Why Things Catch On

I found this book when listening to a story on NPR about the viral comedy of the CVS receipt. The story was about the length of the CVS receipt but focused on how people had latched on to it as a comedic idea and how it had caught on and become a meme.

As they had me wondering why things catch on, they introduced this book by Jonah Berger which worked to answer that question. What I like most about the book was the case studies that he specifically focused on:

  • $100 Philly Cheese Steak
  • Don’t tell anyone
  • Corn Shucking Video
  • …and others

Contagious is an engaging read and uses many contagious videos and commercials you’ll be familiar with. Further, it provides an interesting (if not sad) lens into human behavior.

One section titled the Power of Awe states:
“Awe is a complex emotion and frequently involves a sense of surprise, unexpectedness, or mystery”.
Berger introduces an idea that states that things which inspire awe, become contagious. The Church has the most Contagious Awe filled message, the Gospel of God. We need to share it and it its self is Contagious.

In the end, if you’re interested in marketing and human behavior you’ll like this one! If not, you’ll probably want to skip it.

Grace and peace,


Pastor John