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Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

If you want to capture people’s attention so they will remember what you say and act on your ideas, this book is for you.

The authors, Chip and Dan Heath, say their book is a companion to Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. Gladwell introduces the “stickiness factor” and mentions that innovations are more likely to pass the tipping point when they are sticky. Chip and Dan Heath dig deeper to explore what makes an idea sticky.

The authors describe six principles of sticky ideas:

  • Simplicity: Strip the idea to its core to explain it simply and profoundly.
  • Unexpectedness: Surprise people to pique curiosity and generate interest. Example: “A bag of popcorn is as unhealthy as a whole day’s worth of fatty foods!”
  • Concreteness: Use real-world analogies and concrete images like “ice-filled bathtubs” to help people understand and remember ideas.
  • Credibility: The key is knowing which source is credible for the audience. Sometimes anti-authority may work better than authority.
  • Emotional: Show people how your ideas are associated with things that they already care about. Appeal to their self-interest as well as their identity – not only to the people that they are right now but also to the people they would like to be.
  • Stories: Stories are inspirational. Stories can also be simulations demonstrating how to solve a problem. Stories are one of the best ways to get people to act.

If you are looking for quick access to the main points of the book, refer to the “easy reference guide” at the end of the book. “Idea Clinics” throughout the book offer helpful exercises.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

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