Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die is a book written by brothers Chip and Dan Heath and published in 2007. Chip Heath is a professor at Stanford University teaching organizational behavior at Graduate School of Business. Dan Heath, on the other hand, a former researcher at Harvard, is currently a consultant and developer of innovative textbooks. The brothers are also writers of a regular feature for Fast Company magazine. The writing of this book was driven by the question of how a false idea could circulate faster than a true one. Additionally, the concept of stickiness as outlined by Malcolm Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point was an inspiration for the brothers. Made to Stick outlines the reasons that make some ideas or concepts stickier than others, thus becoming more effective. In the book, the brothers bring out ideas that seem to explain on the idea of success as an acronym but with the last s omitted, each letter representing a characteristic that makes an idea stick.
The major purpose of the book is explaining the characteristics that make certain ideas to stick and become more effective as compared to others. The book explains the unique characteristics that makes one notice those ideas, understand them, show care to them, remember and act on them. Chip and Heath use several stories and case studies that are followed by principles specifically applied to the particular chapter. In all the stories, the underlying secret to the stickiness of an idea is simplicity which makes it be understood and remembered, thereby creating lasting change in behavior or values. From the stories shared in the book chapters, there are six traits that apply to all sticky ideas. For ideas to stick, they got to be Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and finally be able to create a Story. On these traits, simplicity is the core of any idea. The unexpected trait is the ability of the idea to grab the attention of the people by surprise. The concrete aspect ensures that an idea is grabbed and remembered later. The Credibility of the idea gives it the aspect of believability by the person using it and the audience. The emotional aspect ensures that people can see the importance of the idea. An idea told as a story or narrative empowers people more to use the idea.
The audience that the authors of this book are trying to reach out to are the communicators. These are the people who have good ideas that they want to pass on to other people and the world at large. They could be authors of books, researchers, nutritionists, journalists, or any other group of communicators intending to pass on a message of truth meant to offset a lie. The authors recognize that good ideas often have hard times succeeding in the world, yet stories that have no resources whatsoever to support them circulate faster and for a long time. An example is the Kidney Heist story they narrate of the business traveler who orders a drink in a country bar served by a beautiful woman and ends up losing his kidney. This, and the stories that follow inspire the audience on what they need to do to improve the communication of their ideas more effective. They outline the secret of slimming ideas such that they are simple to understand by the people one is communicating to, avoiding complexity, and spinning it in a way that makes the audience remember it, meaning it has stuck in their minds.
Made to Stick as a book exhibits some strengths as well as shortcomings. One of the strength is that the book manages to show the commonality of all ideas that stick, thus supporting its title and the purpose of the book. As mentioned earlier, all the stories in the book have six common traits that make them sticky ideas. These traits are simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and story. Secondly, the authors have used an effective style of writing which involves giving a story and a case study then applying the principles to show its stickiness. This style gives the reader a clear picture and guideline on how one can frame ideas to catch the attention of the people and at the same time communicate the intended message. Third, the book makes references to many case studies of successful professionals in the world such as teachers with the mention of Diana Virgo, a teacher of mathematics at Loudoun Academy of Science. This is a motivation to the audience that there are positive stories and ideas of people which are successful and so anyone who applies the principles suggested by the book can make a success story. The one shortcoming of the book is the failure to incorporate many literary styles into the work.
Made to Stick is an excellent book which is recommended to all the great mind in society who have wonderful ideas that can help improve the condition of the world. These communicators could be in the field of business, education, health, politics, science and research, sports, or in the entertainment industry. Ideally, it is not limited to any person as long as the ideas being communicated serves for the good of the community and the world at large. The principles of the book are recommended under the circumstances that ones idea can be backed up by the support which authenticates it. Additionally, the principles should only be applied when the intention of the idea is to make it have a lasting effect on the people, which ensures that they remember it throughout and that it results in change. The book is provocative, eye-opening, humorous, yet at the same time passing on a critical message to its readers. The authors have managed to pass on their message through leading by example.
In summary, Made to Stick is a book that opens up the minds of it readers to the concepts that make some ideas stick and others die. The target audience is the communicators who have great ideas that could be beneficial to the world but may lack the knowledge on how to make their ideas circulate and stick in the minds of their audience. The book outlines six traits that make ideas stick. These are in an acronym SUCCES which stands for Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Story. Any sticky idea has to have the six traits. The book is an incredible resource and can be recommended to all the great minds in the society whose ideas can transform the world. It is a success and a great inspiration.
Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2007). Made to stick: Why some ideas survive and others die. Random House.
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