Book: Made to Stick

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Summary: An investigation into why some ideas stick better than others, with a discussion of six qualities of ideas that can increase their stickiness

Intended Audience: Anyone seeking to influence or advocate their ideas at work, at home, or in the community; those who have seen great ideas fail

Why You Should Read It: Building successfully on The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, this book dives deeply into reasons why some ideas become sticky and others don’t.
Through numerous examples and some well-considered case studies, the Heath brothers discuss six key things to use to improve the chances of your idea’s survival:

  • simplicity: ideas that are distilled to their essence are easier to remember and can encapsulate a powerful message
  • unexpectedness: we are exposed to lots of things and are more likely to remember those that catch us by surprise
  • concreteness: concrete ideas are easier to understand and are more likely to mean the same thing to most people
  • credibility: if you can believe that the idea is true, you are more likely to remember it
  • emotional: we hold more firmly onto ideas to which we have an emotional attachment
  • stories: stories provide a context to remember details and sequences and are a proven means to propagate information

My Takeaways

  • Many ideas die not because they are poor ideas but because they are poorly presented. Refocusing the message using some of these six qualities can make a huge difference.
  • Emotional stickiness is a powerful tool that can be used in unexpected situations. The Don’t Mess With Texas campaign has appealed deeply to even anti-authoritarian Texans for 25 years.
  • Just as there are strategies for improving stickiness, there are times when you may need to employ strategies to unstick ideas. This is especially necessary when there are false perceptions that need to be corrected.

Recommended?: Every bit as good as Switch