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The Rules of Contagion

Why Things Spread - and Why They Stop

Adam Kucharski Francesca Barrie



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Wellcome Collection
13 February 2020
Why do some ideas take off - and others fail to spread? Why are some diseases predictable, and others swamped in uncertainty? And what about the outbreaks that never happen at all?

We live in a world that's more connected than ever before. But even as we see our lives being shaped by the spread of ideas, trends - and even diseases - we sometimes struggle to grasp how it actually works. Outbreaks seem to be driven by randomness and hidden laws, and in order to understand them, we need to start thinking like mathematicians.

Here, epidemiologist Adam Kucharski reveals how new mathematical approaches are transforming what we know about contagion - from the revolutionary initiatives that helped tackle gun violence in Chicago to the truth behind the spread of fake news. And along the way, he'll explain how innovations and emotions can spread through our friendship networks, what STDs can tell us about banking, and why some outbreak predictions go badly wrong.
By:   Adam Kucharski
Edited by:   Francesca Barrie
Imprint:   Wellcome Collection
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Main
Dimensions:   Height: 225mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 25mm
Weight:   535g
ISBN:   9781788160193
ISBN 10:   1788160193
Series:   Wellcome Collection
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   13 February 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

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 Observer, Financial Times, Scientific American, and New Statesman. He is the author of The Perfect Bet: How Science and Maths Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling.

Reviews for The Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread - and Why They Stop

An astonishingly bold survey of the epidemiology of more or less everything in our inter-connected world ... Kucharski has pulled off the extraordinary trick of shining the brightest light on this unseen, menacing, but ultimately beatable, enemy. * Daily Mail * An impressively fluent, fascinating and accessible introduction to how epidemics, trends, behaviours and ideas start, spread - and end ... a work of contemporary relevance that Malcolm Gladwell devotees would enjoy. * New Statesman * Perfect timing ... prepares the ground comprehensively for readers to make sense of what is happening today, by distilling the wisdom gathered by studying previous epidemics over more than a century. * Financial Times * It is hard to imagine a more timely book ... much of the modern world will make more sense having read it. * The Times * This is a hell of a moment for a book like this to come out ... the principles of contagion, which, Kucharski argues, can be applied to everything from folk stories and financial crises to itching and loneliness, are suddenly of pressing interest to all of us. * Sunday Times * The Rules of Contagion is popular science at its best. The prose is sparkling and clear. The subject is deeply fascinating and highly relevant. Touching on psychology, medicine, network theory and mathematics, epidemiologist Adam Kucharski has written a brilliant and authoritative guide to the hidden laws of how things spread - from ideas and memes, to violence and deadly viruses. An example of its subject matter, this book is also highly contagious: once you have read it, you will want to make sure others read it too. -- Alex Bellos, author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland Rich in stories, The Rules of Contagion is a down-to-earth account of how mathematical approaches can help us better understand and, in turn, better respond to contagion in all its dynamic forms. Tackling issues from pandemics and gun violence, to financial crises and misinformation, Adam Kucharski inspires us all to think like mathematicians. A must read for anybody interested in epidemics and other crises. -- Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine For anyone wanting to know how diseases spread, Adam Kucharski's book, The Rules of Contagion is a timely introduction. * Irish Independent * For now Adam Kucharski's The Rules of Contagion is the book you want to reach for ... interesting and topical -- Laura Spinney * Guardian *

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