Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape our Lives

Date

October 6, 2009

Speaker

Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler

Affiliation

Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School/The Center for Wireless and Population Health, UC, San Diego

Overview

Your colleague’s husband’s sister can make you fat, even if you don’t know her. A happy neighbor has more impact on your happiness than a happy spouse. Emotions are contagious, health behaviors spread: in fact, our social networks influence our ideas, emotions, health, relationships, politics and every aspect of our lives. We don’t live in groups, we live in networks: as proven through research ranging from bank runs to suicide prevention, from nut allergies in schoolchildren to epidemics in virtual worlds, from the spread of happiness to the spread of voting.

Speakers

Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler

Nicholas Christakis is a recognized authority on how social networks affect our behavior and well being. One of less than ten people in the US trained as both a sociologist and a physician, his research is on social factors that affect health, health care and longetivity. He is Professor of Medical Sociology in the Dept of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, also Professor of Medicine there and Professor of Sociology at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He is also an attending physician at the Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA.Science Magazine named Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler “the dynamic duo” and their research on social networks was featured in Harvard Business Review’s Breakthrough Business Ideas for 2009. Their work has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show, Good Morning America, the Today Show and The Colbert Report, and on the front pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today.

James Fowler is an Associate Professor in the Center for Wireless and Population Health, and in the Political Science Department at the University of California, San Diego. His current research includes social networks, behavioral economics, evolutionary game theory, political participation and the evolution of cooperation.Science Magazine named Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler “the dynamic duo” and their research on social networks was featured in Harvard Business Review’s Breakthrough Business Ideas for 2009. Their work has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show, Good Morning America, the Today Show and The Colbert Report, and on the front pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today.