It’s not surprising that the new book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger, is itself catching on and getting lots of attention. Berger, who is in his early 30s, is the James G. Campbell Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He studies and teaches about how and why products and ideas go viral and get other forms of attention, both online and offline. These days it’s not only companies and other organizations that have to continually get the word out in effective ways about their offerings. Individuals have to do it too, and the marketplace is crowded, confusing and noisy.
Berger’s media attention has been impressive, especially for a new author. The book was reviewed in The New York Times and Boston Globe. He did a Q&A, “‘Contagious’ explains secret behind infectious ideas,” with my former colleague Sharon Jayson, in USA TODAY. Fast Company ran a profile by Lydia Dishman, “Why Ideas And Products Become Contagious: The Jonah Berger Formula,” and has also been running excerpts online. This Sunday, March 10th, he’ll be doing a book signing in Austin at the SXSW® Interactive Festival.
In 2011, after reading and being impressed by one of his scholarly articles, I interviewed Berger for a brief article on word of mouth marketing for the journal I edit, Leader to Leader. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover recently that he had published his book, which he told Jayson in USA TODAY is “about understanding why people talk and share. You could think about it as understanding conversations — the science of what we talk about.”