Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Starred Review. Unabashedly inspired by Malcolm Gladwell's bestselling The Tipping Point, the brothers Heath-Chip a professor at Stanford's business school, Dan a teacher and textbook publisher-offer an entertaining, practical guide to effective communication. Drawing extensively on psychosocial studies on memory, emotion and motivation, their study is couched in terms of...

Title:Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
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Edition Language:English

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Reviews

  • Sundeep

    : When marketing anything, keep these six concepts in mind if you want your message to shtick: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories; yes, my friends, that spells SUCCESs. If it sounds like too much work, these two concepts also work: Free, Sex (noooo, that’s not in the book…but it works I tell you!).

    Si. It’s a quick, fun read full of interesting anecdotes and examples that make the book’s message more *concrete* (a-hem). If

    : When marketing anything, keep these six concepts in mind if you want your message to shtick: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories; yes, my friends, that spells SUCCESs. If it sounds like too much work, these two concepts also work: Free, Sex (noooo, that’s not in the book…but it works I tell you!).

    Si. It’s a quick, fun read full of interesting anecdotes and examples that make the book’s message more *concrete* (a-hem). If you’re never going to pick it up, at least read a breakdown of the six principles on the book’s website.

    One(ish)-liners for each of the six principles:

    * Simplicity - boil it all down to the core message you want people to walk away with….the one thing they should know/do…the key takeaway….the essence of your point…the singular (okay, I’ll stop).

    * Unexpectedness - generate interest and curiosity by being counter-intuitive or using surprise/some other technique. Oh, and you should send me money (see? that’s called “surprise”).

    * Concreteness - explain ideas “in terms of human actions, in terms of sensory information”; people think in pictures, so paint a picture. For example, I’m sitting at my desk in my room typing this on my Dell laptop, sipping water and eating green curry chicken over rice. If you make it to the end of this post, I bet you’ll remember what I ate, but you won’t remember all six principles.

    * Credibility - it’s only what is said because of who says it; make sense? If you can’t get a spokesperson (Oprah), be vividly detailed; “sticky ideas have to carry their own credentials”.

    * Emotions - get people to care about your idea by evoking a feeling around your idea, and keep in mind that “we are wired to feel things for people, not for abstraction.” You make me happy by reading this blog post. (Don’t you feel happier knowing that, mom?)

    * Stories - wrap the idea with context and it’ll be remembered as associated with that context; sometimes, analogies work great here as they ground the idea in a story or context folks are familiar with (analogies also allow you to check off “simple” and “concrete”; for example, “my blog is the Pinto of the blogosphere” says a lot about my blog. And me, unfortunately.)

    Key takeaways:

    * Think about what YOU would respond to if YOU were your target audience (make sense?). First this means understanding the frame of mind/perspective of your target audience (note: this is HARD). Then, it’s asking questions like “what would make me take notice?” Throw off what the authors affectionately refer to as the “Curse of Knowledge” (corny, but true) and go from there. How does your target audience views the world? What’s important to them? (Which raises some good questions…who are you people? And what’s important to you?)

    * Make ideas interesting in some way/shape/form. Sounds incredibly obvious but it’s in fact hard to do (think of all the crap advertising you see these days…clearly, if it were interesting it wouldn’t be crap…I’ll bet you had a hard time remembering explicit crap ads precisely because they were crap). Playing into people’s curiosity can be a powerful way to make things interesting (guess what color boxers I’m wearing).

    * When pitching something, emphasize benefits, not features; people want to know what’s in it for them (self-interest), or how what you’re offering supports something they believe in (identity). If you can nail both, you’ve got a winner (this whole “organic” craze, for example).

    * Final excerpt from the book. “For an idea to stick, for it to be useful and lasting, it’s got to make the audience:

    1. Pay attention

    2. Understand and remember it

    3. Agree/Believe

    4. Care

    5. Be able to act on it”

    6. Think free. Or sex. Or both.

    Okay, without looking, what are the six principles? And what did I eat? And how much money are you sending me?

  • Trevor

    I came upon this book in a convoluted fashion. It was nearly recommended to me in a round about sort of way by Richard, a GoodReads friend, when he pointed to a review of

    by someone else on GoodReads who is some sort of expert in the field (although, I have to admit I’m still not totally sure which field that is). The expert felt Gladwell was a little too simplistic. I enjoyed Gladwell’s books very much and so was keen to see what made them seem too simplistic to someone ‘in the field’ and

    I came upon this book in a convoluted fashion. It was nearly recommended to me in a round about sort of way by Richard, a GoodReads friend, when he pointed to a review of

    by someone else on GoodReads who is some sort of expert in the field (although, I have to admit I’m still not totally sure which field that is). The expert felt Gladwell was a little too simplistic. I enjoyed Gladwell’s books very much and so was keen to see what made them seem too simplistic to someone ‘in the field’ and what a book they would recommend as not being too simplistic would be like. I was surprised, then, when this one started by praising Gladwell’s

    .

    This is a very interesting book. There is no question that this book would be very useful if you are a teacher or a journalist – it shows how stories are better than lists of facts and statistics and shows how structuring your message around concrete examples that are directly relevant to the needs of your audience is going to make your audience much more interested in what you have to say. This all sounds far too familiar and far too simple – but actually, the book is remarkably good at breathing new life into these near clichés. The problem is that everyone knows things like KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) but no one ever bothers following this advice, mostly because it is given as abstract advice (some idiot talking about the KISS Principle) rather than in good, clear examples in ways that are designed to make the lesson stick.

    Many of the stories in this book I had heard before, in fact, many more of the stories in this book than in any of Gladwell’s books, but they are told not so much to get you to drop your jaw in surprise, which does seem to be Gladwell’s gift even when I don’t agree with him, but rather to instruct,

    The clever thing they do in the book is to use lots of stories from not-for-profit organisations that are seeking to get their message across – stories not just about people making money – and how these organisations have been ‘creative’ in attracting the attention of their potential audience. The point that is made over and again is that it really has nothing to do with being creative, it is about knowing what the rules are that make a good story – a story that is directed at illuminating your key message.

    That is another thing that I learned in this book – that there should be one message, not three, that if you have three main messages no one will remember any of your ‘messages’.

    At the start of this book I was worried that it might turn out to be a ‘standard American Self-help book’ as it did have that kind of smell about it. But it redeemed itself nicely. The advice is the kind of advice one can never hear too frequently about the benefits of keeping a message simple and direct. It is not about dumbing down the message, it is about making the message clear. And there is a hell of a difference between those two.

    Like a good self-help book there is even a crappy acronym, which in this case is SUCCES:

    • Simple — find the core of any idea

    • Unexpected — grab people's attention by surprising them

    • Concrete — make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later

    • Credibility — give an idea believability

    • Emotion — help people see the importance of an idea

    • Stories — empower people to use an idea through narrative

    But crappy acronyms can be sadly underrated and this one worked well at structuring the book and in summarising the message. (I’ve stolen the dotpoints from here

    )

    This is, in fact, a very good book and the sort of book that anyone who tends towards corporate speak should be forced to read – well, forced to read after they have been sent to a re-education camp for due punishment for six months. I’m thinking along the lines of bamboo under fingernails or perhaps waterboarding before Obama bans it. If you are afraid that you might make PowerPoint presentations that are just like everyone else’s – and that idea sends a shiver down your spine – this book is for you.

    I’ve been rather lucky lately, I’ve found a string of fascinatingly interesting books.

    Enjoy…

  • James

    Some business books are written to promote consulting gigs. This is one such book. You can usually tell when the summary chapter just takes the table of contents and re-arranges it a little. I picked this up because one of the authors is the founder of an innovative website used extensively by my kids---Thinkwell.com.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with this book. The ideas are coherent, presented well, and made relatively easy to digest (following the their own enunciated principle of the "p

    Some business books are written to promote consulting gigs. This is one such book. You can usually tell when the summary chapter just takes the table of contents and re-arranges it a little. I picked this up because one of the authors is the founder of an innovative website used extensively by my kids---Thinkwell.com.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with this book. The ideas are coherent, presented well, and made relatively easy to digest (following the their own enunciated principle of the "pomelo scheme"). The examples are good if outdated (the wood block Palm Pilot example is a little dated. Do people even know what a Palm Pilot is anymore?). The ideas are even useful. And the mnemonic SUCCESs to describe their central idea is cute.

    But there is no practical way to translate these ideas into the real world. For example, the Sinatra Test (one successful outcome means that every outcome will be successful) is a little dubious and the example of Safexpress tells about the outcome, but not how it was achieved. I suspect that here is where you would need consultants.

    Again, it's not a bad book. It's not meant to be a how to manual. But I suggest that you borrow, not buy, your copy.

  • Anya

    When I have enough money to buy books again, I'm planning to build a marketing and communications library. It will consist of three books: "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell, "Influence" by Robert Cialdini, and this book, which is maybe the one of the three that knocked me on my butt most often as I was reading it.

    The (adorable!) Heath brothers (check out their nerdy-preppy hottitude on the back cover!) are Chip, a Stanford business professor, and Dan, an education and new media consultant

    When I have enough money to buy books again, I'm planning to build a marketing and communications library. It will consist of three books: "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell, "Influence" by Robert Cialdini, and this book, which is maybe the one of the three that knocked me on my butt most often as I was reading it.

    The (adorable!) Heath brothers (check out their nerdy-preppy hottitude on the back cover!) are Chip, a Stanford business professor, and Dan, an education and new media consultant in NC. This book examines why certain stories, marketing ploys, teaching methods, lesson plans, public-service announcements, and other forms of communication succeed and others fail. For example, why is a lurid but absurd urban legend so much easier to remember than the highly worthy and well-supported mission statement of a nonprofit?

    The book breaks down into six components the qualities an idea needs to have in order to "stick"--to be remembered by people and influence their behavior. The Heath Bros do a great job practicing what they preach; the book is clear, engaging, and packed with wonderful (and memorable) anecdotes and examples. The Shark Attack clinic is an instant classic; I also loved their discussions of effective (and ineffective) anti-smoking and anti-littering ads.

    This book will be highly useful to any entrepreneur, parent, pastor/rabbi, teacher, advertiser, CEO, or other communicator who needs to get his or her point across.

  • Mark Dickson

    Perhaps it was because this book came highly recommended from a reliable source, but I was greatly disappointed. This book was a redundant snooze. The ultimate test, I suppose, is whether the ideas from this book do, in fact, stick. It suffices to say that "enjoyability" is NOT on the list of what makes an idea stick.

    It's quite clear that the authors are doing their utmost to follow their own advice. That this makes the book almost unreadably repetitive is possibly an argument against the book'

    Perhaps it was because this book came highly recommended from a reliable source, but I was greatly disappointed. This book was a redundant snooze. The ultimate test, I suppose, is whether the ideas from this book do, in fact, stick. It suffices to say that "enjoyability" is NOT on the list of what makes an idea stick.

    It's quite clear that the authors are doing their utmost to follow their own advice. That this makes the book almost unreadably repetitive is possibly an argument against the book's worth. On the other hand, if the ideas in the book stay with you, then their premise that beating you over the skull with a blunt object is the best way to make ideas stick may be both accurate and demonstrable.

    Don't get me wrong. I wanted to like this book. It just read so much like a boring textbook for college freshmen that it was often hard to stomach.

    Of course, this could just be a mismatched audience gripe. If you're a clueless corporate advertising wannabe, this book will probably be right up your alley. Or if you're teaching a course on advertising or communication, your students might get something out of it.

    If you're actually into what makes ideas stick, why not pick something a little more rigorous, perhaps on memetics. I recommend Susan Blackmore's "Meme Machines" or Richard Brodie's "Virus of the Mind". For the more philosophically inclined, Dan Dennett's "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" might also be a lot of fun.

  • Lili Manolache

    The book "Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath Chow, is about how to make your ideas memorable; be it promoting a product / project, being a professional, forwarding a company's strategy or lessons to students. Everything revolves around the SUCCESS methodology. For an idea to stick, for it to be useful and lasting, it's got to make the audience:

    Pay attention - Unexpected

    Understand and remember it - Concrete

    Agree/Believe - Credible

    Care - Emotional

    Be a

    The book "Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath Chow, is about how to make your ideas memorable; be it promoting a product / project, being a professional, forwarding a company's strategy or lessons to students. Everything revolves around the SUCCESS methodology. For an idea to stick, for it to be useful and lasting, it's got to make the audience:

    Pay attention - Unexpected

    Understand and remember it - Concrete

    Agree/Believe - Credible

    Care - Emotional

    Be able to act on it - Story.

    "Made to Stick" is a book that stands as proof of how to apply the suggestions in it, if you get as it is written: with many stories as examples, with simple language, and without long and pompous paragraphs. And with occasion, I will tell you a lesson taken from the book: it's written in the inverted pyramid style.

    This is a type of book I would recommend to anybody!

  • Kevan

    Update #2: Yep. Still recommending it. I

    Update #1, at the halfway point: five stars already.

    I want to read this book twice, at least. This will directly change how I write, present, think, create and make things. I know I need to keep experimenting to make my communication more memorable, more meaningful, and I'll be playing with many of the techniques described here.

    A few key points that I want to experiment with in my own work:

    "If you've asked somebody to remember three things, you've asked

    Update #2: Yep. Still recommending it. I

    Update #1, at the halfway point: five stars already.

    I want to read this book twice, at least. This will directly change how I write, present, think, create and make things. I know I need to keep experimenting to make my communication more memorable, more meaningful, and I'll be playing with many of the techniques described here.

    A few key points that I want to experiment with in my own work:

    "If you've asked somebody to remember three things, you've asked them to remember nothing." I need to simplify messages to ONE key element. (I will use this when writing Voice & Tone guidelines for clients)

    Use mystery to open a knowledge gap for people. It keeps people glued to the end if you've activated their curiosity - it's why people stick around to finish even bad movies; they need to know how it ends. So, can you open a piece by asking a question? Can you start a presentation by asking how somebody would approach a certain problem? Can you pace content with clues and reveals?

    Make examples concrete. Use physical objects and demonstrations. Heck, create a physical installation art piece instead of a powerpoint presentation. Help people to experience, touch and see your idea, make it UNabstract, to make it memorable. There's an an amazing story of HP pitching Disney by creating a walkthrough pop-up museum that showcased HP technology in-use at a Disney park -- INSTEAD of creating a powerpoint presentation.

    Boil down goals to simple, concrete statements. Sony wanted to make a "pocketable radio" long before radios were pocket sized, and they said so in those words. It motivates legions of engineers. JFK's "put a man on the moon by the end of the decade" statement (instead of "prove our superiority in long-distance transportation technology over the blah-blah-blah"). To kill corporate blah, you need to mention specific objects, nouns, locations, timespans.

    Think Aesop's Fables: simple stories, simple messages, starring animals performing tasks. They've endured for millennia because there is nothing remotely abstract about them.

    What I'm learning so far: Kill the abstract. Get concrete. Choose ONE message, not several.

    I'm really excited to keep pushing myself to write/present/think better using these techniques. There is especially a lot here for when you want to motivate internal teams, launch projects, influence a company culture, all of which are skills I want to be better at.

    I'm halfway through the book; expect another update soon.

  • Mahdi Nasseri

    این کتاب عالی است. به نظرم به تمام معنا مطالعه آن برای همه نیاز است. نه تنها شما را در جایگاه شغلی و اجتماعی قدرتمند می کنه بلکه بهتون کمک می کنه تا بسیاری از باورها، رویدادها و ایده هایی رو که در محیط اطرافمون باهاش مواجه می شیم رو بتونیم به درستی تحلیل کنیم و بشناسیم.

    خوندن این کتاب رو به همه توصیه می کنم.

    ترجمه عالی این کتاب در کنار چاپ بسیار با کیفیت خوندن این کتاب رو لذت بخش تر کرده.

  • Mohamed Al Marzooqi

    دعوني أبدأ بالقول بأنني أكره كتب التنمية وتطوير الذات وكل ما دار في فلكها، وأنني أفضل قراءة كتاب طبخ حول طريقة إعداد "المحشي" على قراءة كتاب لأولئك المحتالين الذين يبيعون وهمًا للمغفلين. كما أن أسوأ كوابيسي هو أن أستيقظ يومًا في جزيرة معزولة وليس في حوزتي سوى كتاب من هذا النوع على شاكلة "كيف تصبح مليونيرًا في ٣ أيام" "كيف تغير العالم بضغطة زر" (في الواقع إذا كنت في جزيرة معزلة فعلاً سأتمنى أن يكون معي كتالوج من "إيكيا" لتركيب قارب خشبي أستطيع أن أستقله لأهرب من الجزيرة).

    لكن هذا الكتاب مختلف فعلا

    دعوني أبدأ بالقول بأنني أكره كتب التنمية وتطوير الذات وكل ما دار في فلكها، وأنني أفضل قراءة كتاب طبخ حول طريقة إعداد "المحشي" على قراءة كتاب لأولئك المحتالين الذين يبيعون وهمًا للمغفلين. كما أن أسوأ كوابيسي هو أن أستيقظ يومًا في جزيرة معزولة وليس في حوزتي سوى كتاب من هذا النوع على شاكلة "كيف تصبح مليونيرًا في ٣ أيام" "كيف تغير العالم بضغطة زر" (في الواقع إذا كنت في جزيرة معزلة فعلاً سأتمنى أن يكون معي كتالوج من "إيكيا" لتركيب قارب خشبي أستطيع أن أستقله لأهرب من الجزيرة).

    لكن هذا الكتاب مختلف فعلاً، ليس لأنه مكتوب بطريقة بسيطة ومسلية فقط، ولكن لأنني استفدت منه كثيرًا على الصعيدين الشخصي والمهني.

    بدأت بقراءة الكتاب قبل ٦ سنوات عندما كنت طالبًا في أستراليا، وتركته بالخطأ خلفي، مع ما تركته من كتب الجامعة والمحاضرات، بعد عودتي إلى الإمارات. ولكن كان يكفيني الجزء البسيط الذي قرأته لأكون قادًرا على

    1. خلق أفكار مبتكرة

    2. إيصالها للآخرين

    3. ترسيخها في عقولهم

    4. دفعهم للإهتمام بها والعمل بها

    وهذه هي المحاور التي يرقص حولها الكتاب بكل اختصار.

    قمت خلال ال٣ سنوات الأخيرة بتأسيس ناديين للقراءة أصبحا في ما بعد أهم وأشهر نوادي القراءة الافتراضية في الإمارات، ومن ثم شاركت في تأسيس مبادرة ثقافية تجمع تحت مظلتها هذين الناديين ومشاريع أخرى. وفي كل مرة يسألني شخص ما كيف راودتني هذه الأفكار المبتكرة كنت أبتسم وأدعو في قلبي لمؤلفي الكتاب اللذين غيرا طريقتي في توليد الأفكار.

    لذلك كدت أطير فرحًا عندما وجدت الكتاب مترجمًا في إحدى المكتبات في أبوظبي، وسارعت لاقتنائه وقراءته من جديد.. ولكن بشكلٍ كامل هذه المرة!

    أيًا كنتم أعزائي القراء: موظفين حكوميين، أصحاب مشاريع، صحفيين، كُتّاب .. إلخ ستجدون هذا الكتاب مفيدًا وملهمًا لكم.

  • Snuggles  with Rainbows

    I don’t know why I’m surprised at my 5star rating. I was recommended this book by multiple people, including the professionals of Goodreads. The final nail on the coffin was when my Dad just handed me this book saying, “You know for a Doctor, you should really read this book!”

    Way to go Dad! That’s what did it. He throws in that ‘doctor’-word in there and I’m eating from the palm of his hand.

    But on a serious note, this book was enlightening to me on so many levels. Not only did I resonate with

    I don’t know why I’m surprised at my 5star rating. I was recommended this book by multiple people, including the professionals of Goodreads. The final nail on the coffin was when my Dad just handed me this book saying, “You know for a Doctor, you should really read this book!”

    Way to go Dad! That’s what did it. He throws in that ‘doctor’-word in there and I’m eating from the palm of his hand.

    But on a serious note, this book was enlightening to me on so many levels. Not only did I resonate with it from the perspective of a new healthcare professional but also as an individual who loves to learn new things. Furthermore, the authors of the book have made the premise very appealing to anyone.

    As a doctor, I face the challenge of selling harder yet healthy ways of life to my patients everyday. With the advent of the internet, it has making my job harder and harder. It is much easier now for people to have preconceived notions about their health and treatment plan before I ever see them. Something as simple as vaccinations now has become this hazy and controversial topic. I completely see now [after reading this book] how an idea can infiltrate a nation of individuals seamlessly.

    Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to broaden their horizons. It will make you question a lot of things you hear and see. It will definitely make you reconsider how you present your thoughts and ideas to someone else. I hope you like it as much as I did!


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