Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Book Review: Strange Contagion by Lee Daniel Kre

Strange Contagion: Inside the Surprising Science of Infectious Behaviors and Viral Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves

Social contagion. We all know that ideas, emotions, and actions are communicable—from mirroring someone’s posture to mimicking their speech patterns, we are all driven by unconscious motivations triggered by our environment. But when just the right physiological, psychological, and social factors come together, we get what Kravetz calls a "strange contagion:" a perfect storm of highly common social viruses that, combined, form a highly volatile condition. 
Strange Contagion is simultaneously a moving account of one community’s tragedy and a rigorous investigation of social phenomenon, as Kravetz draws on research and insights from experts worldwide to unlock the mystery of how ideas spread, why they take hold, and offer thoughts on our responsibility to one another as citizens of a globally and perpetually connected world.  
I love nonfiction that reads like fiction, and this title certainly falls into that category.  You can tell that Kravetz is a journalist at heart because he reports events in such a gripping and straightforward manner that is both easy to read and interesting.  It avoids the danger territories of dry and overly academic and sticks with being what I would consider popular social science - strongly researched but very readable for the common reader.

Entertainment Value
Again, the research here is strong and well cited, which is always a plus for me.  It's also an interesting topic that the author reports like a story, rather than a textbook, which keeps the reader moving from chapter to chapter without being dull or dry.

If you enjoy a good pop social science along the lines of Malcolm Gladwell, this is one you'll want to pick up.  Kravetz has great insight into the social phenomenon of contagious ideas and how they spread and what it means for people.  I appreciate that he looks at how it can be used positively as well as the negative consequences.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for having me on the tour and providing me with a copy to review.  Click here to see a list of all the stops on the tour and click here to see the publisher's page for the book.


  1. I'm a big fan of Gladwell so this is most certainly my kind of book.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  2. I remember very vividly when my 9th grad history teacher taught history in stories, rather than dry dates and facts. It was such a game changer! I'm glad this author does that as well.