ittle, Brown and Company
September 28, 2009)
- Happiness is contagious.
- Your future spouse is likely to be your friend’s friend.
- Your friends’ friends’ friends can make you fat – or thin.
These are just a few of the startling findings of internationally renowned scientists Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler. In Connected, they present intriguing new evidence that our real-life social networks shape virtually every aspect of our lives. How we feel, whom we marry, whether we fall ill, how much money we make, and whether we vote – everything hinges on what others around us are doing, thinking, and feeling.
Connected shows that our world is governed by the Three Degrees of Influence Rule: we influence and are influenced by people up to three degrees removed from us, most of whom we do not even know. For example, your friend’s friend’s friend has more impact on your happiness than $5,000 in your pocket. Our social networks underlie financial scams, eating disorders, substance abuse, and suicide clusters, but also voter turnout, innovation, altruism, and “random” acts of kindness.
Provocative, insightful, and useful, Connected explains why emotions are contagious, how health behavior spreads, why the rich get richer, and much more. Overturning the notion of the primacy of the individual, Connected provides a revolutionary new paradigm – that, like schools of fish changing direction in unison, we are unconsciously led by the people around us. Connected will forever change the way we look at one another – and ourselves.
Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, is a professor at Harvard University with joint appointments in the departments of Health Care Policy, Sociology, and Medicine, and in 2009 was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.
James H. Fowler, PhD, is an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, in the Department of Political Science and the Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems, and was named one of the “most inspiring scientists” by the San Diego Science Festival.
Christakis and Fowler’s research has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and The Colbert Report, and on the front pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and USA Today.