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Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Hardcover – January 2, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 291 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400064287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400064281
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (650 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—While at first glance this volume might resemble the latest in a series of trendy business advice books, ultimately it is about storytelling, and it is a how-to for crafting a compelling narrative. Employing a lighthearted tone, the Heaths apply those selfsame techniques to create an enjoyable read. They analyze such narratives as urban legends and advertisements to discover what makes them memorable. The authors provide a simple mnemonic to remember their stickiness formula, and the basic principles may be applied in any situation where persuasiveness is an asset. The book is a fast read peppered with exercises to test the techniques proposed. Some examples act as pop quizzes and engage readers in moments of self-reflection. The book draws on examples from teachers, scientists, and soldiers who have been successful at crafting memorable ideas, from the well-known blue eye/brown eye exercise conducted by an Iowa elementary school teacher as an experiential lesson in prejudice following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., to conversations among Xerox repairmen. Readers who enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell's Blink (2005) and The Tipping Point (2000, both Little, Brown) will appreciate this clever take on contemporary culture.—Heidi Dolamore, San Mateo County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

261 of 281 people found the following review helpful By Brad Shorr on February 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With an entertaining blend of case studies and startling research, the Heath brothers lay out the critical elements of a sticky idea. They are--

1. Simplicity

2. Unexpectedness

3. Concreteness

4. Credibility

5. Emotions

6. Stories

As you might expect, the authors use these techniques to drive home their point. For example, in the chapter on stories, they talk about Subway's Jared campaign--quite a dramatic behind-the-scenes story besides being a near perfect example of storytelling in marketing.

Although these six elements seem like common sense, they are woefully underapplied in business communication. The authors state it well--

"Business managers seem to believe that, once they've clicked through a PowerPoint presentation showcasing their conclusions, they've successfully communicated their ideas. What they've done is share data."

Well researched, easy to read and hard to forget.
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222 of 243 people found the following review helpful By Amy Tiemann VINE VOICE on January 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you are going to write a guide to crafting sticky ideas, your book had better embody your principles. Authors Chip and Dan Heath succeed admirably. What I love about "Made to Stick" is that it is not merely entertaining (though it is), it provides practical, tangible strategies for creating sticky ideas. Once you understand these recommendations, you can boil them down to a set of touchstone points to evaluate your own work. This sets "Made to Stick" apart from the work of Malcolm Gladwell, whom the Heath brothers cite as an inspiration. I enjoyed Gladwell's books but could not necessarily apply his ideas to my own work.

My review copy of "Made to Stick" is covered with highlighter. I am reading the book once through for pure pleasure, and then I am going back again to apply the ideas to evaluate the communications of a non-profit organization I am working for. "Made to Stick" challenges you to distill the essence of your message, to get back to core principles and to communicate them in a memorable way. Chip and Dan point out that as we become experts, we tend to use abstraction to define our ideas, and we lose our ability to communicate with novices. They teach us how to bridge that gap so that our ideas are once again accessible by everyone.

"Made to Stick" gives you the tools you need to revamp your own messages. It provides "do it yourself" conuslting in book form, which will be appreciated by activists, entrepreneurs, and businesses of all sizes.
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74 of 79 people found the following review helpful By ServantofGod on June 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The authors had been too humble to title their book "made (ideas) to stick" and regard it as a complement to the bestseller "Tipping Point" (pg13). IMHO, this is one of the best books on communication. Some may argue that the six principles (SUCCESs: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, stories) of sticky ideas are not unique. However, the samples and peripheral ideas presented are so intriguing. In short, a must read for all (who need to communicate). Highly recommended!

p.s. Below please find some favorite messages I found in it for your reference:-

Curse of knowledge: Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. Our knowledge has "cursed" us. And it becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others, because we cant readily re-create our listeners' state of mind. pg20
If you say three things, you dont say anything. pg33
Simple = Core + Compact pg45
Statistics arent inherently helpful; it's the scale and context that make them so. pg146
If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will. - Mother Teresa pg165
Why dones mental stimulation work? It works because we cant imagine events or sequences without evoking the same modules of the brain that are evoked in a real physical activity.......Notice that these visualizations focus on the events themselves - the process, rather than the outcomes. No one has ever been cured of a phobia by imagining how happy they'll be when it's gone. pg212
Picturing a potential argument with our boss, imagining what she will say, may lead us to have the right words available when the time comes.....can prevent people from relapsing into bad habits such as smoking, excessive drinking......can also build skills.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Arline Curtiss on March 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The ideas in this book are terrific. We kind of know some of Heath's principles: simplicity (well, we've heard about KISS forever), unexpectedness (there should be something shocking or at least edgy to make it dynamic,) concreteness (it can't be "mystery meat" you have be able to connect with the essence right away,) credibility (one has to get an initial feeling of "worthiness"), it has to excite, to have emotional as well as rational appeal, and stories help (well, we've heard about testimonials, and parables too). But here in this book Heath puts it all into focus so you have a concrete measuring scale to work with.

He illustrates his points with some good examples. How do you get big, bad truckers to stop littering the State of Texas? "Give a hoot, don't pollute" is too tame for these macho guys. So state officials came up with the slogan "Don't mess with Texas" and did TV spots with such consummate Texans as Ed Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and country music's Willie Nelson.

"Business managers seem to believe that, once they've clocked through a PowerPoint presentation showcasing their conclusions, they've successfully communicated their ideas," Heath writes. "What they've done is share data" Sticky ideas shock, move and convince us. "If you want your ideas to be stickier, you've got to break someone's guessing machine and then fix it."

I had read about Heath's research in Cognitive Psychology, Psychology Today, and Scientific American. Unfortunately not before I made two big mistakes. But, thanks to what I have since learned, I think I have been able to correct them.
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