Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Hardcover – January 2, 2007
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Item Weight : 15.5 ounces
- Hardcover : 291 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1400064287
- ISBN-13 : 978-1400064281
- Dimensions : 5.8 x 1.11 x 8.54 inches
- Publisher : Random House; 1st edition (January 2, 2007)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #11,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I can’t read this book for more than 10 minutes at a time. It actually makes me angry how boring it is.
One chapter per letter of SUCCES (intentional).
Each chapter is drawn out like no other.
The basic premise is revealed, then come in some random stories loosely based on studies.
It’s really a terrible book.
The idea is cool, will look for a summary.
“Sticky” ideas are understandable, memorable, and effective in changing thought or behavior. The six underlying SUCCESs principles for making things “stick” are:
• Simplicity – Simple=core+compact. Find and share your core idea; make it simple and profound. “It’s the economy, stupid” (Clinton campaign, 1992) is a great example. The inverted pyramid approach which is used in journalism is a good tool to get your headline.
• Unexpectedness - We need to violate people’s expectations to get them to pay attention. Break existing patterns to get people’s attention. Southwest flight attendants use humor (there are two doors on either side if you need to jump!) to hold attention when giving the pre-flight safety announcement. Humans adapt incredibly quickly to patterns. Consistent sensory stimulation makes us tune out.
• Concreteness – You must help people understand and remember. Don’t use abstractions. Make your core idea concrete. Use common knowledge to make your idea stick. Our greatest villain is the Curse of Knowledge or when we assume everyone knows what we know or shares our unique perspective. We have to see it from the “others” point of view. We forget what other people do not know and slip into “abstractspeak.” Boeing’s criteria for a new plane was not “the best passenger plane in the world” but one that can seat 131 passengers and land on Runway 2-22 at LaGuardia. No ambiguity here.
• Credibility – Help people believe by making sure your idea carries its own credentials. Pass the “Sinatra Test.” Examples offered include “Where’s the Beef?” and Reagan’s “Are you better off today?” Both were credible and resonated as they were based on common shared knowledge.
• Emotional– Make people care by using the power of association, appealing to self-interest, or identity. “People donate to Rokia more than a wide swath of Africa”; “Honoring the Game” versus the use of the word ‘sportsmanship’; “I’m in charge of morale” as stated by a US military cook in Iraq. We must make people feel something to get them to care. We are wired to feel things, not abstractions.
• Stories – Stories get people to act on our ideas. Stories act as a kind of mental flight simulator, preparing us to respond more quickly and effectively. Stories are told and retold because they contain wisdom. The Healths provide what they view are the three basic story plots – the Challenge Plot, The Connection Plot, and the Creativity Plot. Stories can almost single-handedly defeat “The Curse of Knowledge.” I have been involved in a ministry for people in career-transition for over fifteen years. We consistently advise those in-transitions to create stories to highlight their skills and experience when interviewing. It is well understood that interviewers will mostly remember your comportment and more importantly, your stories.
A chapter is devoted to each principle with the authors providing context for clarity and understanding, examples, and tools to guide the development of a “sticky” idea.
The Curse of Knowledge is what escapes most when trying to pitch an idea. It is the natural psychological tendency that consistently gets in the way of our ability to successfully create “sticky ideas” using these principles. Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know. This knowledge has “cursed” us and makes it difficult to share our knowledge with others. It is because we cannot readily re-create our listeners state of mind. When a CEO discusses “unlocking shareholder value,” there is a tune playing in his head that the employees can’t hear. On the other hand, President John F. Kennedy knew that opaque, abstract missions don’t captivate and inspire people so he concretely challenged the country with “landing on the moon by the end of the decade.”
Throughout the book, the authors present “Idea Clinics” which illustrate how an idea can be made stickier. Example: ”Do smokers really need to understand the workings of the lungs in order to appreciate the dangers of smoking?”
The book itself is “sticky’ filled with stories of normal people facing normal problems who did an amazing thing simply by applying these principles, even if they were not aware that they were doing this. They distinguish themselves by crafting ideas that made a difference.
Do your ideas gain traction and “Stick” or are they cast aside for less important ideas? “Made to Stick” was written for you.
However, I enjoyed the short stories, and it made me feel motivated. I'm pretty sure that in a few hours I'll just feel ripped off, and will feel the time spent reading this could have had better uses.
Read this only if you are not looking for anything more than to binge on motivational stuff, and you really have no other problem to solve.
Oh, and I learned that in general, people seem to require stories, if you plan to have them remember anything. And if you want to have them act, you need to make them care, so you need to give them emotional stuff.
Not a waste of time, but pretty close.
Essentially, sticky ideas are never a matter of happenstance, but all share six common traits. With a keen understanding of all six traits, you will be able to produce stickier ideas and subsequently revitalize the way you express yourself and transform those whom you lead with positive results.
Made to Stick empowers anyone with the right insights and the right message to make any idea “stick.”
The book proceeds linearly through the sticky blueprint: the acronym S.U.C.C.E.S. Hence, in order to make an idea sticky it has to be simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and tell a story. The peculiars of each trait are explored in comprehensive detail within each chapter. Generally speaking even though this book is 250+ pages, it is a very quick read.
Made to Stick is one of three books written on transformative change by the Heath brothers. The other two books are Switch: How to change things when change is hard and Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work. There are many areas of cross-over between the three selections, and I have derived the most value from each book after considering it in context of all three. Hence, Made to Stick helps you to start your journey with a bold idea that anyone can latch onto. Switch reveals how to materialize that idea into tough environments. Finally, Decisive equips you with the tools to navigate fuzzy terrain in the midst of your path to something revolutionary.
Top reviews from other countries
1. The useful information content is minimal and could be fitted on less than ten pages, in my opinion
2. The book suffers from repetition and that American writing style of endless cameos to illustrate the point. Yes, cameos can be helpful, but the amount of writing dedicated to examples far outweighs the simple explanation of its simple principles.
In summary, good basic principles that could comfortably fill a pamphlet but that have been massively padded out into a book.
My suggestion: buy a used copy
The book is about effective and persuasive communication. The Heath brothers start with the Q: ‘Why is it that some ideas are so memorable?’ A: Six key elements [SUCCES]: i) Simplicity (Keep it simple!) ii) Unexpectedness (Surprise = retention!) iii) Concreteness (Avoid abstract or ‘deep’ messages) iv) Credible (Is it believable?) v) Emotions (It is emotion, not reason that makes people act!) vi) Story (The most memorable messages are in the form of a story).
In analysing these elements they explain all kinds of interesting notions, such as ‘the curse of knowledge’ (p. 19). What would happen if you were to tap your finger to the rhythm of a well-known song without actually humming it? Would people be able to guess it? 50% of respondents said ‘Yes’. Incredibly, the actual number was 2.5%!! It is exactly the same when we try to communicate a message – we think others understand, but very often they don’t! (Moral: check that your students have really understood what you have told them or what they have to do. Get feedback as much as possible!)
Heath & Heath go on to stress the importance of ‘curiosity’ (pp. 84 – 87). This is the technique that soap operas, cinema trailers and some gifted presenters use to hook the readers/listeners’ interest. (Moral: Whether it is the contents of a text, or the lesson, it pays not to tell students everything up front. We can excite their curiosity even about mundane things.)
A surprising research finding on p. 89 is of great importance to us; Q: Which is better: consensus-building activities or ones encouraging heated debate? A: The latter! In a controlled study, 18% of students who had done a consensus-type activity chose to watch a short film about the topic, but the number rose to 45% among those who had engaged in a debate! (Moral: use more debates to get students worked up so they are motivated to find out more about the subject under discussion!)
The two brothers also give us a host of useful tips on how to make our presentations / articles interesting (which is of course of immense value for students / adult learners). Here are a few research-supported findings: a) avoid obscure language (p. 106) b) including details makes your argument more convincing (p. 139) c) ‘translate’ statistics down to the human scale (the human brain cannot make sense of huge numbers! – p. 144).
Above all however, remember to use stories. Human beings are wired for story. As somebody once so memorably put it: ‘Facts tell – stories sell!’
But I had just read 'made to stick' and the chapter on the Curse of Knowledge. So we played a game. I tapped out a tune for her to guess and she didn't get it. Then I got her to tap out a tune for me and I didn't get it. "Did you hear the tune in your head?" I asked her. Yes, of course she did. "So did I when I did it, but all you heard was tapping."
"And that's what it is like when someone tells me they want your mum to solve a problem for them. They maybe have a clear picture in their mind of what they want, they hear the tune in their head, but I have to make sure your mum hears the tune too and not just the tapping."
Thank you, Chip and Dan.
There is one thing I disagree with though; the book lists some conventional advice about making ideas stick, such as delivery, posture, etc; it then goes on to say that all of these techniques have some merit, apart from repetition and that repetition is a quality of a badly designed story or idea. I fundamentally disagree; repetition has been a cornerstone of so many of history's most memorable speeches, Shakespeare's writing and a classic and reliable technique in learning; repetition is incredibly important and if it is done right, can help students look at a topic from multiple perspectives and leverage long term memory.
Don't bash repetition!