The best books to make anything catch on

Who am I?

Jonah Berger is a Wharton School professor and internationally bestselling author of Magic Words, Contagious, Invisible Influence, and The Catalyst. Dr. Berger is a world-renowned expert on natural language processing, change, word of mouth, influence, consumer behavior, and why things catch on. He has published over 80 articles in top‐tier academic journals, teaches one of the world’s most popular online courses, and popular outlets like The New York Times and Harvard Business Review often cover his work. Berger has keynoted hundreds of major conferences and events like SXSW and Cannes Lions, advises various early-stage companies, and consults for organizations like Apple, Google, Nike, Amazon, GE, Moderna, and The Gates Foundation.

I wrote...

Book cover of Contagious: Why Things Catch on

What is my book about?

Ever wondered why some products, services, or ideas catch on? Why some things get more word of mouth than others? This book reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become popular. If you’ve ever wondered why certain stories get shared, brands get more word of mouth, or videos go viral, this talk will explain why, and show how to leverage these ideas to craft contagious content.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Jonah Berger Why did I love this book?

I read this book in college, and it changed my life. It got me interested in many of the topics that I study today.

It drew attention to the idea of social epidemics and what shapes them. And it talks about different types of people, situational factors, and other features that drive things to catch on. 

By Malcolm Gladwell,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Tipping Point as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An introduction to the Tipping Point theory explains how minor changes in ideas and products can increase their popularity and how small adjustments in an individual's immediate environment can alter group behavior.

Book cover of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Jonah Berger Why did I love this book?

This is a book I return to again and again as a resource for many things that I do.

Want to become a better communicator? Have people remember your message? This book is for you. It provides a simple framework for communicating messages in ways that other people will remember. And it will show you how to make complex concepts simple.

By Chip Heath, Dan Heath,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Made to Stick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why does fake news stick while the truth goes missing?

Why do disproved urban legends persist? How do you keep letting newspapers and clickbait sites lure you in with their headlines? And why do you remember complicated stories but not complicated facts?

Over ten years of study, Chip and Dan Heath have discovered how we latch on to information hooks. Packed full of case histories and incredible anecdotes, it shows:

- how an Australian scientist convinced the world he'd discovered the cause of stomach ulcers by drinking a glass filled with bacteria

- how a gifted sports reporter got people…

Book cover of Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop Marketing AT People! Turn Your Ideas into Epidemics by Helping Your Customers Do the Marketing thing for You

Jonah Berger Why did I love this book?

Many of the books by Seth Godin are amazing, but this is a personal favorite.

Great ideas aren't just ideas; they're like viruses. They spread from person to person in powerful, unexpected ways. The book explores this idea and talks about some of the factors that lead ideas to spread and some of the consequences of their diffusion.

By Seth Godin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Unleashing the Ideavirus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seth Godin examines how companies like Napster and Hotmail have successfully launched idea viruses - a customer-to-customer dialogue. He offers a recipe to creating your own idea virus and shows how businesses can use idea virus marketing to succeed in a world that doesn't want to hear from traditional marketeers anymore.

Book cover of Diffusion of Innovations

Jonah Berger Why did I love this book?

Decades ago, Everett Rogers wondered why some farmers adopted a type of corn seed while others didn’t. But once he studied that, he wondered whether similar factors might drive the adoption of all sorts of innovations, from new pharmaceutical drugs to the internet.

This book is a trove of useful insights into how ideas and concepts spread through society/culture.  It covers the S curve of diffusion, innovators, and laggards, and a variety of other things.

By Everett M. Rogers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Diffusion of Innovations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in its fifth edition, Diffusion of Innovations is a classic work on the spread of new ideas.

In this renowned book, Everett M. Rogers, professor and chair of the Department of Communication & Journalism at the University of New Mexico, explains how new ideas spread via communication channels over time. Such innovations are initially perceived as uncertain and even risky. To overcome this uncertainty, most people seek out others like themselves who have already adopted the new idea. Thus the diffusion process consists of a few individuals who first adopt an innovation, then spread the word among their circle…

Book cover of A Matter of Taste: How Names, Fashions, and Culture Change

Jonah Berger Why did I love this book?

This book isn’t as well known as the others but is just as deserving of attention.

It is an underground classic in sociology that studies why things catch on using a study of baby names. If you've ever wondered why some names become popular or what drives all sorts of things to become popular, this book helps us understand why.

By Stanley Lieberson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Matter of Taste as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What accounts for our tastes? Why and how do they change over time? In this innovative book Stanley Lieberson analyzes children's first names to develop an original theory of fashion. Children's names provide an opportunity to view the pure mechanisms of fashion, unaffected by commercial interests that influence many fashions and tastes, says Lieberson. He disputes the commonly held notion that tastes in names (and other fashions) simply reflect societal shifts. There exist also "internal taste mechanisms" that drive changes in fashion even in the absence of social change, Lieberson contends. He explores the intricate and subtle ways in which…

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By Nita Sweeney,

Book cover of A Daily Dose of Now: 365 Mindfulness Meditation Practices for Living in the Moment

Nita Sweeney Author Of How to Make Every Move a Meditation: Mindful Movement for Mental Health, Well-Being, and Insight

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a thirty-year meditator, certified meditation leader, and award-winning author, it’s my job to keep up on the latest books about mindfulness and Zen practice. Despite seeing new volumes being published regularly, I return to these books as great sources of solid practice information. Each of these authors explains meditation in accessible terms, easy for readers to follow and understand. I can’t remember who said that a confused reader is an antagonistic reader, but they are right. The books I’ve suggested offer clarity. They help readers begin or continue their practice and understand how and why meditation is worth their time.

Nita's book list on why meditation is worth your time and effort

What is my book about?

Reduce stress, ease anxiety, and increase inner peace—one day at a time—with a year of easy-to-follow mindfulness meditation techniques. Certified mindfulness teacher, bestselling author, ultramarathoner, wife, and dog-mom Nita Sweeney shares mindfulness meditation practices to help anyone break free from worry and self-judgment.

Mindfulness meditation trains you to live in the present moment—the now. Feel calmer. Think more clearly. Respond more effectively and enjoy a more fulfilling life. Even in tiny doses, mindfulness is scientifically proven to enhance physical and mental health, boost creativity, and improve cognition function.

A Daily Dose of Now: 365 Mindfulness Meditation Practices for Living in the Moment

By Nita Sweeney,

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