How messages move between people is fundamental for Marketers. If your message gets to one person and then stops, you have to work very hard vs a message that is freely passed between people.
It turns out there is an entire scientific discipline dedicated to this. It’s called network science and it’s as applicable in marketing as it is in neuroscience and pandemic management.
While there is plenty of deeply technical literature, we’ve picked three books to help you get started. All are written in an approachable, non-academic way, using real-world examples, albeit not always marketing, to get the message across.
Linked: The New Science of Networks by Albert-Laszlo BarabasiBarabasi is one of the dominant voices in the network science world, so it’s no surprise that he features on the list. Barabasi takes the core concepts from his academic studies, renames them – mostly – and puts a day-to-day narrative to detail why they’re important. We love this book and we’re sure your head will go off like a lightbulb while reading it too.
The Rules of Contagion by Adam KucharskiKucharski’s book landed just as the COVID-19 Pandemic took hold in 2020 and provided a good narrative to what was unfolding. But again, like Barabasi, Kucharski has used a simple to digest format for the book. Which absolutely helps the reader get into the concepts. The Rules of Contagion focuses heavily on the contagion of viruses, but the rules and lessons are just as applicable for marketing, as he says for himself. The key difference is marketing is about getting things to spread vs getting spreading to stop.
Friend of a Friend by David Burkus
Burkus uses the concepts in network science to tackle networking.
Again, this book is approachable and easy to get to grips with and by now, if you’ve read them in order, you’ll be very familiar with the terms.
The reason for Burkus’ book making our list is the practical advice he gives at the end of each chapter. While it’s intended for networking, it will help you make the leap from concepts to real-world networks – cementing the ideas from all three books.
Have you read these books? Anything else you’d add?