Saturday, February 23, 2013

Book Review #6: Connected

How can your colleague's sister's husband make you fat? If you want the answer to this question (and many others), you must read Connected: How your Friends' Friends' Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do, written by Nicholas A. Christiakis, MD, PhD and James H Fowler, PhD in 2009.

This book explores how the people we are connected with (up to the 3rd degree of separation) can truly impact our lives in ways we never imagined possible. The authors examine numerous sociological and psychological theories and experiments and come to surprising conclusions about how profoundly we are impacted by our social networks, both actual and virtual.

An easy way to explain their theory is to look at how couples meet. A study conducted in Chicago in 1992 showed that:
Roughly 68 percent of the people in the study met their spouses after being introduced by someone they knew, while only 32 percent met via "self-introduction." Even for short-term partners like one-night stands, 53 percent were introduced by someone else. 
In this work, the authors use everything from primate behaviour to a virtual epidemic on World of Warcraft to illustrate how truly interconnected we are, and to predict how we will act within our own social networks.

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