Book Review of “Contagious” by Jonah Berger

contagious book review star rating

I recently finished “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” by Jonah Berger, this book was very good! I give it 4 stars.

Jonah Berger is a Marketing Professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennslyvania. This school is in Philadelphia, a city I’m hoping my life (and my wife) will allow me to live in one day, so of course, I’m already a fan.

This book consists of six chapters discussing social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value, and stories. At 210 pages this book is right up my alley in both content and length. As I’ve stated in most of my book reviews, I prefer shorter books that are jam-packed with knowledge and not massive books that are fluffed up with b.s…

The topic of what makes people tick, why certain marketing strategies work, etc. is what I find myself to be pretty passionate about. In fact, I’m hoping one day to publish a book on a similar topic, so naturally, I really enjoyed this read.

I would say the best aspect of this book is there are a TON of actionable items, software that has worked for Jonah, websites to visit, all that jazz. A book that actually explains, in depth, how to do certain things is what I think makes a book stand out from the rest.

I gave this book four stars because I feel like something was missing. The problem? I have no idea what it was missing. Once you read it you may see what I mean, I feel like he nailed the topic but possibly could’ve given something a little more. Maybe I’m just being picky.

Chapter three is the one that really stood out to me. The chapter is called “Emotion” and it discusses “Why do some things make the Most E-Mailed list?”, “How reading science articles is like standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon”, “Why anger is like humor”, “How breaking guitars can make you famous”, “Getting teary eyed about online search” and “When we care, we share”. It goes into depth about how emotion can be utilized in marketing and why people react the way they do to certain strategies, copy, creative, etc.

With a handful of case studies, this book was definitely one of the top books I’ve read lately. I finished this book with a TON of new ideas to implement into some of the strategies I’m currently working on as well as ideas for some new concepts.

“Contagious” is also a pretty easy read. I’ve stated this in a few of my other reviews, I always prefer books that read like a friendly email from a colleague giving me insight as opposed to feeling like I’m reading a textbook. Considering Jonah Berger is a professor I was skeptical at first but quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be the case with this book.

[bctt tweet=”Contagious by @j1berger should be a required read for all marketers.” username=”@andrewmaff”]

Now, I may feel a certain way about this book, but the fact that it is a Berry-AMA Book Prize Winner and is a New York Times Bestseller should really allow it to speak for itself. If you don’t want to take my word for it, that’s fine…but those are some pretty nice recommendations from some seriously knowledgeable people.

I would easily recommend this book to anyone in marketing because I truly believe it’s one thing to have a successful marketing approach but it’s another thing to be able to know why certain approaches worked and others didn’t. Everyone is marketing should strive to have that knowledge.

I try to have a list of my top three books that I think every marketer should read so whenever I add a new team member I can recommend them something good to read to improve their craft, this is definitely in my top three right now.



Of course, what kind of review would this be if I didn’t tell you how you can get your own copy and develop your own opinion on it? You can get Contagious: Why Things Catch On right here. You’ll like it, I know I did.

Check out my other marketing book review on “The Conversion Code: Capture Internet Leads, Create Quality Appointments, Close More Sales” by Chris Smith here.

Comment below and let me know if there is a book you think I should read that I haven’t yet.

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