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My Wharton colleagues Jonah Berger and Katherine Milkman have an intriguing new paper out that analyzes what it takes for an article to make the New York Times‘s most emailed list. Their answer?

awe-inspiring articles are more likely to be among the newspaper’s most e-mailed stories

John Tierney wrote about these findings in yesterday’s Times, noting that this finding is at odds with the strategy he would recommend:

write an article headlined: “How Your Pet’s Diet Threatens Your Marriage, and Why It’s Bush’s Fault.”


Well, who’s right? It turns out that that readers email articles about which articles readers email. This morning’s list shows Tierney’s column on the Berger-Milkman results at number two.
(Oh, and have you ever tried Googling the word “recursion”? Click on the “did you mean” link, and you’ll have a complete definition.)