CONNECTED: How your friends’ friends’ friends’ affect everything you feel, think and do by Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler

Genres: Psychology, Social science, Behavioral Sciences, Nonfiction

Rating: 2/5

Recommend to: Marketers, Entrepreneurs, People in sales.

Number of pages: 368 pages


THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK:

I picked up this book because the topic of connections, and how I am being influenced, and how I can influence others is something that I am very interested in. With that in mind, I have to say that this book was not that good. There are some great points made in the book, but in my opinion there is also a lot of “fluff” written to fill in the pages. The book covers the topic of connections and what kind of influence and implications they have for different areas in our lives, like love, politics, job opportunities, hobbies, sex and so on. The biggest nugget or eye-opening take away I got from the book is the theory of weak connections. I know that my close friends will help me, and I will help them, but the real question is will they or I be able to help each other the right way. Will we have the possibility, the potential, the knowledge or the right connections to do so? The authors gave an interesting advice, get as many weak connections as you can, it will help you in the long run. 

In your opinion, who influences who more? Do you influence your friends more or do your friends have more influence on you? In what way and by how many people we are influenced mostly depends on where we are in our social network. The author made an interesting point in the book, that because we share a lot of similar interests, hobbies and ways of thinking with our closest/strong connections they do not offer us much help when we are looking for a new job or when we find ourselves in any other life changing situations, because we are in the same “mental box”/ way of thinking, and we have the same connections. The most influence in life changing situations have our weak connections which are our friends’ friends.  This is because when we communicate and look for opportunities with our weak connections we have almost nothing in common. We have different interests, different hobbies, we go to different places and meet different people, work at different companies and job position, and that is why we can find new opportunities with their help. They can offer something that was not in our close social circle, something that we did not have at hand before. In the book you will also read how happiness and sadness of others actually influence us, and that the effect is time limited. Maybe that is why we are constantly searching for new connections?


MY NOTES FROM THE BOOK:

  • In many settings morality resides in groups rather than in individuals.
  • Our connections affect every aspect of our daily lives.
  • We have a conscious and unconscious tendency to associate with people who resemble us. We seek people who share our interests, histories and dreams.
  • Our network shapes us. how many contacts you, your friends and family have is very relevant. When the people you are connected to become better connected it becomes easier for you to reach everyone else in the network. You become more central. But being more central makes you more susceptible to whatever is flowing within the network.
  • The three degrees of influence rule: everything we do or say tends to ripple through our network. Having an impact on our friends, our friends’ friends and even our friends’ friends’ friends. Likewise, we are influenced by friends within three degrees.
  • In a kind of social chain reaction, we can be deeply affected by events we do not witness that happen to people we do not know.
  • Social networks have value precisely because they can help us to achieve what we could not achieve on our own. Yet social-network effects are not always positive. Social networks, it turns out, tend to magnify whatever they are seeded with.
  • What is created in a social network does not belong to any one individual – it is shared by all those in the network. In  this way a social network is like a commonly owned forest: we all stand to benefit from it, but we also must work together to ensure it remains healthy and productive.
  • Our emotions consist of several element: first we usually have a conscious awareness of our emotions. Second, emotions typically affect our physical state. Third, they are associated with specific neuropsychological activity. And finally emotions are associated with visible behaviors, like laughing, crying, or shrieking.
  • Emotional contagion can even take place between strangers, after just a short contact. People’s emotions and moods are affected by the emotional states of the people they interact with.
  • Emotions spread from person to person because we are biologically hardwired to mimic others outwardly, and in mimicking their outward display. We come to adopt their inward state.
  • Mathematical analyses of the network suggests that a person is about 15% more likely to be happy if a directly connected person is happy. The happiness effect for people at two degrees of separation (friend of a friend) is 10%, and for people at three degrees of separation (the friend of a friend of a friend), it is about 6%.
  • Each happy friend a person has increases that person’s probability of being happy by about 9%. Each unhappy friend decreases it by 7%.
  • Feelings of loneliness are much more closely tied to our network of optional social connections than to those handed to us at birth.
  • People often care more about their relative standing in the world than their absolute standing. People assess how well they are doing not so much by how much money they make or how much stuff they consume but, rather, by how much they make and consume compared to other people they know.
  • Modern research confirms that marriage is indeed a good thing for you. Being married on average adds seven years to a man’s life and two years to a woman’s life.
  • being near a familiar person – even an acquaintance, let alone a spouse – can have effects as diverse as lowering heart rate, improving immune function, and reducing depression.
  • If a friend becomes obese, it nearly triples a person’s risk of becoming obese.
  • Friends and siblings are much more susceptible to influence by peers of the same sex than by peers fo the opposite sex.
  • The path-specific motion of information through a social network is very important. For example if a group of people is deciding on the price of an item and bid on it independently, then their average guess is probably a good indicator of its market value. however, if people make decisions in sequence and are aware of prior decisions, we can end  up with blind leading the blind.
  • Keep in mind that we form stong ties in our social network in a form of clustered tightly knit groups. While this structure is good for reaching everyone in your group, it is very bad for reaching people outside the group. Therefore strong ties may bind individuals together into groups, but weak ties bind groups together into the larger society and are crucial for the spread of information.
  • Weak ties are a rich source of new information that we tap when we try to improve our situation.
  • Social networks may help us do what we could not do on our own, but they also often give more power to people who are well-connected. And as a result, those with the most connections often reap the highest rewards.
  • Strong ties help, but weak ties help more because they greatly expand the total number of potential connections.
  • While the social networks formed online may be abstract, large, complex, and super modern, they also reflect universal and fundamental human tendencies that emerged in our prehistoric past when we told stories to one another around campfires.
  • Life online can both emulate and extend real human interactions.
  • If I know what your friends are doing, I can make a good guess as to what you will soon be doing.
  • Connectedness comes with a price. Being more connected means we can find more people, but it also means more people can find us. Not all of those people have good intentions, and not all connections are positive.
  • The social networks we create have lives of their own. Social networks can also change the way individuals behave.
  • The ubiquity of human connection means that each of us has a much bigger impact on others than we can see. When we take better care of ourselves, so do many other people. when we practice random acts of kindness they can spread to dozens or even hundreds of other people and with each good deed, we help to sustain the very network that sustains us.

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Thank you for your time. I hope you have found this book review helpful. Talk to you in the comment section.

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