Book Review – Made to Stick

Book Review - Made to Stick

Mark Twain once observed, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on”.  His observation rings true.  Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus public health scares circulate effortlessly.  Meanwhile, people with important ideas, businesspeople, teachers, politicians, journalists, and others, struggle to make their ideas “stick”.

The brothers, Chip and Dan Heath, tackle why some ideas stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier by introducing us to six (6) principles spelling out SUCCESS:

  1. Simple
    1. Simplicity isn’t about dumbing down.  It’s about prioritizing.
  2. Unexpected
    1. To get attention, violate a schema. Use curiosity gaps.
  3. Concrete
    1. Use sensory language. Paint a mental picture.
  4. Credible
    1. Ideas can get credibility from outside (authorities) or from within, using human-scale statistics or vivid details.
  5. Emotional
    1. People care about people, not numbers.
  6. Stories
    1. Stories drive action through simulation (what to do) and inspiration (the motivation to do it). Help people see how an existing problem might change.

Here is an example supporting the act of doing the unexpected.  Curiosity comes from gaps in our knowledge.  How do you get people interested in a topic?  You point out a gap in their knowledge and you set context so people care what comes next by sequencing information and not dumping a stack of information on someone at once, but dropping a clue, then another clue, then another.  This method of communication resembles flirting more than lecturing.

Whether you’re a CEO or a full-time mom, you’ve got ideas that you need to communicate, whether it’s a new product coming to market, a strategy you want to sell your boss, or values you are trying to instill in your children.  But it’s hard, fiendishly so, to transform the way people think and act.

This book, STICK, makes it easier.  Buy it, read it and then move on to their next book, SWITCH.

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