Connected: The amazing power of social networks and how they shape our lives

RSA Keynote

The notion of the self-determining, self-directed individual is rapidly losing favour as we discover ever more about the way humans operate, behave, and make decisions in social contexts.

Social scientist Nicholas A. Christakis visits the RSA to explain how our social networks influence our ideas, emotions, health, relationships, behaviour, politics, and so much more. It transpires that your colleague’s husband’s sister can make you fat, even if you don’t know her. And a happy friend is more relevant to your happiness than a bigger income. Our connections - our friends, their friends, and even their friends’ friends - have an astonishing power to influence everything from what we eat to who we vote for. And we, in turn, influence others. Our actions can change the behaviours, the beliefs, and even the basic health of people we’ve never met.

In showing how we are all unavoidably and inextricably connected, Christakis presents a picture of an unknowingly collaborative society, and what we can do to best utilise the power of these networks.

Chair: Matthew Taylor, chief executive, RSA

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