The Invisible Forces Behind All of Our Decision-Making

This is something Matt Ridley would love!

Longreads

Jessica Gross | Longreads | June 2016 | 16 minutes (4,137 words)

Jonah Berger, a professor of marketing atWharton, has spent more than 15 years investigating social influence. In his 2013 book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, he explains how and why certain products and ideas become massively popular. In his new book, Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces the Shape Behavior, Berger focuses on the immense sway others have over the choices we make—whether we’re imitating or differentiating from them—often in ways we aren’t aware of.Berger and I spoke by phone about the often surprising findings he draws on in the book, the tension between fitting in and standing out, and how social influence can best be wielded.

How did you first become interested in studying social influence?

I’m from the D.C. area originally, and have a friend who’s a lawyer there. I was talking…

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