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Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler: Connected
Social networking takes up a big portion of our time, as a way to remain connected to what’s happening in our social circles, keeping up with friends and sharing what we are doing and thinking with others. According to Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler, the authors of Connected, our social networking has a much deeper effect on our lives, which many of us may not be aware of.
Nicholas Christakis and James H. Fowler are both professors at Harvard University who have broken down the complexity of social networks and the virtual world that we are becoming more involved in as one of the most complicated and consequential networks in the universe.
Connected is more than another research study; the reader doesn’t get showered with numbers and statistics, and while those elements are important in the academic business, they often get ignored by the average reader. Charts and diagrams are still present in the book; but they act as convincing tools that aren’t at all boring.
The authors also use stories, some are real-life examples from the present and others from cultural backgrounds and folklore, proving that the idea of social networks isn’t at all a novelty of the new world; in their wider sense, social networks have existed since the beginning of time.
However, this reviewer felt Connected to be exaggerating in certain parts. Maybe it’s how the authors go to great lengths to explain how someone’s suicide can inspire the son of his friend’s friend to think of doing the same, or how your mom’s best friend’s husband's weight gain can result in your own weight gain. Although they have research study results to back up their claims, when applied to our actual personal lives, it’s easy to feel sceptical.
Connected dives into the nature of human beings and argues that our behaviour depends to a certain degree on that of others surrounding us, or even on the people around those surrounding us.
Connected is a good read that gives interesting insight without being too heavy. It may or may not have you look at your relationships in a new light and question if you’ve been unconsciously influenced by people in your social network. Nonetheless, it’s an informative and entertaining read.
A simple online search would give you a chronological account of the Egyptian revolution; accurate dates, death tolls and perhaps even the names of the martyrs. But it will not tell you how it made the Egyptian people feel. Statistics can't describe what the families of the martyrs went through and it cannot accurately express the weight placed on the hearts of millions of Egyptians during this time.
Soueif doesn't ignore the violence perpetrated by the regime against protestors; she also mentions those who have lost their lives. She has kept in mind that by the time readers received her book a lot would have changed, so she frequently refers to the fact that we – her readers – would know more about the current situation than she did while writing it.
As she walks down every street, she supplements her story with memories and anecdotes from her childhood and adolescence, adding an emotional and personal dimension to her book and making it easy for readers to imagine why she is still attached to Cairo despite her long years in London.
The book is a refreshing spin on a now-over-a-year-old revolution. It brings hope. Soueif's sharp senses have led her to assume that by the time the book hits bookshelves, hope would still be the number one motivation and that's how she writes; invoking hope and persistence in the hearts of her readers.