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Connected:  The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives

Authors/researchers Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler have produced a book that is pertinent for everyone.   It contains the latest information on social networks as compiled by these two leaders in the scientific community.   Much of the material used for the book originates from Christakis’ and Fowler’s own extensive social sciences research.

The book provides the reader with an overview of human (social) networking and the various forms it takes.   There are excellent examples with cross references to related published works, and quotes by notable recognized experts in a wide variety of areas such as public health, sociology and philosophy.   Each facet of life that may be directly and indirectly influenced by persons to whom one is connected is explained by the authors through scenarios, historic examples and illustrations.   The most easily identified example is the “six degrees of separation” principle, as in six degrees of human separation from Kevin Bacon.

One notable element of the authors’ heavily academic writing style is the frequent reference to other chapters where a principle or theory is discussed from a slightly different perspective.   These references might be useful for a reader who is using this book for academic or personal study reasons.   For this reader, the cross references served as a distraction and were detrimental to a cohesive flow of information.

Recommended, with reservations.

Review by Ruta Arellano

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