onah Berger "Contagious" and "The Catalyst"

A Review of Jonah Berger “Contagious” and “The Catalyst”

Have you ever wondered about the secret behind the success of certain online content? Jonah Berger, a renowned author and researcher in the fields of marketing, consumer psychology, and sociology, has authored two best-selling books that provide valuable insights into these questions. The first is “Contagious: The Secrets Behind Products and Ideas that Go Viral,” and the second is “The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind.” Both books offer interesting and practical information about marketing and shed light on human behavior in the contemporary world.

“Contagious by Jonah Berger: The Secrets Behind Products and Ideas that Go Viral”

The conventional wisdom is that we cannot predict in advance which video or content will go viral. (p. 18)

In this era of social media, the term “viral” has become commonplace. It’s easy to come across viral content in today’s digital age. But have you ever pondered why certain content gains rapid attention while others do not? What causes specific information to spread more quickly than others?

The book “Contagious: The Secrets Behind Products and Ideas that Go Viral” delves into the fascinating factors and aspects that influence why certain content and products capture the attention of a broader audience.

onah Berger "Contagious" and "The Catalyst"

Enter the STEPPS Framework. Within this framework, Jonah Berger explains why something becomes “contagious” or goes viral in society. STEPPS (Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories) encompasses six crucial factors contributing to the rapid dissemination of information.

Berger employs numerous real-world case studies and examples to illustrate the concepts presented in this book. Virality is depicted as not merely the result of chance but influenced by social and psychological factors.

Surprisingly, understanding human emotions can also help us apply the right marketing strategies for products or information we wish to disseminate. The book offers plenty of advice and tips related to marketing, business, and communication.

“The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind”

Changing someone’s mind is no easy feat. Even directing someone toward making a specific choice often requires substantial effort. As humans, we have limitations in “reading someone’s mind,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t effect change or encourage someone to make a shift.

For marketers, altering consumers’ minds to adopt or purchase their products can seem highly complex. Even after implementing various approaches and strategies, convincing someone to change their mind can remain elusive. This could be due to an excessive focus on pushing and instructing, rather than identifying the core issue and offering problem-solving solutions.

In the “Catalyst” concept, Jonah Berger elaborates on the role of a “catalyst” as someone who has the ability to stimulate or trigger a change in someone else’s thinking or actions. Several strategies and tips can be applied to become an effective catalyst.

There’s a “REDUCE” framework that serves as a guide for designing actions or messages that can change someone’s mind. It starts with understanding why people often resist the changes offered to them. Then, it involves designing changes that are more effective and comfortable for the target audience.

Concrete examples and numerous case studies are presenting in the book to help readers grasp the concepts discussed and outlined by Berger. For those looking to master better negotiation skills, there are techniques that can be adopted to achieve desired agreements.


Reading “Contagious” and “The Catalyst” by Jonah Berger is an excellent way to gain insights into marketing and the psychology of the contemporary world. Applying the frameworks and advice from both books can be an effective strategy for marketers and influencers looking to achieve their goals. Both volumes are essential reading for those just starting out in marketing and for those who want to learn more about the dynamics of product, content, and information transmission in the digital world.