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Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
By Chip and Dan Heath
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 news stories circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas such us entrepreneurs, teachers, politicians, and journalists, struggle to make them “stick.”
In Made to Stick, the authors 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. Along the way, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds—from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony—draw their power from the same six traits.
Made to Stick will transform the way you communicate. It’s 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 ideas—and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.
“MADE to STICK” SUCCESs model
A sticky idea is understood, it’s remembered, and it changes something. Sticky ideas of all kinds—ranging from the “kidney thieves” urban legend to JFK’s “Man on the Moon” speech—have six traits in common. If you make use of these traits in your communication, you’ll make your ideas stickier. (You don’t need all 6 to have a sticky idea, but it’s fair to say the more, the better!)
Simplicity isn’t about dumbing down, it’s about prioritizing. (Southwest will be THE low-fare airline.) What’s the core of your message? Can you communicate it with an analogy or high-concept pitch?
To get attention, violate a schema. (The Nordie who ironed a shirt…) To hold attention, use curiosity gaps. (What are Saturn’s rings made of?) Before your message can stick, your audience has to want it
To be concrete, use sensory language. (Think Aesop’s fables.) Paint a mental picture. (“A man on the moon…”) Remember the Velcro theory of memory—try to hook into multiple types of memory.
Ideas can get credibility from outside (authorities or anti-authorities) or from within, using human-scale statistics or vivid details. Let people “try before they buy.” (Where’s the Beef?)
People care about people, not numbers. (Remember Rokia.) Don’t forget the WIIFY (What’s In It For You). But identity appeals can often trump self-interest. (“Don’t Mess With Texas” spoke to Bubba’s identity.)
Stories drive action through simulation (what to do) and inspiration (the motivation to do it). Think Jared. Springboard stories (See Denning’s World Bank tale) help people see how an existing problem might change.