Click: The Magic of Instant Connections--Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman

After I completed my review of Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, I was offered a review copy of Click:The Magic of Instant Connections, a book about which I had some doubts and reservations because the subject matter wasn't of the same compelling interest (to me) as that of Sway. Nevertheless, I had enjoyed the first book so much, I thought I had nothing to lose and much to gain by taking up the second.

And I'm glad that I did.  While the subject matter is not of the same caliber of interest as the first, I found myself gradually warming to the premise.  More than that, the authors indicated that it was their opinion that these magical connections did not have to be happenstance--that there were circumstances and practices that could help cultivate them.  Finally, the magic connections were not all about e-Harmony or e-Chemisty or e-I'm-Desperate-for-Any-Sort-of-Date; indeed, these were in the minority.  Most of the "clicks" described were things like star-performing athletic teams, teams of inventors, scientists, linguists, and other such connections.  Indeed, one or two of the examples did deal with romantic relationships--but it was not the bulk of the book.

And once gain, while reading the book, I was struck with the sensation that so much of what was here was simply common sense--things we've all experienced and noticed, but never really codified.  And that is why the book is so helpful.  It tells us what we've been doing that has helped over time to build up that sensation of "instant" connection even though the "instant" may have been after long acquaintance--the person you nod to in passing as you exit your apartment building, etc.

As a team player, what was most interesting to me were the things I could do to help foster the closeness and bond that a team needs to move forward with the process or a product.  That is where the book itself is a sort of magic.  As you read it you are able to pull from it practices and personal behaviors that help to foster the connection between people.  So whether you are running a start-up, managing a small group in a large company, putting together your Church's or charity's fundraiser, there are tips here about how to foster team-work and the connected spirit.  Some more easily implemented in some environments that others.

For example, the authors tall about the exponential power of proximity--how mere physical distance between the work spaces of different people make all the difference in who collaborates with whom.  Then how much sense it makes that if you are  in a business that requires a lot of teams--marketing, sales, production, innovation, ideation, etc.  that you sit in cross-functional groups oriented around a project rather than in the random honey-cluster of cubicles.  It doesn't guarantee that all will go well, but it certainly doesn't hurt the effort.

While reading the book, I was reminded at times of some of the points in Malcolm Galdwell's The Tipping Point.  But whereas Gladwell gives us a name and a function, the Brafmans give us some of the sense behind the person.  I'm thinking particularly here of the person Gladwell referred to as the connected one or connector--the person who knew and worked well with everyone.  The Brafman's provide the psychology behind that person, and perhaps even a sense that it is something each of us could do as the need arises.  Perhaps not, but it seems within the realm of possibility that if the occasion should call for it, each person could serve as the "glue" for the group.

If you're interested in psychology, sociology, neuroscience, and related fields, you may find much to interest you in this new book.  I didn't expect to like it and I'm highly gratified that I did and do.

Recommended ****

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