The Rules of Contagion

The Rules of Contagion

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Why Things Spread - and Why They Stop

The new science of contagion, and the surprising ways it shapes our lives and behaviour.


A deadly virus suddenly explodes into the population. A political movement gathers pace, and then quickly vanishes. An idea takes off like wildfire, changing our world forever. We live in a world that's more interconnected than ever before. Our lives are shaped by outbreaks - of disease, of misinformation, even of violence - that appear, spread and fade away with bewildering speed. To understand them, we need to learn the hidden laws that govern them. From 'superspreaders' who might spark a pandemic or bring down a financial system to the social dynamics that make loneliness catch on, The Rules of Contagion offers compelling insights into human behaviour and explains how we can get better at predicting what happens next.

Along the way, Adam Kucharski explores how innovations spread through friendship networks, what links computer viruses with folk stories - and why the most useful predictions aren't necessarily the ones that come true.

'It is hard to imagine a more timely book...much of the modern world will make more sense having read it.' - The Times

'Brilliant and authoritative' - Alex Bellos, author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland

Author bio:

Adam Kucharski is an associate professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, working on global outbreaks such as the Ebola epidemic and the Zika virus. He is a TED fellow and winner of the 2016 Rosalind Franklin Award Lecture and the 2012 Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize. He has written for the ObserverFinancial TimesScientific American, and New Statesman. He is the author of The Perfect Bet: How Science and Maths Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling.

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AuthorAdam Kucharski
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