex-lover's new partner should affect my diet! "No," you say. WRONG. And here's the book to prove it.Connected presents more material than just a proof of Three Degrees of Influence. The book explains how and, more importantly, why humans live in these networks. This is not an anthropological study, but there are some interesting tidbits about where you should be in your network (central or peripheral) when there's an unexpected outbreak of genital warts, depression, or criminal activity. You also learn to what extent social media has complicated, extended, and entangled your lives with others. As sociologists begin to plumb the data of Web 3.0, a brave new world is coming into focus, and it's a world of helpful, intriguing, unbelievable connectedness.Twopointsomething rounded up to 3 stars. The book is well-paced and revealing enough. Unfortunately the publisher restrained these PhDs, making the book more palatable to America's sixth grade reading level. I would have preferred a more academic and data-based presentation. Too bad they gloss over the real mechanics of networks and how they morph around like fresh water pseudopods.

  • Erika RS
    2019-02-23 06:17

    This book had some great information packed inside of a repetitive package that wasn't very sticky.Once you picked up the key ideas, most of the conclusions followed in a fairly obvious manner. The key ideas or, at least, the ones that I remember, were: - Network influence tends to travel three degrees before shrinking to statistical insignificance. You influence your friends, friends' friends, and friends' friends' friends, and they influence you back. The strength of influence decreases with each separation, but the number of people influenced increases. - Network effects are real. They persist even once researchers account for other sources of similarity in the network such as homophily (the tendency for like to be connected to like) and common external factors (people near each other in the network may share experiences).Everything travels across the network -- ideas, emotional state, behavior, disease, etc. -- and because of the three degrees of influence rule, you only have limited control over what you are exposed to and who you can influence. - Not all network ties are equal (weak ties and strong ties). The most important information tends to come from ties that are distant or weak. This is because you have a pretty good idea of the information held by those connected with close, strong ties. For example, people tend to find jobs and relationship opportunities through distant or weak ties because they have generally already evaluated the opportunities presented by their strong, close ties. Distance brings information that you have not already incorporated.Once you know these principles, much of the rest of the book becomes fairly straightforward.The authors did present some compelling information in their discussion of the internet. Based on studies that they and others have done, they concluded that relationships on the internet tend to be largely the same as traditional relationships. The mix may have changed (more weak ties, perhaps) and the means of network maintenance have certainly changed, but, for better and worse, people are still largely the same creatures.Overall, I am glad that I read this book. The information was interesting even if the presentation was less than gripping. The information in the book consisted almost exclusively of real studies, so the conclusions seem well founded, even if not surprising.

  • Glenn Myers
    2019-03-22 02:50

    Only three stars for this well-researched, original and intriguing book, mainly because I was much more interested in the original and intriguing conclusions rather than the many pages of social and psychological research and anecdote. These Harvard profs doubtless want to strut their academic stuff but I would have liked (at least) more in the way of summary and signpost, For all that, fascinating, thought-provoking and one of those books that makes you think differently for ever after. Here are some of the things I learnt from reading (and extrapolating from) this book. 1. We won't understand humans just by thinking of individuals, or yet of social class or race, So things about us are only explicable by seeing us as part of networks. For example, stock market crashes (or exuberance) are much more explained by people being influenced by the network around them, rather than the facts. 2. We affect others in many striking and unexpected ways, and these effects only die out after three degrees of separation: friends of friends of friends.Happiness, obesity, suicide, political affiliation, how piano teachers find new pupils, all show up as clusters in networks. Many things work better (health messages, evangelism) when we think of reaching a network rather than reaching a set of individuals. Persuade a well-connected person to change, and change may spread through the network; persuade someone on the edge of things, and only her or she may change. 3.. All of us instinctively seem to know or pick up our place in a given network, eg workplace, new church etc. We know if we're on the edge; we know if we're well-connected, and that knowledge affects our wellbeing. 4, Because we influence others so much (I think) it is important who speaks first at a meeting. The second speaker has the option of tweaking or agreeing (easy) or radically disagreeing (hard). If a queue of people have already agreed, it's even harder to disagree and harder still to carry the day.5. A fruitful place to find all kinds of new relationship (romantic, business etc) is the network of your friends' friends. It's a much larger network than the one just made up of your friends, but it's also preselected to be full of possibly congenial people and both you and they are have a place to start your relationship that is superior to the cold call or the chance meeting.6. Creative teams work well when they are (a) small and very interconnected and (b) loosely connected to others so that they can get fresh creative input. A team of people just thrown together doesn't work too well, nor does one who all know each other very well and have nothing fresh coming in from outside.

  • Raluca Popescu
    2019-02-27 02:09

    A rather "classical" pop-science book, using simplified research and examples to explain, this time, the interesting-ness and power of human networks. Going from prehistoric social mechanisms to digital hyperconnectivity, Christakis and Fowler make a point about how our web of human relationships ends up defining who we are. An enjoyable and well-structured read finished up with an extensive reading list for the research-oriented.

  • Nick Argiriou
    2019-02-25 09:14

    Connectivity theory ή η θεωρία της δικτύωσης: Οι συγγραφείς κάνουν εξαιρετική δουλειά στο να αναγνωρίσουν και να μεταδώσουν τον τρόπο της κοινωνικής δικτύωσης που έχει μείνει απαρράλαχτος από την εποχή των σπηλαίων ως στη σημερινή εποχή της διαδικτυακής εγγύτητας, αλλά και αυτές που έχουν διαμορφώσει καινούριες ατομικές και κοινωνικές σχετικότητες. Έτσι ο κόσμος μας απαρτίζεται από κυρίως “συνεργατικούς” ανθρώπους ανάμεσα στους οποίους βρίσκονται και κάποιοι “παρτάκηδες”, που όμως αντιμετωπίζουν τους “τιμωρούς” με τα ποσοστά τους να διαφέρουν κατά καιρούς και κατά επιμέρους κοινωνία και να χρειάζεται όλα τα μέρη να επανατοποθετούνται ανάλογα, συμπληρούμενη από κάποια μοναχικά άτομα στην περιφέρεια του κοινωνικού ιστού, που όμως δεν είναι και τόσο μοναχικά ή άσχετα με το γενικότερο γίγνεσθαι. Ο αριθμός των ατόμων που έχουμε στενούς φίλους μπορεί να είναι περίπου 7, ο αριθμός για μια ομαλά εξελισσόμενη συζήτηση περίπου 4, και ο αριθμός ενός συνόλου με κοινό σκοπό δύσκολα υπερβαίνει τα 150, με ιδανικότερο το 120. Όλα αυτά με πολύ ωραία εύκολα κατανοητή διήγηση των συγγραφέων. Μέτρησα επίσης ότι για τις 300 σελίδες του βιβλίου χρειάστηκα περίπου 15 ώρες ανάγνωσης, χωρίς να βιάζομαι, και ξαναδιάβασα κάποιες σελίδες. Συστήνεται για όλους, πολύ χρήσιμο και απολαυστικό.

  • Charlene
    2019-03-24 01:08

    Because I love networks, love Stanley Milgram, love the many social network studies that make for entertaining reading, I thought I would love this book. Far from loving it, I found it extremely annoying. So much old guard evolutionary bullshit. This book deserves to be shelved with David Buss, Dawkins, and Helen Fisher. What a terrible thing to do to such a great subject.

  • Ann
    2019-03-09 04:00

    I thought this was a "blah" book, and that was just because first of all, I couldn't figure out what the big idea was, and second, I felt that the idea was not developed, just iterated. The idea seems to be that we are influenced not just by the people we interact with directly, but with the people who know the people we know. A game of "three degrees of separation", essentially. Well, I didn't find that so surprising or shocking. The authors try very hard to make this idea sound groundbreaking, such as in the assertion that "obesity is contagious" (you tend to gain weight if people around you gain weight). The problem with all of these examples, whether it's health behavior, sexually transmitted diseases, political ideas or what-have-you, is that while the behavior itself can be traced through the networks, it was never clear to me why and how the behavior spread. If people around you start gaining weight, do you reset your values ("It's actually not so bad to be a little chubby"), or do you change your behaviors ("I don't want to gain weight like X") ? You can always make out a case either way. It also seemed to me that all the effort that went into tracing the networks between people was just an enormous amount of complicated work to prove that, well, people influence other people. It just sounded unnecessarily complicated to me. Do you really have to draw these enormous networks to find out how promiscuous high school students transmit syphilis? And haven't infectious disease specialists been tracking the contacts of patients with TBC or HIV for decades? Anyway, this book left me unconvinced and indifferent. It all sounds very high-tech, very clever, but I didn't see anything particularly original or brilliant.

  • Dirk
    2019-02-24 01:12

    The book is very interesting as it provides a readable and intelligible introduction into studies of networks and social networks. It has been written by two promoters of social network theory. Hence you won't find any critique of the theories they promote in this book. For example the transposition of the network concepts from the natural sciences onto the social sciences remains unquestioned although there is a 100year old history of studies that criticise such transpositions. In particular, the description of social networks as "superorganism" did not agree with me. Furthermore, it remains unclear where long established sociological concepts like group and organisation sit within the network approach argued for in this book. Also, there are inconsistencies in the place of individuals in networks, in particular when the authors introduce the notion of 'memory' into their network concept.The book however offers a vast amount of examples to support network theory. I would recommend it to everyone interested in these approaches. I keep on looking for a book that links social network theory to existing theories and concepts in the social sciences.One author who has embarked in this direction is Nick Crossley who book Relational Sociology will next on my list to read when I am ready for another book concerned with (social) networks.

  • Thomas Edmund
    2019-02-27 07:58

    Non-fiction is always such a risk, especially anything that could be considered pop-psychology. Connected paid off however, presenting an interesting thesis, with little page filler or rehash of psyc 101 concepts (that so many pop-psychology books suffer from)The focus is on human networks - not entirely online social media as one could be forgiven for assuming - but a thorough review of 'real life' online and political connections between groups of people.If you're one to read non-fiction to pickup interesting factoids to share, this book is definitely recommended. Not to say Connected is trite, there is plenty of depth equally balanced with simple and interesting vignette's about people's social behavior.Chapters 1-6 are strongest, 7-9 are still interesting, however I felt like online networking probably generates enough material for an entire other book, and Connected perhaps skimmed over the topic (don't get me wrong the chapters still have some very interesting points)In summary, Connected is a relatively low-controversy, comfortable read with plenty of humor and knowledge that will surely content anyone who delves into its pages.

  • Jason Carney
    2019-02-27 08:10

    This is a wonderful book. The thesis is that we are profoundly influenced by our family, friends, and friends of friends (which sounds inane, but it's developed wonderfully), but it also emphasizes how we can influence our family, friends, and friends of friends. This book really makes you question your assumption that you are a free agent, in control of your personal beliefs, your emotional states, your physical health. But it's message is also empowering, to the extent that it amplifies your personal decisions by reminding you that they will very likely resonate with others in ways you could not anticipate. The writers suggest that, in large part, we are a product of our social network and our location in the social network. A practical tid-bit I took from this book is that making connections with other people is much more important, complicated, and high-stakes than we might intuitively, and mindlessly, think.

  • Andy Oram
    2019-03-04 04:00

    Most of the research in this book has already been widely reported inthe popular press--a sign of its value--but like the phenomena theauthors describe, the book is much greater than the sum of its parts.The carefully build a view of life from many areas of social science(while generally admitting that there are alternative ways tointerpret the phenomena) and end up with one of those "big ideas" thatpublishers love. I'm quite willing to entertain this big idea: theways we informally connect to each other defines us as people andinfluences our behavior profoundly. I did notice, however, that theauthors moved more freely than I'd like between strong evidencesupported by quantitative research and conclusions based onspeculation about what caused the results.

  • Michelle
    2019-03-10 04:14

    very sluggish read despite some very interesting stories and statistics dispersed throughout. it read more like a textbook which immediately turned my mind off. i had to read in small doses. The information learned, I've recounted numerous times yet i would not read again. Perhaps an abbreviated or abstract form would be more desirable; at least for me.

  • Michael
    2019-02-25 07:52

    The latest social science and psychology of social networks is delivered in this very readable work by Christakis and Fowler. The authors demonstrate the dynamics and importance of social networks in health, happiness, crime and addictions among many other, often surprising, findings. The implications of these insights for medicine, economics and social policy are huge. Transformative work.

  • Cathy
    2019-03-11 09:13

    This was a good read. It reminded me of Teilhard de Chardin's theory about humankind evolving toward the Omega point. I learned a little about the mechanisms of influence among people and the description of political polarization was really good!

  • Tonkica
    2019-03-01 02:49

    Nista novoga... :-P

  • Melike Beykoz
    2019-03-22 03:07

    This is an interesting book discussing how social networks effect our lives.Some highlights from the book are:• Our connections – our friends, their friends, and even their friends’ friends influence how we live, think, behave etc.• Our interconnection is not only a natural and necessary part of our lives but also a force for good.• Our connections with others effect emotions, sex, health, politics, money, evolution, and technology. And this makes us human. To know who we are, we must understand how we are connected.• Social networks have the power of spreading happiness, generosity, and love.• Humans deliberately make and remake their social networks all the time.• We seek out those people who share our interests, histories, and dreams.• There is a tendency of human beings to influence and copy one another. They also copy their friends’ friends, and their friends’ friends’ friends.• Our influence gradually dissipates and ceases to have a noticeable effect on people beyond the social frontier that lies at 3 degrees of separation.• If we are connected to everyone else by 6 degrees and we can influence them up to 3 degrees, then one way to think about ourselves is that each of us can reach about halfway to everyone else on the planet.• Depression, obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, financial panic, violence, and even suicide also spread. Social networks, it turns out, tend to magnify whatever they are seeded with.• Emotions of all sorts, joyful or otherwise, can spread between pairs of people and among larger groups.• Our own anxiety makes us sick, but so does the anxiety of others.• A person is about 15% more likely to be happy if a directly connected person (at one degree of separation) is happy.• Having happy friends and relatives appears to be a more effective predictor of happiness than earning more money.• The existence of the social relationship itself may improve one’s happiness• Each happy friend a person has increases that person’s probability of being happy by about 9%.• People with more friends of friends were also more likely to be happy.• A happy sibling who lives less than a mile away increases your chance of happiness by 14%• Long-term happiness depends 50% on a person’s genetic set point, 10% on their circumstances (e.g., where they live, how rich they are, how healthy they are), and 40% on what they choose to think and do.• Each extra friend reduces by about 2 days the number of days we feel lonely each year.• On average people feel lonely 48 days per year,• Loneliness is both a cause and a consequence of becoming disconnected.• We would rather be a fish in a small pond than bigger fish in an ocean filled with whales.• Being married adds 7 years to a man’s life and 2 years to a woman’s life— better benefits than most medical treatments. • Obesity is contagious.• Connections that can make us happy can also make us suicidal.• Our health also depends quite literally on the biology, choices, and actions of those around us.• Most workers found jobs via old college friends, past workmates, or previous employers.• Knowledge is power, and knowing what the network is doing is the first step toward solving potential problems.• Voting is contagious.• Changes in technology may be altering the way we live in our social networks and may have profound effects on the way we govern ourselves.• Because we are connected to others, and because we have evolved to care about others, we take the well-being of others into account when we make choices about what to do.• People who felt a connection to God would have a way of feeling connected to others, because through God everyone is a “friend of a friend.”• The expected size of social groups in humans, based on our big brains, should be about 150.(Dunbar’s number)• Like the telephone or the fax machine, an online social network is not useful until many other people are also using it.

  • Babsi
    2019-03-07 02:17

    I came across this book at my uncle's who had gotten it as a present and the title seemed very promising. I have to say, it didn't disappoint since it described how our connections influence us in different parts of our lives. So why did I give it only a 3 star rating?Well, one thing that bothered me and for which I deducted a star was that the maps that the authors are constantly referring to are dispersed throughout the book and sometimes I wasn't sure which exact map they were describing. It would have been nice to have them above or below the description which they sometimes did but especially when they talked about the ones in color they should have at least have a page number next to the referral so you can actually go to the page and look at them while reading about them. Printing all the multicolored ones next to each other was probably done to save money which I get but their position in the book simply was confusing. If you decide to cluster them all together then at least add them in an appendix and refer to them instead of just randomly adding them in the middle of the book.Another reason, why I deducted a star was because I felt like the book was reiterating the same findings over and over again up to a point where I actually felt fed up with the repetition. I get that the authors applied their findings to different areas and did thorough research and I respect that. I also understand that in order for their findings to be valid they needed to make their premises explicit. However, I do feel that the authors could have just referred to their initial assumptions instead of reiterating them. Instead they could have focused more on the implications of their actual findings. One thing that I am still a bit unsure about is if genes influence our ability to connect with others and determine our position within the networks how can we overcome them?That being said, I think it was an informative and stimulating read that challenges assumptions and made me reflect on my own position within networks.

  • Danuta Janiszewski
    2019-03-04 06:18

    I was interested in this book due to my work around culture and how culture/ideas spread. Though this was written in 2009? 2010?, the book is still somewhat relevant and holds timely examples and case studies.Though I found the conjecture entertaining and interesting (and something that can pad a marketing idea/deck), I found the lack of “why”, or attempt to answer “why” disheartening. Though the authors do a great job of creating correlations behind networks and certain factors like generosity, health, beliefs and political institutions, they do not attempt to answer or prove out why these things happen. Psychology isn’t discussed, sociology is barely mentioned as a tool/method outside of studies referenced and forget anthropology. I would have loved to have read why out networks are so influential.Also, the ending chapter on race and inequality/inequity was atrocious. For having one of the authors be a sociologist was disappointing. But then I googled him and realized he was the ill-fated professor from Yale who believed his “freedom of speech” / freedom to patronize marginalized identities was more important than listening and building connections with his own network of students and their truths.Oh well!

  • Wade
    2019-03-14 05:19

    This is an interesting overview of social connections and how the impact us and our world. The authors cite a lot of studies and include a lot of interesting data that shows how "friends' friends' friends'" impact us. The use this analysis to look at crime, altruism, sexually transmitted infections, weight gain or loss, and social inequality. It's all interesting and somehow simultaneously intuitively truthful and mind-bending.The one thing that's missing for me is the "how" part. Maybe their explanations were too dense, but somehow I didn't get a great sense of how the impacts happen. They do a good job of proving and showing how a person's location within a given network of people has an impact on their behavior, health, and other life dimensions. But somehow I got lost in understanding the mechanisms of how it works. Maybe that's too much to ask - or maybe the research hasn't identified it - or maybe I just didn't get it.At any rate, I still would recommend this book for the overview of social networks (the human-human kind, not the purely cyber kind) impact us, and how this field of research sits within the research on individual behaviors and group/culture studies.

  • Rossdavidh
    2019-02-25 06:13

    Subtitle: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. This is a book by those researchers who demonstrated that if your friends get fat, you are more likely to get fat, and if you ditch your fat friends for skinny ones, you will be more likely to get skinny. Also, if your friends get divorced, it makes your marriage more likely to end in divorce, and if most of your friends are not divorced the odds of your marriage staying together are better.So, you know, fun guys.They don't spend much of their time talking about the fat and divorce research, but it's easily the aspect of their research that got the most attention. They also discovered things like the fact that $5,000 in your pocket has less of an impact on your happiness than how happy your friends' friends (who you don't know) are. This kind of thing is tricky to measure, because you have to untangle how much is cause, and how much is affect. For example, if you hang out with the sort of people who got especially depressed upon hearing that Steve Jobs had died, then it is not unlikely that your friends' friends are also at least somewhat impacted, and it's no great finding that you all got depressed at the same time. What's trickier is to discover that your friends' friends getting happy (or sad) can in and of itself impact your happiness, even though they're not your friends.In many ways, Christakis and Fowler are rediscovering an old piece of wisdom (what happens in your community impacts you, not just what happens in your immediate family and circle of friends), one that the conservative half of this country would be much less surprised at than the liberal half (e.g. the finding that divorces make other marriages more likely to break up). What is new is the precision with which they can measure the effect. For example, the discovery that people with social networks where many of their friends don't know each other, but many do (neither isolated nor excessively fractured) are the most likely to be able to sway an election by the way they vote, both by increasing the number of people voting and because most of the people you know, have similar opinions to you about who to vote for. If all of your friends know each other, your behavior has an influence mostly only within that circle, and if all of your friends don't know each other, they don't reinforce the impact on each other. If you have a toe in several different circles of friends, but not too many, the impact of your behavior is maximized.There are a few quite busy color plates in this book, representing things like obesity, heart disease, sexual partners, and political blogs' links (guess what: we're just as polarized there as it seems). They also do a fair job of showing how the same patterns can be recognized across each of these topics, with effects for better or worse.I have to admit that I waffled back and forth on my opinion of this book, depending on the chapter (or even the page). In many cases they did present new (at least to me) evidence, including some first-class analysis of things like Congressional voting patterns (using cosponsorship of bills to indicate how strong links in the network were) and Facebook friending of college students to see how our world works. In other cases, they were somewhat frustrating, as for example when they devoted several pages to the "microfinance" concept as practiced by Muhammad Yunus, without even addressing (one way or the other) the many criticisms of this approach in recent years. I have no firm opinion on whether the criticisms of microfinance are justified or not, but to ignore them entirely gives the impression they haven't done their homework before writing those few pages.Another example is their more-or-less wholly uncritical of the use of social networks by the Barack Obama campaign in 2008 and how it used social networks (electronic and otherwise). One would think this would be a good opportunity for them to look into what went wrong with it in the months after the November 2008 election (the book was published in September 2009). My guess is that their publishers just took too long after the book was done, and the authors may not have witnessed how the awe-inspiring network that the Obama campaign had built fell to pieces from neglect immediately afterwards. But, with two high-profile topics covered in a way that seems awfully dated already, it doesn't bode well for how the rest of the book will fare.It's also a lesson, for those science writers who will learn it, on what to do and not do in a science book, popular or not. When they are sticking to the results of well-designed experiments, Christakis and Fowler have lots which is interesting to say. Neither the discussion of the topic of microfinance nor the Obama campaign's use of social networks had that, and they are the parts of the book which are most quickly looking dated. It's a great thing when researchers emerge from the ivory tower to share their results with us, but the moment they leave aside their scientific methods to just give an opinion on events, they are no more likely to be correct than anyone else.These are only a few pages in an otherwise interesting book, however, and most of it is backed up by a wealth of data. Large corporations are already mining this data, and it's just as well the rest of us begin to learn how they affect us, because they will whether we know it or not. This book, while it doesn't tell us everything we need to know, does help make a start in figuring out the way our social networks are structured, and why that matters. Up until now we've been inventing things, from writing to the car to the telephone to the personal computer to the internet, that dramatically impact how and how much we connect, without really having any clear understanding of what the likely impact of that is. This is one of those books that serves more to introduce the topic than to explain it, but that it does well.

  • mahatma anto
    2019-03-13 00:50

    ini buku bagus. relevan, dan memperlihatkan bahwa kita manusia memang selalu terhubung dengan sesama manusia. dan bukan hanya itu, keterhubungan atau koneksi itu justru sering mengendalikan kita. tradisi, sanksi sosial, ..hingga peran media sosial masa kini memperlihatkan peran penting koneksi ini.sebagaimana buku amerika, buku ini pun terlalu banyak kata-kata. tapi ya itulah, itu tradisi menulis mereka. kadang menjengkelkan kalau harus melewati halaman-halaman yang dipenuhi contoh-contoh kasus dan gak segera sampai pada esensinya.tapi ya sudahlah.buku ini bagus, bagi karena mengungkap kodrat konektivitas kita. dan saya seneng disadarkan akah hal itu.

  • Sabrina
    2019-03-01 02:49

    I found this book interesting and educational although a bit long in areas (however, not nearly as bad as other non-fiction books). It provides a broad overview of social network theory and focuses heavily on the impact of these theories (i.e. the outcomes of the many studies they discuss) without much discussion of the mathematics and mechanisms that make this happen. I thought it was very accessible, however I would have liked a little more modeling and a little less societal impact to solidify how/why these networks produce the results presented. However, this would be a great introduction for someone looking for a broad overview that focuses on the social sciences.

  • Willis
    2019-03-20 08:00

    I decided to pick up the book after hearing a fascinating talk last year given by one of the authors and I was not disappointed. Interesting read about the power of networks to spread culture, disease and information. Shares a wide variety of examples that show how we are connected as human beings and how things transmit in our networks. Shows some examples of network analysis but doesn't go into the details of the analysis, focusing instead on keeping the book at a higher level, making it more broadly accessible.

  • Alex
    2019-02-27 05:49

    Connected is a clearly written, engaging book based on some seemingly tenuous conclusions about humans' tendencies to form and exist in social networks. It's an interesting read if you want to apply a basic systems thinking approach to our friendships and relationships.The authors first explore some of the characteristics of networks, particularly the various ways that nodes (an individual in the network) and ties (the connections between two individuals) can be configured to form different variations of networks. We are introduced to basic “rules” which lay the framework for the many examples of how networks have a “surprising power.” Social networks have various characteristics, including transivity, or how many of our connections are connected to each other, and flow, or the way that information or influence travels across the network. These characteristics and many others influence how, when and why we are affected by our social networks. The authors also posit that there is a rule of three degrees when looking at our influence in our networks. We are influenced and influence up to three degrees away - that is, our friend’s friend’s friend - but not farther. One of my major criticisms of the book is the authors’ very light emphasis on research. This makes sense in a way - and the authors acknowledge that it is difficult to research social networks and the available information is sometimes lacking. However, the authors compensate for this with common-sense theories that, while they make sense on reading, are not backed up. For example, in talking about the rule of three degrees, after offering several possible reasons for the effect, the authors write: “It seems likely these factors play a role. But no matter the reason, the Three Degrees Rule appears to be an important part of the way human networks function, and it may continue to constrain our ability to connect, even though technology gives us access to so many more people.” “No matter?” “Appears?” “May?” When I see these words in regards to one of the main hypotheses of the book, it makes me less invested in the implications that follow. That said, some of these implications were thought-provoking. Emotions are “contagious” across networks, which rings very true to my work in a small therapeutic school. When one or two students are off-track or have high energy, the effect seems to spread across the rest of the students relatively quickly. The authors attribute this to an evolutionary explanation in which we mimic others’ external states and thereby come to adopt their internal emotions. Happiness and loneliness can spread across networks. Social networks also help to facilitate romantic matchmaking, or on the flip side, the spread of STDs. While these examples are compelling, the authors failed to convince me that the other explanations (outside of network spread) are irrelevant. These two factors are homophily, or the tendency of like people to gather, and confounding, or the possibility that an external force affects multiple people the same way. In different examples, the authors take this into account in different ways, for example, seeking futher data around whether friendships are mutual or not. Something about this didn’t ring quite true to me, however. Maybe it’s my own skepticism or maybe it’s a choice on the authors’ part to focus more on human-interest aspects than data, but some of the conclusions in Connected seem tenuous to me. There were several examples, however, that rang true to me and helped me to think about groups in a different way. One such example was looking at politicians “weak ties” versus “strong ties” and how a politician or lobbyist with many weak ties is better off than one with a few close ties. This makes me think about my students and how we can encourage them to develop a variety of types of relationships, not just focus on the primary roles of friend, partner, or family member. Acquaintance, co-worker, and neighbor seem just as important. I would also recommend checking out the section on voting and how voters can influence an election through social ties. Lastly, the authors address poverty through a reframing of the traditional narrative. The authors reframe social inequality as such: “situational inequality (some are better off socioeconomically)” versus “positional inequality (some are better off in terms of where they are located in the network).” In their view, your socioeconomic status doesn’t matter as much as your position within a network: whether you are highly connected to others and in a position to influence and be influenced by those in your network, or whether you have a less central position and could be cut off from the network by losing only one or two ties. I see this in my students and it reinforces the importance of the work we do at my school to help students get connected to resources and people in the community to strengthen their social networks. I wouldn’t use this book as my primary source of information about social networks, but it certainly adds some interesting elements to inform my other knowledge. I was surprised that more of the book didn’t focus on social media and how it confounds or confirms the authors’ other findings, but after learning how little research exists on social connections in general, it doesn’t surprise me that even less exists on online social networks. I would very much like to pick up a second edition of this book if the authors chose to update it in a few years.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-02 01:09

    Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives (Hardcover) by Nicholas A. Christakis

  • Connor Hill
    2019-02-27 01:19

  • منيرھ عبدالله
    2019-03-06 05:09

    The content is alright but the presentation can be boring in some of the chapters.. I wish it was less stories more explaining.

  • Sachin Bhatia
    2019-03-16 02:16

    This is an excellent introductory book! Summarises many years of research on social networks. The beginning of a more descriptive framework.