Contagious – Book Review

By: Jonah Berger

Social Transmission: 

Explore the science behind why things catch on with Jonah Berger’s STEPPS. Word of mouth, more persuasive and targeted than traditional advertising, relies on Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories to create contagious products, ideas, and behaviors.

Social Currency:

Dive into the concept of social currency—sharing things that make us look good. Berger’s three ways to create it: find remarkability, make it a game, and make it exclusive. Explore how scarcity and exclusivity boost word of mouth, making products seem more desirable.


Understand the foundation of word of mouth—triggers. Everyday sights, smells, and sounds can make ideas top of mind. Consider how recognition triggered by the environment or sensory stimulation can make your products or services contagious.


Discover the power of emotions, especially awe, in making content contagious. Move beyond facts and features to focus on feelings that motivate people to action. Positive and negative emotions, generating arousal, play a crucial role in driving sharing.


Explore the importance of public visibility and observability in making products catch on. Understand how being built to show ensures a product is built to grow. Leverage public visibility to tap into social proof and encourage imitation.

Practical Value:

Uncover the contagious nature of practical, useful information. Learn how deals that cut through clutter and provide practical value can be more viral. Package information succinctly and consider the audience for effective sharing.


Recognize the power of narratives over basic facts. Craft contagious content by building a Social Currency–laden, Triggered, Emotional, Public, Practically Valuable Trojan Horse. Embed your message into the plot, ensuring it’s an integral part of the story.


These simple STEPPS offer a blueprint for creating and spreading contagious ideas for your business. Ahh-chooooo! 🚀📈 #ContagiousIdeas #BusinessSuccess #MarketingStrategies

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