The Power of Being Influenced

Network theory reveals the best way to spread ideas

By Julie Rehmeyer, 15:58 PM April 15, 2008

Sometimes an idea spreads through society like a newly-mutated cold virus zooming through a class of first-graders. Other times, a good idea never seems to take hold. What makes the difference? Scientists want to know, and marketers want to know even more, since they make their living spreading ideas about their products.

A key reason some ideas are so successful, conventional wisdom has held, is that a few highly influential people espouse them. In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwel...

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