Connected, by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler

I first came across this book when I read of a study that found your weight was more affected by the people around you than by your individual diet or fitness program. This study is just one of those reported and discussed in this book, which is a fascinating account of how we are inter-connected. I was particularly interested in the book’s approach to social networking on-line, but this was just one of the many interesting areas of life the authors study (Others include sex, friendships, politics and money).

To be honest, I didn’t find this an easy read, even though it’s written for a general, non-academic, audience. It’s quite a dense book, full of detailed reports about the various studies the authors conducted. However, if you’re willing to plough through it, there’s a lot of interesting information.

But if you want an executive summary, it seems to boil down to this: People as far away as three degrees of separation from you can affect you, but the effect falls off markedly after that. As an interesting aside, three degrees of separation is exactly what LinkedIn defines as your “network”!

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