Tuesday April 15, 2008

Made To Stick

13720484 Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Random House Publishing Group, 2007

Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus public-health scares circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas–business people, teachers, politicians, journalists, and others–struggle to make their ideas “stick."

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.”

You can think of this as a Business book; it was named Best Business Book of 2007 by The 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards. It also won the award for best Advertising/Marketing book.

I think of it as a "How the Mind Works" book.

Stories are inherently "sticky"; people tell them to each other. Company Mission Statements are much less so. Ideas stick because of people — people who hear the idea, repeat it, make it part of their lives, and share it with other people. To understand how to make an idea stick you need to understand how people think.

Why This Book

Chip Heath is a Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. His research "examines why certain ideas survive and prosper in the social marketplace of ideas."

Dan Heath co-founded a start-up publishing company called Thinkwell, determining "the best ways to teach subjects like economics, biology, calculus, and physics. ... Essentially, Dan enjoyed a crash course in what makes great teachers great."

In 2004 it dawned on us that we had been approaching the same problem from different angles. Chip had researched and taught what made ideas stick. Dan had tried to figure out pragmatic ways to make ideas stick. Chip had compared the success of different urban legends and stories. Dan had compared the success of different math and government lessons. Chip was the researcher and the teacher. Dan was the practitioner and the writer.

Six Principles of Sticky Ideas

We began to see the same themes, the same Attributes, reflected in a wide range of successful ideas. What we found... was that sticky ideas shared certain key traits. There is no "formula" for a sticky idea — we don't want to overstate the case. But sticky ideas do draw from a common set of traits, which make them more likely to succeed.
As we pored over hundreds of sticky ideas, we saw, over and over, the same six principles at work.

The six principles are:

• Simplicity — The essential core

• Unexpectedness — To get the audience to pay attention to our ideas, we need to violate people's expectations.

• Concreteness — Explaining our ideas in terms of human actions, in terms of sensory information

• Credibility — Sticky ideas have to carry their own credentials

• Emotions — Get people to care about our ideas; make them feel something.

• Stories — Get people to act on our ideas; people naturally swap stories

Those are the six principles of successful ideas. To summarize, here's our checklist for creating a successful idea: a Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Story.

Made to Stick is Sticky

The ideas are simple, yet quite a few were were unexpected. The concepts and research are concrete. I accept the authors credentials.

The book grabbed my interest and I found myself repeating stories to my spouse and co-workers. Made to Stick is, itself, sticky.

Read it yourself and find out why.

All quoted material above is excerpted from www.madetostick.com.

See Also:

Made To Stick ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Tue, 15 Apr, 20:10 Pacific | «e»

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