on June 28, 2008
It was a good enough book, but the best parts are in the introduction and the first chapter. The other parts had some nice stuff, but I found myself either skimming or skipping whole pages! I would recommend the free introduction (available right here on amazon) to see how you like it, bu t be warned: the introduction is the best part!
on October 29, 2008
I enjoyed reading this book. I enjoyed it so much I almost bought their 'argument' until I realized it was nothing but empty fluff and repackaged common sense, but avoids any in depth insights. Its like a book about how so succeed in business said 'work hard and be honest'. well that's good advice, but is that the whole story? Nor do they ever use an example of truly challenging idea (just politically correct, safe ones) that have broken boundaries and REALLY challenged the status quo.
the book is much like Malcolm Gladwell's book (whom the authors admire) - almost designed to bring the authors lucrative speaking fees from big corporations but avoiding anything really controversial or challenging. They just re-enforce ideas we're comfortable with.
I went to the books website and posted a couple of comments on some of the authors posts - nothing nasty or inflammatory - just challenging some of their ideas. The comments were quickly deleted. I suspect the same thing has happened here. So are the authors using the same tactics they advocate? Or other methods to spread their ideas? Like suppressing ones that challenge theirs?
on February 4, 2007
I'm not a fan of business books. I think most of them are poorly written article-length essays that have been deliberately bloated to book length. But now and then I am delighted to find exceptions. This is one of them.
Most businesses depend on communicating ideas in a way that clients will attend to, remember, and act on appropriately. This book teaches how we can make our ideas effective. After setting the stage for what follows, it focuses on six key principles that are clearly explained and undoubtedly useful. Moreover, every bit of the book -- from the detailed table of contents to the separate chapters to the summary in the epilogue to the quick reference guide at the end -- exemplifies the principles being advocated.
I think I'm a pretty good presenter, but this book make me aware of numerous ways I could improve what I say and how I say it to better capture a client or prospect's interest and trigger a positive response. In particular, the book made me think about numerous possible ways that I could better communicate analytic results to audiences that are typically either non-analytic or mixed. Tough job! Several examples in the book tackle the problem straight on.
I highly recommend to anyone that deals directly with clients or prospects, and particularly to individuals with analytic jobs who have to explain their results to clients or colleagues. Read this book, apply its principles to your work, and you will be pleasantly surprised.
on May 10, 2009
Well, I appreciated the evidence this book provided about the power of stories and details, but sorry Chip and Dale, I think you are speaking about fast media ideas and not the kind that matter to me.
It may be true that slogans like, "nice guys finish last" catch on for reasons other than that they are accurate, and it may be that stories are more effective than distilled oration, and it may even be true that appealing to emotions is more effective that facts, but if all these things are true, it is one more reason to give up on trying to say anything important at all.
Important ideas benefit from stories, concrete details, and simplicity, that is true, but some of the greatest ideas are interesting because they are not simple or concrete. Maybe the most important ideas are about mystery, logic, connections, and those perceptions and ways of seeing that are out front of the crowd, just on the horizon of realization. Slogans like, "nice guys finish last," and other ideas people like to use to justify their aggression or competitive nature, may make the ideas memorable, but is "sticking" the most important thing when the idea is only half baked?
Instead, I think this book is about solipsism. The art of persuasion. This really has nothing to do with real ideas which are often notoriously hard to remember because they are new, beyond our current way of thinking, revolutionary, without equals.
All the other stuff is an interesting study of human shortcomings, our inability to think abstractly, our inability to focus on a line of reasoning, our tenancy to rely on irrational ways of knowing over analysis and careful observation.
In essence the book is about justifying a culture of quick influence, easy selling, advertising, and the instant answer. It is a white flag in the battle for clear perception.
Where are the ideas that grab us, that transform our worlds. I didn't see many in this book, nor an analysis of how those ideas are so effective. I'm thinking of relativity, the wheel, monotheism, cooking, municipal sewers, sports jackets -- I don't know, anything that has stood the test of time. There are millions of ideas like these that have changed our lives and imprinted themselves on our psyche. I don't think they did so just because they are simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional and told with stories. These can help a good idea along, but equally important glues are beauty, fit, innovation, artistry, brilliance, clarity, solutions, synthesis, robustness, comprehensiveness, etc.
To the authors I might suggest that you simplified your subject but left out the best bits.
on May 18, 2007
It's not often that a business book is well written, well organized, and drives home a critical message. Made to Stick does it all. From the engaging ("sticky") introduction that I find myself reciting to my colleagues repeatedly (I guarantee you will remember it), to the very practical almost check-list simple advice, Made to Stick should be required reading for any executive who needs to get their message across. The Brother's Heath, do a terrific job of providing compelling anecdotal evidence for how their lessons can impact all forms of business (and perhaps life's) communications. If you are someone who needs to pursuade, lead, or just communicate, you owe it to yourself to buy this book. I've already read it twice and likely will again.
on January 21, 2007
Although aimed at a business audience, I found the authors' suggestions for effective communication equally applicable in classrooms and writing projects. Success in helping students learn or persuading readers follows from applying the "SUCCESs" formula: keep your message Simple but profound; spark interest by opening with the Unexpected; use Concrete examples rather than abstract formulations; make your message Credible by reporting from direct experience; draw people in with Emotional impact; and use Stories to make your message memorable and of human interest. The authors base their arguments on well-validated social-psychological principles but never let the science get in the way of their well-written recommendations. I highly recommend this book for teachers at every level of instruction and for authors who want to increase the impact of their written words.
on October 10, 2011
The SUCCESs. Not the word that counts its literal meaning, but that invisible, intangible theory where we are able to express, deliver, and stick ideas to others. In this revealing book, you will be introduced to the six ingredients designed specifically to make ideas sticky, and let me deliver what I caught from this eye-opening book.
Others may experience over time they develop habits that slowly erode their mind's sensitivity. The inevitable pain and disappointment of moments such as delivering your ideas at a business meeting or a conference have caused you to set up walls around your mind. Much of this is understandable. But, there's no way around the truth: your mind is out of tune with confidence it was created to maintain. As we live in community, communication is the way for us to feel the unity. The book is even greater because the authors, Chip and Dan Heath, apply their SUCCESs theory onto practical situation to help readers understand more clearly. Without the SUCCESs rule, some kinds of communications might ease our conscience temporarily but would do nothing to expose the deeper secrets we carry and deliver. And, it might be the secrets that keep our minds in turmoil. Worse, this kind of communication could actually fuel destructive behavior rather than curb it. The rules the authors explain in this book might seem the things you would feel that you already know. But, these are the things you could easily ignore. The book is a great reference to keep you on succeeding the efficient deliverability of your ideas.
When you needed to deliver your message in a brief and compact way, how would you prepare to deliver it to your audiences or readers? Simplicity is the key and first step to make a message sticky to others. Making it simple does not mean that you need to bring out your most important idea. It is critical to find the core. According to the authors, "finding the core isn't synonymous with communicating the core." But, that simplicity must come with its value. Like the metaphor of a company for the employees to be encouraged, your message needs to be simple and important to make your message remain not just in your mind but others as well.
"We can't demand attention. We must attract it" says the authors in the book. In order to grab people's attention, your message may be attractive with unexpectedness. Breaking a pattern could be one way. For example, the old emergency siren was too monotonic to stimulate our sensory systems and therefore failing to attract our attention. As the siren gets systematically and audibly improved, people hear much brighter and more stimulating sound and therefore being aware of some situation. In order to catch people's attention, you need to break the ordinary patterns. According to the book, "Our brain is designed to keenly aware of changes." The more you learn knowledge, the greater the knowledge gap you would get. Because we sometimes tend to perceive that we know everything, it's hard to glue the gap. However, curiosity comes from the knowledge gaps, so these knowledge gaps can be interesting.
Humans can hallucinate and imagine what we've experienced in visual, audible, or any other sensory pathways. When we use all our sensory systems to visualize ideas or messages, then the ideas get much more concrete. As an example the authors provide in this chapter, "a bathtub full of ice" in the Kidney Theft legend is an example of abstract moral truths that makes it concrete.
When you are a scientist, you believe more in the things that are scientifically proven or that are referred to many other studies or to the words or the theories that the well-known scientist has established. That much, credibility makes or deceives people believe your ideas. Both authorities and antiauthorities work. We present results, charts, statistics, pictures and other data to make people believe. "But concrete details don't just lend credibility to the authorities who provide them; they lend credibility to the idea itself."
What's in it for you? It is a good example of the power of association. Sometimes, we need to grab people's emotion. It does not mean tear jerking, dramatic, or romantic. It means that your idea must pull out people's care and attachment to it. However, we don't always have to create this emotional attachment. "In fact, many ideas use a sort of piggybacking strategy, associating themselves with emotions that already exist (Made to Stick)." People can make decisions based on two models: the consequence model and the identity model. The consequence model can be rational self-interest, while the identity model is that people identify such situations like what type of situation is this?
Have you seen and heard the story of the college student from the Subway campaign? He's the guy who lost hundreds of pounds eating Subway sandwiches. The story inspires people and even connects to people's real life. Like the book, Made to Stick, also presents a lot of stories to deliver and to help readers understand in each chapter, stories allow people to understand how your idea can affect or change their mind.
Close the book and think for a moment before you start reading. How are things with your mind? Chances are, you've never stopped to consider your mind. Why should you? There are interviews to prepare for, meetings to blow others' mind with your amazing ideas, and moments you need to bring up emotional attachment with your family or your friends. If you are all caught up with these things and ask yourself this, "how are things?" "How have I dealt with those situations?" Before you go reading, you first need to dispel a commonly held myth about communication. You need to understand your old habits would die hard. And, like any habit that goes unchecked, over time they come to keep disturbing you to make your ideas sticky. Try to use the clinic part in each chapter. It will enhance your understandings, and you will improve your skills to make your ideas survive. If you really want to understand much deeper, as you read the book, look up some informative articles about the anatomy and physiology of the brain. It will help you. According to the book, your ideas must simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and stories. Try to apply these rules into your next presentation. I was not a good organized speaker. When I adjusted my mind with these rules to prepare my presentation recently, an amazing thing happened. I am the leader of the young adult ministry of a small local church. At almost every meeting, I needed to make the members understand what and why we need to awaken ourselves and other people; they barely paid attention to what I was saying. Even they seemed understanding, but once they returned to their home or to their life, they forgot what I emphasized. However, with the rules I learned from the book, the members started showing their interests in what I say and paying good attention to it. It works!
Part of our confusion in delivering ideas stems from a misapplication of the rules we think we already know for persuasions. The notion that all confusions can be reduced down to a single underlying problem may strike you as a case of oversimplification. However, with the book, Made to Stick, you will track and be ready for your next presentation. When I was looking for a neuroscience book, Made to Stick was one of the recommended books related to neuroscience. The book is easy to follow, and it is really made to stick! If you are looking for a scientifically texted neuroscience book, this is not the book for you. However, this book will stir up your curiosity about neuroscience as a fundamental connector to higher neural knowledge. Simply, highly I recommend.
on August 1, 2015
I read. I read a lot, in fact. I'm also a new author. And if you'll pardon my being so bold, I'll add that I know good writing from crap (even famous crap posing as good writing). In my lifetime thus far, I've read a lot of good books, books I've enjoyed for one reason or another. But I would only list four or five books as having been real-life game changers, to the point where I actually feel as confident and enthusiastic about recommending them as I would if I'd written them myself. "Made to Stick" makes that very short list. The book presents in clear and engaging fashion how to make your message – whatever it may be – "sticky"; and the Heath brothers apply every bit of their own advice to the book itself. It's not just for CEOs or business people or marketing departments. It's for everyone, because at core, we each want our presence and message to stand out, and to be heard, understood and remembered.
on May 27, 2007
This book is an enjoyable read whether or not you use its principles. The stories and concrete examples are fun to read and with their diversity, there is sure to be one that you can relate to. The specific case studies that you interact with are a mixed bag, some are very good, others are not as easy to understand. Their 6 principles for stickiness are easiy grasped (they may even seem obvious), yet so often ignored. This book will be most helpful to presenters, communicators, marketers, and educators, but it contains plenty for the casual reader as well.
If you enjoyed the book, I would also recommend the monthly article they write for Fast Company magazine which contains even moree examples of the principles of their book.
This is the best book about communications I've read since I discovered Stephen Denning's work on telling business stories. I highly recommend Made to Stick to all those who want to get their messages across in business more effectively.
Imagine if people remembered what you had to say and acted on it. Wouldn't that be great? What if people not only remembered and acted, but told hundreds of others who also acted and told? Now you're really getting somewhere!
Brothers Chip (an educational consultant and publisher) and Dan (a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Business School) Heath combine to develop Malcolm Gladwell's point about "stickiness" in The Tipping Point. To help you understand what they have in mind, the book opens with the hoary urban tale of the man who ends up in a bathtub packed with ice missing his kidney after accepting a drink from a beautiful woman. That story, while untrue, has virtually universal awareness. Many other untrue stories do, too, especially those about what someone found in a fast food meal.
The brothers Heath put memorable and quickly forgotten information side-by-side to make the case for six factors (in combination) making the difference between what's memorable and what isn't. The six factors are:
1. Simplicity (any idea over one is too many)
2. Unexpectedness (a surprise grabs our attention)
3. Concreteness (the more dimensions of details the more hooks our minds use to create a memory)
4. Credibility (even untrue stories don't stick unless there's a hint of truth, such as beware of what's too good to be true in the urban legend that opens the book)
5. Incite Emotions in Listeners (we remember emotional experiences much more than anything else; we care more about individuals than groups; and we care about things that reflect our identities)
6. Combine Messages in Stories (information is more memorable and meaningful in a story form . . . like the urban legend that opens the book)
Before commenting on the book further, I have a confession to make. This book has special meaning for me. I was one of the first people to employ and popularize the term "Maximize Shareholder Value" by making that the title of my consulting firm's annual report (Mitchell and Company) over 25 years ago when we began our practice in stock-price improvement. That term has become almost ubiquitous in CEO and CFO suites, but hasn't gone very far beyond the discussions of corporate leaders, investment bankers and institutional investors and analysts.
The authors use that term in the book as an example of a communication that hasn't stuck broadly. And they are right. Having watched that term over the years go into all kinds of unexpected places and be quoted by people who had no idea how to do it long ago convinced me of the wisdom of telling people what to do . . . not just what the objective is.
The authors make this point beautifully in citing Southwest Airline's goal of being "THE low-fare airline." If something conflicts with being a good low-fare airline at Southwest, it's obvious to everybody not to do it.
You'll probably find that some of the examples and lessons strike you right in the middle of the forehead, too. That's good. That's how we learn. I went back to a new manuscript I'm writing now and wrote a whole new beginning to better reflect the lessons in Made to Stick. I've also recommended the book already to about a dozen of my graduate business students. So clearly Made to Stick is sticking with me.
If you find yourself skipping rapidly through the book, be sure to slow down and pay attention on pages 247-249 where the authors take common communications problems and recommend what to do about them (such as how to get people to pay attention to your message). That's the most valuable part of the book. It integrates the individual points very effectively and succinctly.
I also liked the reference guide on pages 252-257 that outlines the book's contents. You won't need to take notes with this reference guide in place.
So why should you pay attention? The authors demonstrate with an exercise that people who know and use these principles are more successful in communicating through advertisements than those who are talented in making advertisements but don't know these principles. Without more such experiments, it's hard to know how broad the principle is . . . but I'm willing to assume that they have a point here.
No book is perfect: How could this one have been even better? Unlike Stephen Denning's wonderful books on storytelling, this book is more about the principles than how to apply the principles. I hope the authors will come back with many how-to books and workbooks.
I would also like to commend the book's cover designer for doing such a good job of simulating a piece of duct tape on the dust jacket. That feature adds to the stickiness of this book.