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Let’s all be friends

New research shows how our social ties can influence us for better—and worse: making us fatter, more likely to smoke, marry, divorce and even vote. Governments should take heed

By James Crabtree   March 2010

Spamalot: successful musicals need the right mix of new and old teammates

If friends of your friends begin to put on weight, you are likely to do the same—even if you don’t know the people in question, and even if they live hundreds of miles away. Obesity spreads like a fad; it is contagious.

This striking finding about how obesity spreads through social networks was the result of a 30-year study in Massachussetts, as Nicholas A Christakis and James H Fowler note in their new book, Connected: The Surprising Power of Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives (HarperPress).…

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