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VINE VOICEon August 20, 2016
Brothers Chip and Dan Heath in their New York Time’s best-selling book, “Made to Stick,” explore the stickiness of an idea. Those of us who spend time in the start-up world marvel at why one idea gains traction and other, seemingly better ideas, fall to wayside. The Heath brothers provide insights on this phenomenon and provide help for those bent on creating ideas that are “sticky.”

“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.
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on January 8, 2016
Some ideas are very “sticky” meaning they are lasting, generative, and convey an important message. A classic example is: “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath explain why ideas stick, and provide the reader with a “sticky blueprint.”

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.
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on March 24, 2015
Overly long....yes...too many stories...yes....still worth a read ...YES !

A good book about why some ideas catch on and flourish while others never gain traction or quickly die. The book is based on 6 characteristics of what the authors call "sticky" ideas. They are:
1. Simple
2. Concrete
3. Unexpected
4. Emotional
5. Story
6. Credible

I found many of the stories to be informative and did a great job of driving home the authors points. I particularly liked the stories about the "TRUTH" ad campaigns which helped lower smoking among teens and the very successful subway campaign they did with Jared a few years back.

As I mentioned before I feel the book was overly long but still worth a read and note taking. I recommend this book for anyone that has ideas to communicate: Pastors, teachers, parents, managers, leaders, authors, speakers etc.
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on May 14, 2017
This is an interesting read on how to communicate in a way that is impact-full and memorable. Good insight on the fact that what most of us think we are communicating is not received in the way we think it will be by our audience. Some very unique thoughts on the downsides of "too much knowledge" getting in the way of our message. The book has established a formula of sorts that if followed will make your messages much easier to understand and considerably more influential. Good examples (some are awkwardly dated such as the good sportsmanship of Lance Armstrong and the wonderful story of Subway's Jared Fogel but as long as readers ignore that Armstrong was proven a cheater and Jared a deviant it doesn't impact the book at all) highlight the principles of the authors. Readers could go through this book once as a way to understand the underlying psychology of "sticky" messages then refer back to it as a "checklist" of necessary steps while preparing presentations. So this book is something very seldom found: an academic work that actually has practical use.
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on February 12, 2017
(Book) Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Made to Stick is a true business classic that everyone should try to read by the end of his or her college career. This book was a required text for a marketing course that I took last semester. In the past, readings for college courses have been dull and very slow paced. For that reason, I initially did not want to read this book, but after getting through chapter 2, I was unable to put it down. I ended up reading the rest of the book in one night!

If a highly enjoyable yet educational read sounds appealing, then this is the book for you. Made to Stick has a way of explaining products, marketing, and sales in a way that has never been previously done. Another great thing about this book is its applicability to everyday life. Each chapter has real world examples where an idea/product has either taken off, or fallen flat. The text also goes in depth while not using overly technical marketing vocabulary.

Although it is educational, Made to Stick has a way of putting an interesting twist on every story within the book. Readers will stay engaged from front to back cover while reading Made to Stick. I do not have a single negative thing to say about this book. The book’s well written style and easy to grasp concepts make for a simple yet entertaining read.
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on November 10, 2015
Some time ago, actually a very long time ago, our ancient ancestors sat around a fire burning brightly within the cool confines of a mountain cave. The walls, decorated with painted hand prints and animals told the story of the small tribe. There was silence for a moment, juxtaposed against the recent great debate over what to do. Many disagreed, saying it was a bad idea, against the ancient ways even. No one had ever done it. It should not be attempted. Finally, a chance was taken. The meat, a large, tender piece of fresh mastodon, was thrown over the flame and the way we ate was forever changed; barbecue had been invented.

That's a highly unlikely story, but might make for a great presentation for a new restaurant, commercial, or advertising campaign. In fact, if you read this review, the only thing that might stick is the image of some roasting piece of meat. You might even smell the fat cooking and sizzling over the flames... and so, ideas, especially those which we can visualize, stick.

Of course, this is just one element presented in the book, and a far better job is done explaining exactly why ideas stick (and others don't). But is this book for you?

In short yes, it's good for everyone. However, I'd say three key groups of people can get the greatest benefit from this book: writers, marketers, and teachers.

I've left leaders [business mainly - though any kind really] out of this because I think anyone that subscribes to the simple paradigms established in this book put the three categories above before leadership, or at the very least, know they are essential for good leadership.

Ultimately, Made to Stick is a book about communication. More specifically, a book about communicating ideas, and doing so effectively. While by most accounts it comes across as common sense (all easily followed principals do), there is still loads of advice presented with practical application.

Of course, most people will pick this up in likely expectation of changing their organization, or finally being heard. The examples in the book lend themselves to this quite well. However, the reality is often, even with the most noble of intentions, one person won't affect change, even with ideas that stick.


As the book puts it, the curse of knowledge, or really the curse of knowledge past (my take on the book's established villain).

So what is one to do? I say start in places where you do have influence, or as least some semblance of that. The ideas are quite practical within our homes, small groups, and even friendships. That is, those areas where we have [some] current, control over our message.

If you are so blessed to have this in your current place of work (the three groups mentioned previously are most apt to implement the philosophies in my opinion), I think you will find quick wins that will seed, later, much grander victories.
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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.

Chapter summary
Chapter1: Simple
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.

Chapter2: Unexpected
"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.
Chapter3: Concrete
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.

Chapter4: Credible
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."

Chapter5: Emotional
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?

Chapter6: Stories
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.
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on May 5, 2017
I actually really enjoyed this book. I read it for a class, but it provides a lot of practical information on making a presentation and other information interesting. The book was in good condition. And the book arrived within the noted time frame.
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on January 16, 2014
I must admit I was a little reluctant to read this book. At first it sounded like one of those darn feel-good self-help books featured on the Oprah Winfrey show. However, it turned out to be some great advice for how to communicate and help your message be remembered.

The book focuses on six things that make ideas sticky, and gives some great examples of each. I really liked the variety of examples; many of these kinds of books are always about Apple and Google and the usual mega-companies. You can tell they worked really hard to research all of these. This book was as fun to read as a great novel. I was surprised at how entertaining a self-improvement book could be.

I finished this book a year ago and still remember the six qualities of sticky ideas... thus the message of this book itself is indeed sticky, ha ha! The Heath brothers are great and I can't wait to read more of their other books!
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on January 10, 2013
I don’t usually write reviews of books, even good ones, but Made to Stick is so good I feel the need to make an exception.

It is, quite simply, one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read – definitely in my top five, possibly top three.

I won’t reiterate the main content: I can see other reviewers have done that. But I will say that the power of the book’s ideas combined with its clear, readable and lively presentation (“let’s skip now to another timeless and beautiful domain of expression: accounting”) make for one helluva package. This is one of those few books where I’ve bought both the hard copy as well as the Kindle version. That’s how good it is.

While it’s still early days for me in applying the very practical lessons in Made to Stick they hold great promise in yielding high impact in thought leadership, providing learning, and marketing effectively. One example: I recently drafted an article for submission to a training magazine that has previously published half a dozen of my articles. Before I submitted it however, having just finished reading Made to Stick I ran the article through the author's checklist and made some changes (notably, creating some story-like case studies on which to hang the article, filling out my examples more concretely, and ensuring the core, simple idea came through clearly) and then submitted it. The editor’s response - on the same day I submitted it - was “…I wasn’t going to edit this today but once I started reading I could not stop…” As I say, very promising…

There’s tremendous breadth in the areas you can apply the lessons in from Made to Stick: my interests range across learning and development, strategy, and marketing, and Made to Stick applies powerfully to each of these. But there are applications across all of business, government and not-for-profits, as well as if you’re a parent, an employee or anyone wanting to make an impact!

One of the book’s real gifts for me was in sensitising me to my audience’s ‘higher’ motivations, rather than just baser or more selfish appeals (the authors refer to this as ‘getting out of Maslow’s basement’). This nicely reflected my underlying – but hitherto undeveloped – approach, enabling me to speak more authentically and forcefully, with greater resonance for my readership and clients.

Another of the book’s great gifts for me was in teaching how to correctly use mental visualisation to solve problems and improve performance, in a nice and much-needed contrast to the pop-psychology and self-help gurus (The Secret – this means you!). This is a good thing to get at any time of the year, but especially when setting goals for the new year. And all of Made to Stick’s assertions are soundly backed by credible and solid academic research. Who would have thought you’d get all this in a book about communicating more clearly!

The other terrific aspect of Made to Stick is its legacy in inviting people to look for stories in their own lives and experience. Stories play a key role in making ideas sticky - they’re concrete, credible and more memorable than straight facts: ‘facts tell, stories sell’. The authors emphasise that you don’t even have to create stories at all; rather, become a story spotter: just recognise when life is giving you the gift of a story to use. Nice.

I may sound like I’m on commission for sales of Made to Stick (regrettably this is not so) but I am very enthusiastic about what this compact and considered book has to offer.

Here’s my sticky recommendation: buy not one, not two, but three copies of this book: one for work, one for home, and one to keep in the glovebox of the car (so you can read it at the red traffic lights). And then join with me in lobbying the Gideons to place a copy in every motel room…
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