PositiveThe Sunday Times (UK)This is a hell of a moment for a book like this to come out, and some might assume it’s a lightning-fast cash-in on a global tragedy. They would be wrong. Coronavirus hadn’t even appeared when Kucharski delivered the manuscript, so the disease isn’t directly addressed here. But the principles of contagion, which, he argues, can be applied to everything from folk stories and financial crises to itching and loneliness, are suddenly of pressing interest to all of us ... Kucharski’s maths is illuminating ... And Kucharski is capable of looking beyond the numbers, to the culture and politics of outbreaks ... Much of the book focuses on non-medical contagion, and the results are patchy. Kucharski is convincing on the effectiveness of treating gang-related violence as a public-health issue. When he turns to contagion in financial systems and social media, though, he’s on well-worn ground that has been covered with more skill and depth elsewhere ... So, will this book help you stay coronavirus-free? Maybe not in the way you might think. Every outbreak is different, so there’s only so much we can learn from previous contagions. The only sure way to dodge the bug is to reduce your personal interactions to zero. Stay home alone reading this for long enough, and you’ll be fine.