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The Strength of the Wolf is the Pack…

The notion that you are the average of the five people you spend time with got a little more ammo today:

The Wall Street Journal shares a report from Riskalyze that shows someone’s risk tolerance is highly correlated to your neighbors (quibble: can this really be done at a State level?)

Your weight. is correlated with your friends.

The concatenation of these like groups, seems to increasingly reinforce itself, especially via online social networks, and the (related?) stratification of society. Charles Murray’s brilliant book Coming Apart dissected how this is increasingly manifest geographically, years before Amazon chose DC and NY as “second headquarters.”  

None of this is earth shattering news. A social graph version of the parental warning: “he/she is a bad influence” “runs in the wrong crowd.” It also makes me more aware of anchoring writ large.

Does one become ever more like the average of the five people…the fifty people…the five million people around you? How does the counterveiling force to social gravity work exactly?  

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