Meet "network man." He has basic desires of his own, but has many arbitrary preferences, such as in music or clothes, that have been influenced by the people he knows.
Network man's likes and dislikes, in turn, affect the behavior of his friends, and their friends, and their friends. For example, when he gets into an obscure indie rock band, he shares an album with his friend, who likes it so much that he recommends it to his cousin, who spreads the word to her friends.
This is the view of human behavior put forth in "Connected," a new book by Dr. Nicholas Christakis, professor at Harvard University, and James Fowler, associate professor at the University of California, San Diego. Read full article »