I mentioned at some point last year that one of my resolutions was to read a bit more than I had the previous year. Well, while struggling to bounce back from an unwanted Christmas gift of the flu, I finished off the appropriately-named Contagious by Jonah Berger. Despite the name, it had nothing to do with my ailment or any other disease.
The Berger book is another pop psychology type effort which he acknowledges was inspired in no small part by Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point . Berger looks at some “viral” pop sensations and tries to dissect what it is that makes them popular and much-shared, from the story of a $100 sandwich to growing moustaches for charity. He theorizes that if people follow his formula, including making stories that appeal to strong emotions and make the person telling it seem smart or “cool”, that they can make their own videos or ads become wildly popular.
Whether or not he’s got the formula scientifically figured out, I don’t know. But the book itself is an interesting enough read. What it doesn’t have though is the charm and way with words that Gladwell’s works have which make a lasting impression and makes it one of those tomes you just can’t put down. Nonetheless, it is worth a read and if you are looking to start up an advertising campaign or promotion it just might be “the tipping point” that makes it a winner.
Contagious marked the 13th book I read in 2019, actually one less than 2018. For the record, while I liked all the books I consumed, Freakonomics was likely my favorite non-fiction and Younger my favorite novel… unless I count Grace, Fully Living which I really liked. Of course, I also wrote that one, so I’m a bit biased!
So enter 2020 and a hold-over resolution from last year, once again I aim to read more than I did last year. Elton John’s biography Me is getting me off and running – or actually sitting and reading – towards that goal.
Whether you read one or 13 or 113 books this year, I hope you’ll find words which will entertain and inspire you in 2020…and when I do the same, I’ll let you know here.