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Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps.
In this indispensable guide, we discover that sticky messages of all kindsfrom the infamous kidney theft ring hoax to a coachs lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sonydraw their power from the same six traits.
Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. Its a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures)the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of the Mother Teresa Effect; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideasand tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 45.
- Review Date: 2006-10-16
- Reviewer: Staff
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 "stickiness"—that is, the art of making ideas unforgettable. They start by relating the gruesome urban legend about a man who succumbs to a barroom flirtation only to wake up in a tub of ice, victim of an organ-harvesting ring. What makes such stories memorable and ensures their spread around the globe? The authors credit six key principles: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories. (The initial letters spell out "success"—well, almost.) They illustrate these principles with a host of stories, some familiar (Kennedy's stirring call to "land a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth" within a decade) and others very funny (Nora Ephron's anecdote of how her high school journalism teacher used a simple, embarrassing trick to teach her how not to "bury the lead"). Throughout the book, sidebars show how bland messages can be made intriguing. Fun to read and solidly researched, this book deserves a wide readership. (Jan. 16)
The keys to staying power
Why do we remember some advertising jingles and not others? How did we learn to wear seatbelts? Why do we scan food labels looking for trans fats? Because of sticky ideas, the memorable messages that catch and hold our attention. Dan Heath, an educational publisher, and Chip Heath, a Stanford Business School professor, offer these examples and many more in Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. The brothers Heath praise companies such as Southwest Airlines, Wendy's and Subway for making their company identities memorable. (Who can forget Southwest's peanuts, the phrase "Where's the Beef?" or Jared, the man who lost weight by eating only Subway sandwiches?)
The chapters are devoted to the principles of stickiness (a concept derived from Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point): simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories. Naturally, the book itself is full of unforgettable phrases, such as, "the Sinatra test," which divines whether one example alone will prove a point, named in honor of Frank Sinatra's assertion that if he can make it in New York, he can make it anywhere.
Fantasy, the Heaths write, is an important part of creating unforgettable ideas. When you go to a store, for instance, and the employees are called team members while you are referred to as a guest, you can enjoy the fantasy that you're not really there to exchange your hard-earned money for overpriced goods; you're visiting with a collegial bunch of pals.
Made to Stick is about achieving aspirations, both in business and in our personal lives. "How do we make people care about our ideas?," the Heaths ask. "We appeal to their self-interest, but we also appeal to their identitiesnot only to the people they are right now but also to the people they would like to be."
Eliza McGraw is a writer living in Washington, D.C.