The Dragonfly Effect Book Summary - The Dragonfly Effect Book explained in key points
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The Dragonfly Effect summary

Jennifer Aaker, Andy Smith with Carlye Adler

Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change

4.4 (23 ratings)
14 mins

Brief summary

The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Aaker, Andy Smith with Carlye Adler is a guide for creating impactful social media campaigns. It provides a four-step framework for driving social change and delivering positive results.

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    The Dragonfly Effect
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    Enacting social change via social media is possible through the Dragonfly Effect.

    In nature, the dragonfly is the only insect that can deftly and quickly maneuver in any direction in mid-air. It achieves this feat by using all of its four wings beautifully in concert.

    Similarly, if you want to enact social change through social media, there are four “wings” that can produce astounding results, but only if used in concert as meticulously as the dragonfly’s wings.

    To illustrate the point, let’s examine how these four wings are used by Samasource, a Kenyan charity organization that finds digital work for unemployed women and youths in impoverished countries.

    First, there is the so-called Focus wing: you must identify a simple concrete goal that you want to motivate others to achieve. For example, Samasource’s focus is simply to provide women, youths and refugees with dignified work so they can earn a living.

    Second, there’s the Grab Attention wing: if you want to reach people, you first need to get their attention. In its communications, Samasource emphasizes that unemployment can lead to social ills, such as gangs and terrorism – definite attention-grabbers!

    Third, there’s the Engage wing: if you want your audience to take action on behalf of your cause, you need to make them care about it by creating a personal connection to them. Samasource does this by sharing personal stories about the people it helps, but also about the donors who provide work for them.

    Finally, there’s the Take Action wing: you must enable and empower others to actually take action to further your cause. Here, Samasource offers three levels of action, the choice of which depends on the donor’s resources. The most desirable action would be for the donor to outsource work to Samasource. After that comes donating money. And, finally, the most basic supporting action is to promote the organization. This range of options helps and encourages all kinds of supporters to take part.

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    What is The Dragonfly Effect about?

    The Dragonfly Effect explains how anyone can harness the power of social media to get people behind meaningful social change.

    The Dragonfly Effect Review

    The Dragonfly Effect (2010) explores the art of creating social change by harnessing the power of social media. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Packed with practical strategies and real-life examples, it shows readers how to effectively leverage social media to create impact and inspire action.
    • By blending research-based insights with personal stories, the book provides a compelling and relatable approach to driving change in today's interconnected world.
    • With its engaging storytelling and empowering ideas, the book ensures that readers won't find it the least bit boring, but rather inspiring and thought-provoking.

    Best quote from The Dragonfly Effect

    Use short-term tactical micro goals to achieve long-term macro goals.

    —Jennifer Aaker, Andy Smith with Carlye Adler
    example alt text

    Who should read The Dragonfly Effect?

    • Anyone who works or wants to work with social media
    • Anyone who wants to change the world
    • Anyone who wants to make their voice heard

    About the Author

    Jennifer Aaker is a social psychologist and marketer who is currently a marketing professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Her work has been featured in several prominent magazines, including The Economist and The New York Times.

    Andy Smith is a seasoned technology marketing executive, and Aaker’s husband.


    Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith: The Dragonfly Effect copyright, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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    The Dragonfly Effect FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Dragonfly Effect?

    The main message of The Dragonfly Effect is that small actions can create big change by leveraging the power of social media and storytelling.

    How long does it take to read The Dragonfly Effect?

    The reading time for The Dragonfly Effect varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Dragonfly Effect a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Dragonfly Effect is worth reading as it offers practical strategies for using social media and storytelling to create meaningful change.

    Who is the author of The Dragonfly Effect?

    The authors of The Dragonfly Effect are Jennifer Aaker, Andy Smith, and Carlye Adler.

    What to read after The Dragonfly Effect?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Dragonfly Effect, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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