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Review of The Watercooler Effect

My Review of The Watercooler Effect by Nicholas DiFonzo

Submitted by K. Haney, August, 2008

RATING: 3 Stars

The Watercooler Effect was surprising to me as I thought it would be a dull, scientific stuffy type read and that isn't my kind of reading. However, Nicholas DiFonzo kept my attention with his smart and clever examples and explanations. In fact, the lack of too much research or depth surprised me.

After studying why we spread rumors, DiFonzo also discussed why we believe in them and what rumors do to each of us. We all know how we are taught in school that rumors can spread and change with each telling and this book looks into how rumors can affect our lives and how we act.

DiFonzo studied rumors for more than 15 years and explains the process of how rumors basically get started mostly around areas such as the coffee pot or watercooler at work. Probably more interesting is what he found out about why we spread rumors. Using some humor, the author tells a lot about the person who is spreading them. He found that when people are in an uncomfortable situation, they like to talk to one another to get some relief and thus the rumors are born. DiFonzo analyzed some specialized rumors that play even bigger roles in our lives. Those included ones made in the military and government situations. Thank goodness he found that most military rumors tend to be true while often political rumors do not.

The book was an interesting one of a kind read but not my kind of book, as although I found it fairly interesting and sometimes clever, I am more of a fiction reader. It is good to know, however, that rumors can hurt people and that most people take them, sadly, at face value.