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

4.6 out of 5 stars 3,382 ratings

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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.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Random House; 1st edition (January 2, 2007)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 291 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1400064287
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1400064281
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 15.5 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.9 x 1.13 x 8.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 3,382 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
3,382 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2016
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Top reviews from other countries

Frankselbow
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but too much filler
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 3, 2018
16 people found this helpful
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C. Weldon
5.0 out of 5 stars Best read of the year
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 1, 2019
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Nick Michelioudakis
5.0 out of 5 stars A Review - for Educators
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 14, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Review - for Educators
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 14, 2016
I believe this book should be compulsory reading for every educator. Indeed I will go a step further – I think it may well be more useful to us than any single book on teaching.
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!’
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Neil
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 17, 2019
3 people found this helpful
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Amit N
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 26, 2021