Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Watercooler Effect by Nicholas DiFonzo

The Watercooler Effect explores the idea of rumors from multiple angles. I'm sure we have all had some sort of experience with rumors but it's really nice to see the idea of a rumor laid out in front of you. I've never thought about rumors in such detail but really enjoyed this exploration.

We learn about how and why rumors start. The difference between rumor, gossip, and urban legends. The personal gain of passing on a rumor in your social circle and how rumors can be successfully snuffed out among other things.

Some of his examples of rumors I had never heard about and others I had. I really enjoyed reading the urban legend section. He talks about how people rather believe something even if it may not true than risk the consequences if they do happen to be true. I very easily identified with this. What parent wouldn't rather keep their child home from school for one day then risk the rumor of a child bring a gun to school being true.

Reading the study results was also interesting. I'm not sure exactly how it would have worked but some nice graphics of some of the different concepts would have helped me retain the information even better.

I liked the use of examples in this book, they help me remember information better then just plain facts. I was expecting them to be more flushed out, longer examples like those in The Tipping Point, Blink and Freakonomics. I like how those books frame the information inside an example more so then use smaller examples to illustrate the information within the text.

I think fans of Malcom Galdwell's work and Freakonomics would enjoy this book.

Watch for The Watercooler Effect in stores in September.

What's your favorite book that explores one subject matter in great detail?

3/5 Stars
Manuscript provided by publisher


  1. Sounds neat! Sounds like a lot of fun to read.

  2. Wow.. Interesting concept for a book.

  3. I also read this book and found it interesting. I will be blogging about it too soon.

    Good Luck on my contest

  4. Marie- Yeah it is fun because it's just not something you sit and think about everyday!

    Keri Mikulski- I thought so too! I really like Malcolm Gladwell's books so I figured that might be fun as well!

    Cheryl- I'll look for your review!

  5. Anonymous6:49 PM

    I loved *The Tipping Point* and learned a lot from it. It's kind of fun to identify our friends as one of Gladwell's personality types.

    I was disappointed by *Blink* only because the intro promised to teach us how to hone our quick decision making skills and I thought that part fell short.

    *Freakanomics* was great; short easy concepts with lots of examples.

    *The Watercooler Effect* is on my bookshelf - it does sound like I'll enjoy it!

  6. sheistoofondofbooks- The Tipping Point is my favorite too! Didn't Blink have that rapid fire test with people and words or something you could take online. I really liked that part of it. I need to reread them again, it's been a few years. And I need to finish Freakonomics!

    Do you know of any other books like these?


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