An idea takes off like wildfire, changing our world forever, as a deadly virus suddenly explodes into the population. We live in a world that’s more interconnected than ever before. Our lives are shaped by outbreaks of disease of misinformation, even of violence that appears, spread, and fade away with bewildering speed.
Adam Kucharski, an epidemiologist and an associate professor and Sir Henry Dale Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, completed the Rules of Contagion just before Covid-19 emerged in China and became a pandemic and prepares readers to make sense of the world’s worst pandemic since 1918, by distilling more than a century of scientific wisdom about the spread of the disease. The new science of contagion and how it shapes our lives and behaviour, as some ideas take off and others fail to spread. Why are some disease predictable and other swamped in uncertainty?
We live in a world that’s more concentrated than ever before and we see our lives being shaped by the spread of ideas, trends, and even disease. The pandemic outbreaks seem to be driven by randomness and hidden laws and in order to understand them we need to start thinking like mathematicians.
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.
Kucharski has been working on global outbreaks such as 2019-nCoV, Influenza, and Zika. He is also a TED senior fellow and winner of the 2016 Rosalind Franklin Award Lecture and the 2012 Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize.
WE need to learn the hidden laws that govern from the superspreaders who might spark a pandemic or bring down a financial system to the social dynamics that make loneliness catch on, as The Rules of Contagion offers compelling insights into human behaviour and explains how we can get better at predicting what happens next.
Kucharski explores how innovations spread through friendship networks, what links computer viruses with folk stories, and why the most useful predictions aren’t necessarily the ones that come true.
This is a perfectly timed informative and highly contagious book that educates the readers and makes sense of what is happening today by touching on psychology, medicine, network theory, and mathematics and reveals the hidden laws of how deadly viruses spread.
The Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread – and Why They Stop By Adam Kucharski, Profile Books £16.99.