I'll Have What She's Having

From Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life

I'll Have What She's Having

Mapping Social Behavior

By R. Alexander Bentley, Mark Earls and Michael J. O'Brien

Foreword by John Maeda

How we learn from those around us: an essential guide to understanding how people behave.





How we learn from those around us: an essential guide to understanding how people behave.

Humans are, first and foremost, social creatures. And this, according to the authors of I'll Have What She's Having, shapes—and explains—most of our choices. We're not just blindly driven by hard-wired instincts to hunt or gather or reproduce; our decisions are based on more than “nudges” exploiting individual cognitive quirks.

I'll Have What She's Having shows us how we use the brains of others to think for us and as storage space for knowledge about the world. The story zooms out from the individual to small groups to the complexities of populations. It describes, among other things, how buzzwords propagate and how ideas spread; how the swine flu scare became an epidemic; and how focused social learning by a few gets amplified as copying by the masses. It describes how ideas, behavior, and culture spread through the simple means of doing what others do.

It is notoriously difficult to change behavior. For every “Yes We Can” political slogan, there are thousands of “Just Say No” buttons. I'll Have What She's Having offers a practical map to help us navigate the complex world of social behavior, an essential guide for anyone who wants to understand how people behave and how to begin to change things.


$27.00 T ISBN: 9780262016155 160 pp. | 5.375 in x 8 in 13 b&w illus.


John Maeda.


  • [A] highly informative tool-kit for understanding the exchange of knowledge and behaviour between people and is a must-read for anyone engaged in marketing and social media.

    Collyn Ahart


  • It's fascinating, thought-provoking, and contains some really useful, practical structures around using data around a business to understand what sort of market you're in.

    John V. Willshire



  • I'll Have What She's Having has profound implications for marketing. People are much less individual than we thought and much more influenced by other people than we realized.

    John Kearon

    Founder, CEO, and Chief Juicer, BrainJuicer Group PLC

  • This book is a very sophisticated treatment of the most critical influence on consumer decision-making. Every marketing plan must include this thinking in order to have a chance of being successful.

    Robert Barocci

    President and CEO, The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF)

  • Our community of shared ideas and practices comes from a process of imitation we are loath to acknowledge. (In fact our sharing comes from stealing.) But let us not repeat the error here. Bentley, Earls, and O'Brien deserve our unstinting thanks for this thoroughly lively, elegant, intelligent, useful, and companionable book. I for one intend to borrow from it liberally. You should too.

    Grant McCracken

    anthropologist and author of Chief Culture Officer: How to Create a Living, Breathing Corporation

  • Social networks and the power of word of mouth are increasingly important today. If you have been looking for social influence models corresponding to rational decision theory and behavioral economics, this is the book for you. Insightful examples and innovative mapping of collective behavior make this a fun and must-read book.

    Yoram (Jerry) Wind

    Lauder Professor and Director of the SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania