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I'll Have What She's Having: Mapping Social Behavior (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life) [Hardcover]

Alex Bentley , Mark Earls , Michael J. O'brien , John Maeda
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Oct 2011 Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life
Humans are, first and foremost, social creatures. And this, according to the authors of I'll Have What She's Having, shapes--and explains--most of our choices. We're not just blindly driven by hard-wired instincts to hunt or gather or reproduce; our decisions are based on more than "nudges" exploiting individual cognitive quirks.I'll Have What She's Having shows us how we use the brains of others to think for us and as storage space for knowledge about the world. The story zooms out from the individual to small groups to the complexities of populations. It describes, among other things, how buzzwords propagate and how ideas spread; how the swine flu scare became an epidemic; and how focused social learning by a few gets amplified as copying by the masses. It describes how ideas, behavior, and culture spread through the simple means of doing what others do.It is notoriously difficult to change behavior. For every "Yes We Can" political slogan, there are thousands of "Just Say No" buttons. I'll Have What She's Having offers a practical map to help us navigate the complex world of social behavior, an essential guide for anyone who wants to understand how people behave and how to begin to change things.

Frequently Bought Together

I'll Have What She's Having: Mapping Social Behavior (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life) + Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing Our True Nature + Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions
Price For All Three: 27.24

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press (4 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026201615X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262016155
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 201,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I'll Have What She's Having has profound implications for marketing. People are much less individual than we thought and much more influenced by other people than we realized. --John Kearon, Founder, CEO, and Chief Juicer, BrainJuicer Group PLC

This book is a very sophisticated treatment of the most critical influence on consumer decision-making. Every marketing plan must include this thinking in order to have a chance of being successful. --Robert Barocci, President and CEO, The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF)

Our community of shared ideas and practices comes from a process of imitation we are loath to acknowledge. (In fact our sharing comes from stealing.) But let us not repeat the error here. Bentley, Earls, and O'Brien deserve our unstinting thanks for this thoroughly lively, elegant, intelligent, useful, and companionable book. I for one intend to borrow from it liberally. You should too. --Grant McCracken, anthropologist and author of Chief Culture Officer: How to Create a Living, Breathing Corporation

About the Author

Michael J. O'Brien is Dean of the College of Arts and Science, Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Missouri.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The core idea behind this book, and the author's previous book 'Herd', is that we are not rational, straightforward decision making machines who cooly judge all of the available options and select the best fit. No, we are copying machines. We will seek to find comfort in our actions by copying others around us.

It's a big idea. It fundamentally changes how you perceive a lot of things in and around business. It's tricky to get your head around at first too, but this book really lays out a splendid, concise take on the idea that strips away as much unnecessary complexity as possible, and starts you thinking about how it might apply to what you do.

What's more, there's also a really useful model for looking at the patterns in the data of your business, and seeing to what extent you might in in an individual choice market, or indeed a market in which social choice and the copying of others is an intrinsic part.

Thought-provoking, enlightening and useful. Copy me and read it before everyone else does... ;)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book - but not the one I was hoping for 5 Jan 2012
I bought this book to see if it provides practical, marketing related answers to the questions that Mark Earls posed in `Herd'. By and large it does not; so if this is your interest I'd suggest waiting for the next one.

The authors state that their `ambition is to provide you with a practical and usable map to help you navigate your way through the complex world of human behaviour'. What this book mainly focuses on is providing an interesting historical review of many ideas, theories and experiments that have built on each other to understand how peoples' decisions are influenced by others in society. The map comes at the end and is a two by two analytical matrix. As such it provides a thought provoking and practical framework for thinking about how people take consumption decisions in different situations. But if there is any guidance provided on what you should then do as a consequence, I missed it. The nearest I found to this was a recommendation to `light many fires' e.g. spread your bets.

It is good at what it does - it's just not what I was hoping it is. It stimulates thought rather than providing a route map forward. My only gripe would be that the structure of the book is not made clear, so I sometimes found myself confused about why a particular section or new idea appeared where it did. This makes it more difficult to follow the argument that the authors are making.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great holistic Insight into human behavior 18 Nov 2011
I really enjoyed reading this book. Not only was it clear and concise but more importantly it managed to do what most books on behavioral economics lack: not only does it explain the fundamentals of how and why humans are social but it also explains how this can be applied to the real world.

Obviously this book is highly relevant to people in marketing and advertising but I think the core ideas here can be applied to every walk of life and thus would recommend this book to everyone who is remotely interested in the way people behave; from bankers to graphic designers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
The title of this study of social behavior comes from the Katz Deli scene in the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally. One woman observes another appearing to have an orgasm at a nearby table and tells the waiter: "I'll have what she's having." The title serves as useful shorthand for the human practices of imitation, replication and diffusion of ideas. Academics Alex Bentley and Michael J. O'Brien and consultant Mark Earls offer lucid prose and easy-to-follow examples in their fine introduction to social behavior. getAbstract recommends their insights to those interested in greater self-knowledge, social change, or marketing and innovation.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a 'must read' for ad/communications types 25 Oct 2011
For those of us in the advertising business the prevailing convention is to think about about human behaviour in terms of the individual. And the objective of advertising being to try and change that individuals behaviour.
'I'll have..' sets out to counter that convention by demonstrating that 'consumer' behaviour is far more social; ergo influence is social (ie peer influence etc).
And a pretty compelling argument it is too - though not necessarily a popular idea in adland ;) - obviously if you have followed the thread from 'Herd' and 'Welcome to the Creative Age', this is essentially part 3 of the trilogy.
The behavioural science version of Bowie's Berlin trilogy of Low, Heroes and Lodger, if you like.
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