Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, is both a physician and a social scientist. Medicine and social science are like distant cousins who meet from time to time, see that they have much in common, and then get into an argument. Christakis has been trying to referee these arguments for years, sometimes with surprising success. He is a professor of medical sociology in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and professor of medicine and an attending physician in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. After finishing his clinical training in internal medicine, he combined his research with clinical practice as a hospice physician, looking for ways to improve end-of-life care. Since 1999, he has been investigating how social factors and social interactions affect health and longevity. Christakis is best known for his studies on how social networks form and operate. When he is not in the lab, he teaches students in many parts of Harvard University and in Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and is regularly voted a 'favorite professor' by Harvard undergraduates because of his engaging lecture style and open office hours. He was named to Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2009.
'In the category...of works of brilliant originality that stimulate and enlighten and can sometimes even change the way we understand the world' New York Times Review of Books
'An illuminating account of the pervasive and often bizarre qualities of social networks...We like to think we are largely in control of our day-to-day lives, yet most of what we do, and even the way we feel, is significantly influenced by those around us - and those around them, and those around them....The authors excel at drawing out the devil in the detail: their explanations of how the architecture of networks dictates their dynamics are compelling....profound' Michael Bond, New Scientist