This month’s book is Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger.  I am always on my pulpit speaking about disaster preparedness.  Are you prepared? Are your kids prepared?  What would you, your family or your loved ones do if a disaster or emergency occurred?  On this Blog and in all my classes, I relate back to and refer to one thing over and over, teaching our children “Good Habits” when they are young so that as they get older, they will survive any disaster or emergency they may face.  What does this have to do with this month’s book?

All of the ideas, concocts, latest strategies and innovative techniques for teaching disaster preparedness do not work if your message never “catches on.”  This is where understanding why things go “viral” and why some ideas work and some, which may be better, never do is the key to success.  Think about your clothes on fire, what would you do?  It is one of those early taught good habits.

In this very good book, Berger analyzes why some ideas are immediate hits.  He relays the steps to follow for trying to achieve this goal.  The book is not a disaster preparedness book, it is more of a marketing book.  However, marketing is where we as Emergency Managers sometimes come up short.  If the public does not hear our message, or they hear it and forget it, then those good habits will never be created.  The difference between living and dying is proper preparedness.

Many, if not all of you, have probably had a cheese steak.  If you are from the Philadelphia area, you know about cheese steak wars.  Could you imagine selling a cheese steak for $100, and people come and buy it?  In this book, find out why the $100 cheese steak is not only being sold, but very popular and is advertised mostly by word of mouth.  Think about the last time you got a good deal on a product or service, I bet you quickly told family and friends.  This is what we have to do with disaster preparedness.

If you get a chance to read this informative and excellent book and you want to discuss or send me your thoughts, please send me an email at duane.hagelgans@millersville.edu

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