Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

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Mark Twain once observed, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus public-health scares circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas–business people, teachers, politicians, journalists, and others–struggle to make their ideas “stick.”

Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the “human scale principle,” using the “Velcro Theory of Memory,” and creating “curiosity gaps.”

In this indispensable guide, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds–from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony–draw their power from the same six traits.

Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures)–the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of “the Mother Teresa Effect”; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • A superb book for teachers and school leaders
    Chip and Dan Heath have written a priceless book, full of wisdom and great stories about what makes for effective teaching and leadership. It's not the razzle-dazzle of our teaching that makes a difference, they say, but whether we incorporate six key characteristics. I've been in the education business for almost 40 years and I learned a LOT from this book. Highly recommended!...more info
  • Veteran reviews Made to Stick by Heath.
    Insightful take on timely marketing influences you may not have considered, or maybe not as focused as this book does. Good read for marketers who need to compete and marketers who seek the 'edge' needed to win in an ever more demanding market....more info
  • Made to Stick
    This book was sent to my home in less than three business days. I did not have to leave the comfort of my home!...more info
  • A must-read for marketers
    This book is a must-read for marketing and/or advertising professionals. I'm new to my position as a marketing coordinator, and this book is actually on my required reading list for work. I'm so glad it is because I have some new insights into making an actual idea "stick."

    I won't go into the details of the books SUCCESs checklist, but it is a handy guide to keep in mind when you're promoting a new product or idea for your company. Some of my favorite parts of the book were the discussions on how the "my kidneys were stolen!" urban legend came to be, the tale of the nurse who helped save the baby because she recognized a fatal condition before the doctors did, and the legend of Jared the Subway guy who lost hundreds of pounds by eating Subway sandwiches every day. All of the stories were meant to illustrate how vividly these ideas "stick" with us while others--such as boring checklists and bullet points--simply fade into the background.

    If I could say that I took one thing away from this book, it'd be that you should always be looking for ideas and recognize them when they're presented to you. And if you can create a story from that idea, you'll capture more attention than by using your Curse of Knowledge to explain yourself. Ordinary people don't understand jargon, but they do understand tales, examples, and stories....more info
  • Must Reading for any Marketer of Ideas
    If I wanted to follow one particular principle in this book, I'd put my last line first-but for this article, I'm following a different one. See if you can guess the one I followed and the one I didn't. [Quiz answer is below the review, in brackets]

    I've long been fascinated by the study of influence: what changes an individual's mind? What changes the direction of a whole society?

    This is something I look at in my own organizing and writing, and when a book discusses what makes ideas last-or "stick," in the authors' parlance-I want to take a look.

    It wouldn't be the first book I'd recommend on the topic, but there's some great stuff here, all built around a formula spelled SUCCES (just one s at the end), each with its own extended chapter:

    Oh, and to increase the stickiness of their own messages, the authors end with a sound bite/bullet point recap of the whole book in outline form. I may try that on my next business book.

    For me, the two most compelling chapters by far were Unexpectedness (which includes creating insatiable curiosity) and Emotions-and Stories create a path to those other attributes. Some key insights from the former:
    * The best "`aha' moments" may be preceded by "`Huh?' moments"
    * When creating a message, don't think about what you need to convey-instead, think about what questions you want your audience to ask
    * Keep things simple-don't do brain dumps but focus on your key point, and make sure the core message is in front
    * Big ideas are audacious-but not insurmountable (Like President Kennedy setting a goal of a man walking the moon within ten years; a manned mission to Mercury would have been too difficult)

    And from the Emotions chapter:
    * Concepts lose value when they become clich¨¦s through overuse-but concepts can also be made fresh-as in the algebra teacher who told his students that algebra was like weight training for the mind-it wasn't about needing the math skill but about exercising and challenging the brain to keep it in shape
    * Talk to people where they can hear you, as the creators of "Don't Mess With Texas" did: a macho anti-littering campaign designed to appeal to Texas rednecks-but don't insult them, as did researchers who tried to bribe firefighters into considering a safety program not by appealing to the desire to save lives, but by offering popcorn poppers
    * The Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs isn't a ladder; we pursue all of them at once-so don't let your ideas get stuck in the basement-don't be afraid to tap into human desires for greatness
    * Making benefits (or problems) tangible and personal is more successful than making them big
    * My favorite of all: *Principles can trump self-interest*

    QUIZ ANSWER: [Did you guess? I buried the lead at the bottom, but I at least hope I created curiosity]

    Shel Horowitz's award-winning sixth book, Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First, demonstrates how to build a business around ethics, environmental sustainability, and cooperative practices--and how to develop marketing that highlights those advantages....more info
  • Make Room on Your Shelf for this Book
    This is a terrific book on how to turn your drab message into something that will stick, turn viral, generate enthusiastic support and generally turn into action. The six tenets - simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional and storytelling - are straightforward and easy to implement right away.

    There are practical insights a-plenty in this book. I like the advice to not spend too much time trying to tell your story with statistics, but to focus on the implications of the statistics rather than the actual numbers. I also like the advice about adding details to stories, even irrelevant details, because it has a subtle impact on helping people visualize your story and retain it.

    My main quibble with this book is its tone. It's often written in rushed voices, like a fast-talking auctioneer trying to sell you something without allowing careful inspection of the merchandise. In this regard, it feel a little like a pop psychology book, and it borrows heavily from its own lessons, telling stories and using emotional language to make its point. However, the brothers Heath have compiled a mountain of research, anecdotes and examples that lend credibility to their framework.

    In the end the book is successful in communicating its points persuasively. Any communications profesional should make sure there's a space on their shelf for Made to Stick....more info
  • Extremely Sticky
    There is no correlation between the ability to speak well and the ability to make an idea stick. "And that's the great thing about the world of ideas - any of us, with the right insight and the right message, can make an idea stick (Heath 252)."

    Simple: What is the most important aspect or idea? Finding the core and expressing it in a simple compact idea is extremely effective. The ultimate simplicity goal is "a one sentence statement so profound that an individual can spend a lifetime learning to follow it (Heath 16)."

    Unexpected: Surprise the audience with something that will change the usual pattern. Create a situation that is out of the normal set of guidelines that people will remember with a shock. Break the thought of expectation.

    Concrete: Humans remember actions, sensory information, concrete images, and concrete data. "The more hooks in your idea, the better."

    Credible: Translate statistics into smaller more manageable details. Antiauthority examples can create powerful forms of credibility.

    Emotion: People act more effectively when looking at an individual than looking at a group. Make people care about an individual topic. Provoke emotion by appealing to self interest or appealing to identity.

    Story: Stories are great simulators. Use stories to get people to act and become inspired. "Stories have the amazing dual power to simulate and to inspire. And most of the time we don't even have to use much creativity to harness these powers - we just need to be ready to spot the good ones that life generates every day (Heath 237)."

    Once we know something or a series of things, it is difficult to imagine how it was to not know these things. This "curse of knowledge," makes it difficult to share things with people who are listening because it is difficult to think in the listeners' state of mind. Avoid the curse of knowledge by using the six principles of a simple unexpected concrete credible emotional story. If these principles are applied, ideas will stick.
    ...more info
  • Early Learning
    Product was actually purchased for my wife for the early learning centers associated witht the local township. All I can tell you is it was something she really needed and quickly....more info
  • Like Cotton Candy: Sticky But Nearly All Fluff.
    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?
    ...more info
  • How To Make Brain Worms
    This book tells you how to craft ideas that stick in your head like some alien worm borrowing through your brain laying eggs.


    That idea sticks on your head because it follows the book's recipe: a simple, unexpected (alien?), concrete (my brain? ARGH!), credible (ok, you probably WON'T meet any actual brain-borrowing aliens, but you understand the mechanical concept), emotional (ICK and EUW!) story adheres to your head better than any long, scholarly, erudite disquisition on the neurological basis on persistence memetic structures (zzzzzzzz!)

    Read the book, find out how you can make brain worms too! It's fun and useful!
    ...more info
  • This is why Malcolm Gladwell is such a great writer
    This is an excellent outline on how you can communicate an idea (anyone's idea, not necessarily yours) effectively. The Heath brothers credit Malcolm Gladwell for "The Stickiness Factor" element that drives the book and it certainly reads like an offshot/complement to "The Tipping Point." (As a matter of fact, I'd say its breakdown demonstrates why Gladwell is such a great writer.)

    The book itself follows its own guidelines by giving concise and credible stories throughout its chapters. It's a fairly easy read and the clinics included in some of the chapters help to solidify the ideas they present....more info
  • In order to be memorable, you must use SUCCES
    Made to Stick is a great book designed to help you made your ideas more memorable. It is not designed to give you the power to come up with new ideas, but to make the most of what's available to you. The authors use a wide variety of examples of "sticky" and non "sticky" concepts to show you what works and what does not.

    The epitome of their framework is the "Jared" marketing campaign that Subway used several years ago. This campaigned contained all of their features for a "sticky" idea: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotion, and a Story. As you can see, they even tried to make their framework sticky by having it spell out SUCCES.

    The book itself stays true to its word, in that the examples and framework they provide are sufficiently memorable that I feel the knowledge I have gained from reading this will "stick" with me for many years to come.

    Highly recommended....more info
  • Not Really About Ideas -- Instead About How to Sell and Idea
    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....more info
  • Dad, read this book
    Below is an excerpt from an email to my dad. [Brackets] denote a slight modification.


    I did bring "Made to Stick", which I finished last night on the plane and will bring to Rochester. At this point, I am tempted to say Made to Stick is the most practical and useful book I have ever read (no joke). Here's why...

    Below are two pitches I just made up to get someone to visit PaperbackSwap[ ]com (PBS):

    * By listing your old books and sending them out on PBS, you can earn credits for free books.

    * PBS offers a chance to give new life to old books by sending them to fellow book lovers.

    If you were running a PBS ad campaign, which line would you run to get the most people to visit the site?

    And which would most likely get you to visit PBS?

    I'm guessing you personally would be swayed by the second but would pick the first for the ad campaign. The first is logical and about people's self-interest so it should get more people to visit the site... right?

    Definitely not. The second uses "sticky" principles, notably bringing up emotions (generosity and belonging) while the first makes our minds get all logical, which is easier for people to detach from. The second one will be the more sticky ad. More people will be drawn to an emotional calling over saving money on books.

    So, as a statistician, the most important book I've read has taught me to no longer pick ad #1 but to pick (and how to come up with) ad #2? Far from it. The book gives guidelines on how to evaluate whether information -- be it an ad, a presentation, a project mission -- is sticky, as well as how to identify and make information sticky.

    And yes, I just "pitched" you Made to Stick using several of the sticky principles it discussed.

    "...more info
  • STICKY-ness
    This book is "Made to Stick." Literally. It successfully uses all of the principles the authors list in their book. It sticks and it is entertaining. Authors Chip and Dan Heath have succeeded where many others have failed miserably. I love it because it reads like a "How To" manual. They also use plenty of current, real world examples; examples of sticky ideas that worked and stories of others that tried and failed. The brothers make a great case for each of their elements of "stickiness" and once you recognize them, and how they work together, it's easy to apply them to any message or idea.

    The essential elements of a sticky idea are:

    1. Simplicity
    2. Unexpectedness
    3. Concreteness
    4. Credibility
    5. Emotions
    6. Stories

    The authors use these elements very effectively to make their point. And In my opinion this just adds more credibility to the book and their work. For example, in the chapter on stories, they talk about Subway's Jared campaign--quite a dramatic behind-the-scenes story besides being a near perfect example of storytelling in marketing.

    It's interesting that one of the other reviewers noticed that Allison Fine's "MOMENTUM: igniting social change in the connected age," is receiving a "great deal more attention" Yes, "Made to Stick," is, and should, get more attention. Regardless of the content in the books, you have to sell the idea of opening it up and reading it first. Look at and compare the titles of the two books, author Fine's already made her book boring and hard to remember before you even crack the cover. She looses the potential reader with a title that is not concrete, not simple, not unexpected. "MOMENTUM: igniting social change in the connected age," is just long, boring and easy to forget. I mean no disrespect to Ms. Fine but she should read "Made to Stick," before she writes the title to her next book.

    This book, "Made to Stick," was an excellent investment in time and money. I will use these elements of stickiness to evaluate all of my marketing messages, products and promotions.
    ...more info
  • A must-read for anyone involved in communication/presentation
    This book is recommended reading for everyone who delivers presentations: it analyzes why certain stories "stick" in people's mind, and why others disappear, almost independent of the content: it's they way that they are told that matters.

    - Keep them simple without creating silly sound bites
    - Add unexpected twists to keep people interested
    - Be specific and avoid fluffy hollow statements (Dilbert mission generator style)
    - Be credible to get people to believe your idea
    - Add emotion to make people care
    - Tell stories

    The book is written as a set of stories that are analyzed following the above framework. Sometimes this categorization can feel a bit forced (since most stories combine multiple elements), but generally it works well.

    Framework or not, the stories inside the book are the real treasure. They are interesting and fun to read (many of them still stick in my head).

    Besides the big idea of the book there are countless interesting bits of knowledge hidden in the stories. Some examples:

    The brain stores stories in a "virtual 3D" space. Slightly absurd experiment: people read a sentence about a guy and a shirt slower when the shirt has just been taken off a few seconds ago. Your presentation structure and the structure used to absorb information is not the same

    Being analytical, logical, thinking of numbers switches off your emotional mood: the mood in which you are most receptive to store information. Think about that when ordering slides

    The curse of knowledge (actually this is a big idea in the book) prevents people from putting themselves in the shoes of an audience for which a concept that took you 3 years to understand might not sound as obvious as it seems to you

    Another example of the curse of knowledge: when someone taps a song with his fingers on a table, he/she hears the entire performance including vocals, instruments, etc. A bystander just hears an irregular beat of taps...
    70% of learning can happen by just imagining, anticipating, thinking about the task ahead of you (scientifically proven): rehearse, rehearse, rehearse your presentation.

    Negative "don't", "avoid this", "don't fall in this trap"-type recommendations stick better than positive ones: people learn from mistakes. This goes a bit against my marketing theory in business school though.

    This book shows again how important it is to decouple structures you use to solve/analyze a problem from the story you use to tell the solution. Scrap all your analysis, nuances, balanced insights you built up (sometimes over a long period of time) and start with a blank piece of paper to think about the best possible way to tell your message to your audience....more info
  • Sloppy analysis--unsophisticated, incomplete, disconnected, sometimes misleading
    If you are new to this area, this book may provide motivation for thinking more deeply about this topic, but the coverage is too simplistic and disconnected to provide actual help in improving your skills. If you have experience with these topics (like me), your reaction may be that you know more than the authors. I gave up at page 144 (just over halfway) when the accumulated instances of sloppy analysis destroyed the _credibility_ of the book (examples below).

    The book has been severely criticized in other reviews here for being overly verbose and padded, but this is to be expected in this category (business books). While this deserves to be noted in reviews, it isn't bad enough here to seriously downrate this book.

    I agree with the common criticism in other reviews that this book fails to follow its own advice. The worst violation is that of "Simple" which they state should not violate "accurate". The authors acknowledge that "Simple" should be "Core", but they decided against the change to keep the "SUCCESs" acronym. Similarly, "Unexpected" is acknowledged as not a good choice (engaging curiosity is closer). Most importantly, they don't give actionable advice on how to achieve these goals (on pg 57 the point is made that "We are THE low priced airline" provides usable guidance to employees, but that "maximizing shareholder value" doesn't).

    -- Examples --

    Example (pg 26) on Commander's Intent: The example tasking is contrary to the point being made. In "My intent is to have the Third Battalion on Hill 4305, to have the hill cleared of the enemy, with only ineffective remnants remaining, so we can protect the flank of the Third Brigade as they pass through the lines", the _intent_ is to protect the flank of the Third Brigade and should have been stated first--The rest is guidance on how to accomplish that goal.

    Example (pp 137-139) Credibility: The Power of Details: Although providing vivid details can create the impression of expertise or knowledge, the book improperly applies this to an experiment where people's assessment of a legal case minorly shifted in response to changes in which aspects had the more detailed presentation. A simpler analysis is that the different level of details were taken as signals from the authority figures about how to weight the various arguments.

    Example (pg 44) on Dunn Daily Record (newspaper): This story is probably over 30 years old, raising the question about why they didn't have anything more current and whether this example is still relevant [[Evidence: story quoted editor saying "I'd happily hire two more typesetters and add two more pages..." Computerization largely eliminated human typesetters by the mid-1980s, but the process had begun in the mid-1960s (see "typesettng" in Wikipedia for stages). By the mid-1970s, technology that limited productivity to only 1 page per day per typesetter had been almost entirely replaced.]]

    Example (pg 59) on "High concept pitches": The claim that the (simple) pitch for the movie "Alien" as "Jaws on a spaceship" contained considerable implicit details (character of the spaceship). This is contrary to what one sees/reads in stories about Hollywood.

    Example (pg 80) "The Mystery of the Rings" in "Unexpected": This misses the important point that opening with a question can be a good way of introducing the _core_ idea, plus identifying the "destination" at the beginning assists the audience in organizing the steps along the way (pp 51-52 has isolated low-level examples that organizing items improves recall). The importance of moving the _core_ to the beginning of a presentation is touched upon in "Burying the Lead" (pp 30-33), but not well connected to the rest of the examples. The similar template of Problem-Solution is not mentioned despite its widespread use (including in commercials)....more info
    While this book had a lot of examples that involved management in a business environment, there were also plenty of examples that were taken from an academic setting and basically any other place you could think of where someone in a position of leadership needs to get things done. The main idea of the book is that we need to keep our minds open and be able to "think out of the box" by trying things that may seem to contradict common sense. This book is for anyone who is curious as to why some ideas become successful and others do not and tends to have a lot of ideas that can be put to use specifically in a business environment.

    There were quite a few things I liked about this book. The clinics provided a different way to help the concepts sink in and the fact that there were cross-references was also helpful, but what I think really made this book stand out from the rest was the outline which is sort of like a "Cliffs Notes" version of the whole book; it's easier to find something later on if you want to use it as a reference book.
    ...more info
  • Its true and it work
    I bought the book before my presentation, I work in the cement industry= boring. After reading the book, I applied what I have learned, and they liked it, and it really made an impact ...more info
  • Practical value no matter what you do
    This delighful and insightful book has something for everyone. I was initially turned off by the gimmicky cover of this book, but after reading multiple great reviews, I decided to give it a try. The name of this book comes from Malcolm Gladwell's book, "The Tipping Point" (which I also enjoyed). I enjoyed and learned far more from this book than Gladwell's (it is not necessary to read Gladwell's book prior to this). The Heath brothers try to teach readers how to create (or more importantly spot) "sticky messages". The authors show us that sticky messages are not merely useful for advertisers, but can be important in many different situations we encounter in life. You will become a better communicator which can be useful in personal as well as professional situations.

    There are lots of books out there that teach readers new concepts but what sets this one apart is that the authors try to keep it simple (as per their own recommendation) and come up with a system that readers can remember and apply years later. Their mnemonic for the six characteristics of a sticky message is SUCCESs:


    Interestingly, the other fantastic book that I read a while back that I continue to think about also had six components which I still remember. It was Cialdini's "Influence". The Heath brothers refer to Cialdini in their book.

    I highly recommend this book. Besides its educational value, it will dazzle and entertain you.
    ...more info
  • I liked it so much I read it twice - back to back
    Yes, I read this book twice back to back - the second time with a red pen to make notes in the margins and underline passages. This book is fun to read - but at the same time is directly and immediately applicable to any teaching or communication situations I find myself in such as seminars, business meetings, being a scoutmaster, or teaching in church....more info
  • The Sticky Hall of Fame
    Wow! This book may well be your favorite book of the year. It's absolutely jam-packed with memorable pack-a-punch stories to liven up your weekly staff meetings.

    After more than a dozen leaders raved about Made to Stick, I reluctantly succumbed. If it's that popular, I reasoned incorrectly, how good could it be? News flash: It's very good! So would you invest $16.50 to learn how to nurture your great ideas--so they'll succeed in the world? It's a bargain. Your team members will not stop talking about the book.

    Commenting on the urban legend about kidney harvesting, the Heath brothers begin, "Good ideas often have a hard time succeeding in the world. Yet the ridiculous Kidney Heist tale keeps circulating, with no resources whatsoever to support it." Their insight is ingenious--and they've combined six big ingredients and cooked up a mouth-watering management stew.

    Apologizing for the hokey acronym, SUCCESs, they deliver a checklist for creating a successful idea: Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Story. Each chapter has an "Idea Clinic" with a six-point scorecard for evaluating Message 1 versus Message 2. And yikes--they take a couple of well-earned shots at nonprofit mediocrity.

    In my book, Mastering The Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Non-profit, I mention that I'm a great believer in moving team members from "I don't know what I don't know" to "I know what I don't know." So the section on the gap theory in the "Unexpected" chapter sold me.

    "Curiosity," says George Loewenstein, "happens when we feel a gap in our knowledge." The authors use two internal fundraising presentations as the clinic for this chapter. Their punch line, "To hold people's interest, we can use the gap theory of curiosity to our advantage. A little bit of mystery goes a long way." It's brilliant.

    "To make a message stick," write the Heaths, "you've got to push it beyond common sense to uncommon sense." When you buy the book, read why the "Journalism 101" story rates Sticky Hall of Fame honors. The lesson learned is worth the price of the book times 1,000.

    Finally, when President John F. Kennedy was ready to announce a big idea, which statement was stickier? A) "Our mission is to become the international leader in the space industry through maximum team-centered innovation and strategically targeted aerospace initiatives." Or...B) "We will put a man on the moon and return him safely by 1970."

    This book will impact your boring mission statements, vision statements and BHAGs. The big question: how can we make them as sticky as the Kidney Heist story?
    ...more info
  • Entrepreneurs, heads up!
    In the universe of marketing books, this one is a shining star. Made to Stick teaches you how to make others care, believe and act upon your ideas. As an entrepreneur, you have to make your messages and ideas stick, whether it is to potential clients, investors or others. Read this book, along with Malcolm Gladwell's 'The Tipping Point' to make your idea a market hit....more info
  • Get your communication to "stick" just like an urban legend
    The authors try to identify what makes an idea "stick" and the learnings can be applied to most types of communication.

    As a marketer, I didn't learn anything revolutionary new but it reminds you of what is important and I really like the checklist they came up with:

    1. Simple
    2. Unexpected
    3. Concrete
    4. Credible
    5. Emotional
    6. Story

    The checklist comes to life by numerous examples in each category. For example, in the presidental campaign Ronald Reagan, instead of rambling of some economic stats, simply said: "ask yourself if you are better off today than 4 years ago". They recite a classic urban legend of the businessman who gets drugged and gets his kidney removed. They analyze this urban legend and it turns out it has all the ingredients that make something "stick".

    The challenge in writing a book about sticky ideas is that it sets the readers' expectations very high about the book itself being written in a sticky way. In this respect, I think the authors are doing an OK job, but not great. At times, the book gets a bit slow (non-sticky!), but I would still recommend this book not only to marketers, but to anybody for whom communication is an important aspect of their work....more info
  • Fantastic job!
    I really like the book. It is simple, easy to follow, and very pratical. The concepts are simple, but sometimes people just don't stop and think about how they are communicating things like the book shows in many example. The authors did a terrific job!...more info
  • If you could make yourself significantly more powerful by reading 336 pages, wouldn't you?
    Made to Stick is a book about making yourself a better, more influential person. How you use that power is ultimately up to you (although I recommend using it for good) but there's no doubt this book is of more practical value than anything I've read in years.

    How's that possible? Chip and Dan Heath have laid out a practical guide to a skill that acts as a force multiplier for all of your ideas. They've found six ways to make you a better communicator.

    The Brothers Heath came from different directions in the study of what makes some ideas influential and memorable while others float in one ear and out the other, leaving nary a trace of their existence behind. They've come together to with a clear idea of six specific characteristics that make some ideas hard to resist and hard to forget.

    The six characteristics are easy to remember (as they better be in a book about making your ideas stick), easy to use and will truly improve your ability to communicate your ideas to others in written or verbal form.

    I highly recommend this book for anyone who could benefit from learning to communicate their ideas more influentially to others. That means all of us....more info
  • It's a Formula Anyone Can Follow
    Ever wonder why some (often incredibly crazy-sounding) urban
    legends seem to stay around forever? Or what makes a catch-
    phrase like "Where's the beef?" turn into a national obsession?
    If not, maybe you should. Because the answer could have a big
    impact on your business.

    In Made to Stick, brothers Chip and Dan Heath explain the six
    traits that make any idea--whether it's a line from a sales
    presentation, a slogan, or your elevator speech--"sticky". Using
    the acronym SUCCESs, they define these traits as Simple,
    Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories.

    It's a formula anyone can follow, and if you're in business you
    owe it to yourself to learn how. This book makes it easy, and
    it's just plain good reading. I highly recommend it!...more info
  • Good ideas but why a whole thick book?
    How do you communicate so that the message is remembered? The authors have many good ideas. The question is broad so anyone can take something away from the book. You don't have to be a marketer or Powerpoint presenter to get value of the ideas. (You can get the whole content of the book by reading some of the longer reviews on amazon!)

    This could have been a very nice book if they wrote 80 pages (like the 1 minute series). Now it is just repetitive and bloated. The ideas are good, but it is very tedious to wade through the pages....more info
  • A great read for leaders who need to sell ideas - an excellent read for anyone in the agency business
    I admit I work in an industry that loves simplicity, concrete messaging, stories, and recall: advertising. Yet it is rare to see an agency practice on itself what it does so well for its clients.

    The truth is that ideas are hard and communicating ideas is even harder. Even for professionals!

    Made To Stick manages to combine the "why" with the "how" of successful communications. Like their column in Fast Company, the Heath's Duct Tape Book successfully communicates ideas. Lots of them.

    A great business read, with real value for communicators, Made to Stick is a must read for agency/ideas people and a top 5 business book recommendation for all of my colleagues and partners.
    ...more info
  • Wish you could get people to listen to you? Read this book.
    This is one of those books that you end up recommending to everyone. Communicators, teachers, pastors, managers... it's that important. Of course, it would be sad if a book on "making things stick" didn't stick with you, but that's also a self-proving thing: the book works by using its own principles.

    Most important about "Made to Stick" is the clear presentation of 6 principles that will change how you communicate. The next time you've got sweat pouring down the back of your neck as you stare at your executive team, this book can truly bring your pulse down. By using the techniques in the book -- simplicity, unexpectedness, credibility, concreteness, emotion, and story -- you'll knock it out of the park.

    The authors also do a wonderful job of providing tons of examples, and even discuss how to more effectively look for and spot schema-changing anecdotes and examples. Great all the way around, and truly communication-changing....more info
  • 30 minutes of content spread over 336 pages
    While this book has some great stuff in it, there isn't that much - you could cover the entire contents of the book over one cup of coffee in Starbucks. Buy a used copy for $2.95 + shipping....more info
  • Duct Tape Won't Work
    Duct tape won't work. I'm sure this simple idea is an unexpected beginning for a book. Duct tape is concrete, but so is this book by Heath and Heath. Duct tape won't work to make our ideas stick, but the ideas in this book will work, whether you want them to stick in your own mind or in the minds of those who hear or read you.
    One reason the book will do its job is that it is credible. As you read these six simple ideas, you will find it easy to believe that they will indeed make your ideas stick.

    I'm writing this review because I am working on a book myself, a book about an idea, an idea that can make anyone into a good thinker. I want the simple idea that I present to remembered for the rest of the reader's life, therefore I bought a copy of Made to Stick and continually test my writing by Heath and Heath's six criteria.

    I've become excited about the potential success of my book. I get emotional as I am writing it. Now, in a few words, I have told the story of the book and my reason for the review. The book is a SUCCES(s) because the way to make our ideas stick is to make them: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and tell a Story-these are the six elements of sticky ideas....more info
  • Best Read for Teachers
    I found this book to be valuable to me as a school teacher. If the material I present doesn't "stick" with the students, then I haven't done my job. This book will help you do a better job!...more info
  • Why this book might make you cringe...
    Sticky ideas that capture the imaginations of people and thrive aren't necessarily the best or truest ones- they're the best communicated ones! (And even the greatest ideas won't make it if they're not communicated well!) That's what this book sets out to prove and then sets out to teach you a formula for making any idea you want to communicate more powerful!

    This book is truly enjoyable. It's like eating a fun, delicious and nutritious meal for your brain. (But, don't let the nutritious part scare you- there's nothing a bit boring or dull about it). It's filled with entertaining real-life examples, applicable research and quick interactive "try it yourself" exercises that keep you turning the pages.

    The hardest part for me, was that I occassionally found myself cringing when reading it and thinking about some of the presentations and marketing pieces I'd once created. I could clearly see how those I'd done that "didn't work" (or "stick") unknowingly didn't follow the guidelines. (Of course, fortunately, with others the opposite was also true.)

    BOTTOM LINE: Want to enjoy yourself while learning how to communicate any idea more powerfully? Read this book. ...more info
  • good for average reader under 18
    Extremely boring book. Long long examples. Whole book is a simple idea that everybody knows. This book can be summarized in 10 pages. ...more info
  • Gotta Stick with it
    The Heath brothers have created one of the best and most memorable contributions to true marketing creativity. They utilize off-the-beaten path stories and analogies to bring their concepts to life and help the reader visualize the benefits of sticky marketing. While some reviewers have said the book was hard to get through, I'd urge you to stick with the book to the end -- and start making a habit of reading the Heath brothers' column in Biz Week...more info
  • Extremely relevant while still having a broad message
    If my wife feels like she could write the Cliffs Notes for a book without ever picking it up, then I know it is a sign that a book went beyond the norm and inspired me to share its ideas. Made to Stick is this kind of book. It is an awesome read with compelling case studies and takeaways for everything from business to parenting....more info
  • Duct Tape and All...
    First, I must say the team that came up with the cover did a brilliant job. As a corporate director of human resources, I am continually engaged in sharing data with the field and also with my superiors. The techniques and tips in this book have been successfully deployed in my recent presentations. The improved feedback and real world observations prove that I am doing a better job at communicating our ideas.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone that is engaged in a dynamic field such as human resources where the guide posts seem to move each week. When you have to get it right - EEOC, ADA, FMLA, etc., you want to ensure it sticks. Michael L. Gooch, SPHR - Author of Wingtips with Spurs...more info
  • Made to Stick
    Excellant book to read. Well written. Great lessons for learing to present that unique idea you want to stick customers' minds.

    ...more info
  • Do your ideas Thrive, Just Survive or Fail?
    The brother's Heath are very effective at helping you think about how to present ideas, campaigns, presentations and other situations where you want to communicate with people or persuade them. Using six discrete concepts with ample illustration, amplification and discussion, they are able to help you improve your communication goals - no matter whether you are a marketer, non-profit or educator.

    The book gets even better when you go back to it for the second and third time. ...more info
  • brilliant!
    This book is a very easy read AND is memorable because it follows the very principles it touts.
    The authors of the book clearly "eat their own dogfood" and apply the SUCCES principles to each section of the book. The lessons are memorable and relevant.

    I hope my competitors don't ever read this book. ...more info
  • A good book for both marketing newcomers and seasoned professionals
    A great source of inspiration for marketing professionals and anyone else who needs their message to stick. In their organized approach to sticky communication, the brothers Heath take their own advice in writing a Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Story. Okay, it wasn't that emotional, but they didn't stop there.

    This book is full of interesting, useful, and practical insights for any marketing professional. Five years or fifty, it's a must-read regardless of how long you've been in the industry. For the less experienced, Dan and Chip cover the basics with insightful twists and thought provoking examples. They take simple ideas, like proverbs, and break them down into easy to understand and, more importantly, reproducible thoughts.

    For the seasoned professional, this book will make you take a step back, evaluate, and refocus your messages with questions like: "what's the core message?" and "are you a tapper?" This `simplicity' (as other's have called it) of the book is a great strength. Being in the business myself I find all too often messages drift from their core and become over complicated by organizations looking for their next award.

    I live in the world of online and technology marketing so it is very important for me to make the most impact in the least amount of time. Studies show that I have less than 10 seconds, most times less, to make enough impact on a potential customer that they want to stick around. Made to Stick doesn't do it for you, but it does serve as a great inspiration and gives clear, simple guidelines to help you get it done.
    ...more info
  • Made for Success
    "Made to Stick" is one of those rare books that just makes you look at everything you write in a fresh light. After reading it, I went and immediately rewrote several fundraising documents on which I had been working. The authors give you a method to cut through the muck and present your case in the most persuasive way. I'm going to have everyone in my department read it....more info
  • good book, not a fun read
    The cover made this book seem like it would be dynamic, fun and engaging to read. I did not find that to be the case, so I never made it clear through the book. The content was interesting once I got through it. I think the reason I had a hard time with the reading was that the authors didn't move through the content in a concise way. Topics felt a bit drawn out. Still, the fundamental ideas here are valuable and worth knowing. ...more info
  • Applying Made to Sick in a call center
    I used Made to Stick in a call center to help illustrate points about customer satisfaction. The specific area I was working on was reducing transfers and this book helped me clarify the actions needed from the reps to take care of our customers.

    I had read the excerpts in Fast Company and was intrigued yet not convinced so I checked it out from my local library. Once I read it, I was convinced. Even with the tough economic times we are facing, buying Made to Stick is a wise investment in your professional library.
    ...more info
  • Glued to Made to Stick
    Made to Stick provides a simple guide for constructing messages that will engage your audience and endure in their memory. It offers strategies for creating meaningful messages that translate knowledge into action. The six principles of "sticky" ideas--Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotional, and Stories--are the kind of common sense strategies writers already know but don't always apply. Made to Stick is based on the idea that becoming a good writer is a matter of nurture, rather than nature, and aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice. The real impact of this book is in its many and varied examples of sticky ideas, ranging from urban legends and fables to the Jared/Subway advertisements and Truth anti-smoking campaigns. The sidebar activities in each chapter also give practical instruction on how to turn mediocre writing samples into sticky ones. Whether you're an experienced writer or a beginner, this book provides concrete criteria for evaluating and improving the effectiveness of your writing.
    Simplicity -- To be sticky, an idea must be stripped down to its core, free from competing non-essential information.
    Unexpectedness -- Surprise or suspense reveals to listeners the gaps in their knowledge and keeps them wanting more information.
    Concretness -- Concepts that are tied to tangible examples or images, for example proverbs and fables, endure in our memory longer than the concepts alone.
    Credibility -- If a new idea is outside of the audience's schema of what's true, the communicator needs to build authority for the idea.
    Emotion -- Caring about an idea is what motivates the audience put information into action.
    Stories -- Stories are an engaging way to pass on information, provide mental simulation, inspire, and dispel skepticism.
    ...more info
  • A Wonderfully Clever Book on Ideas
    So, I'm just going to come out and say it. I loved this book. The vibrant orange cover with its duct tape image automatically intrigued me and I could not have been more anxious to begin "Made to Stick". This book is a book about ideas. And although that concept may seem like nothing new, Chip & Dan's approach sets itself above the rest by not just applying to one group of readers like CEOs, but to teachers, students, you name it. So, as I'm reading I immediately thought of many friends and family that would enjoy and benefit from reading this as well because it transfers across the board no matter who you are or what you do.

    What makes this a fascinating and effective read is the amount of examples from some of the most creative and profound ideas to even some of the duds that flopped. Examples are a wonderful tool to get to see what has worked and what hasn't and this book was not short on them. As the reader is examining these ideas we're also getting the privilege of exploring the authors 6 principles for the making of a "sticky idea" which are


    It's a wonderful guideline to go by to effectively get your message across and make an impression with your audience whether you're trying to present a new advertising strategy at work or teaching a group of fourth graders math.

    I felt "Made to Stick" was a wonderfully fun and helpful book. It was not only full of some great information that I can take with me day in and day out, but the book is so brilliantly set up to allow me to easily revert back to the information and give myself a refresher. This book is a must read for any occupation, any adult and any bookshelf.
    ...more info
  • Keep It Close By
    This is a book that gives simple and concrete examples in the form of true stories that will help you launch an idea that is sustainable.

    You are immediately pulled into the book and your mind begins to relate to your own circumstances. It is a terrific reference to whatever business or organization you are a part of and it will help you crysalize what your next move is. You will keep this book close by to reread it, I'm sure....more info
  • You'll never forget this book.
    The book answers one question: What makes an idea stick to our minds? The question is profound because it asks why some ideas are better remembered than others, why some methods of communication are more effective, and why a message should be specifically packaged to achieve the intended impact. The answer involves six principles spelled SUCCES: simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, story.

    What's brilliant about "Made to Stick" is: authors Chip and Dan Heath use the answer to the question to make the answer stick to our minds. Not only do they explain how the six principles are used to make an idea stick, they also apply these principles in making their message--the book--be a sticky idea that stays in our consciousness.

    The six chapters of "Made to Stick" focus on the six principles of stickiness. Each chapter uses some, if not all, of the SUCCES principles to deliver the chapter's topic. The language is light and straightforward (because sticky ideas must be simple and memorable, like proverbs). The presentation is captivating, making you pay attention and want more. The numerous references are concrete and credible; in fact we are already familiar with many of them (like Jared, the Subway guy, the Chicken Soup series, and the Mother Theresa Effect). And with one story after another, of how regular people used these principles to make an impact, Chip and Dan Heath seal the imprint of their message in our heads.

    I have never read a book that skillfully and successfully applies the principles it is trying to teach, until now. With the additional "Sticky Advice" chapters (for managers and teachers), the Easy Reference Guide, and the hundreds of fascinating reference notes, I can say "Made to Stick" will be stuck to my fingers for a while. - Ruby Bayan, OurSimpleJoys
    ...more info
  • Learn to Be a Master of Communication, Writing and Marketing
    Review by Jorge S. Olson
    Author of The Unselfish Guide to Self Promotion

    The premise of this book is to show how some ideas, concepts, points of view are forgotten and some are remembered. Why does this happen? How does it happen? Is it coincidence or is there something in common for memorable or "sticky" ideas?

    The book explores many different ideas, concepts and stories to see what they have in common, how we can learn from them and how you can apply these strategies to your ideas, stories, even products or companies. The knowledge in this book can be applied to business, to family or to life.

    The authors explain each point of what makes an idea stick with stories and case studies of urban legends, short stories, lectures, even products and memorable advertising campaigns.

    Who Should Read This Book
    This book is intermediate level reading as it requires abstract thinking and application of the book premise to business and life. I recommend this book to anyone as it can be used as a self improvement and general knowledge book.

    How Can You Apply This Book?
    Self Improvement / Self Help: Your general knowledge will improve and you will have more tools to communicate with others in daily life.

    Marketing / Advertising: Must read for anybody in marketing as you will learn how to build memorable marketing campaigns for products or companies. If you are in marketing you want your ideas, concepts, products remembered.

    Writing: It is a must read for writers because you need to capture the attention of your reader and keep it. After this you want your ideas remembered and talked about.

    Business Management: It is an important book for managers of all levels as the book will teach you how to motivate your teams in different business situations. It shows you how to motivate your team in different projects and situations.

    Family / Society: The book is also applicable to society and family because when you are a better communicator, when you understand others and others understand you social life will be easier.

    Jorge S. Olson is the author of "The Unselfish Guide to Self Promotion," a new book that will turn you into a marketing and promotion superstar while helping you improve yourself as a person and making a difference in the life of others, many others. Buy the book The Unselfish Guide to Self Promotion here on today.
    ...more info
  • A Sticky Persuasion Model
    The Heath brothers state that sticky ideas are:

    1. Simple
    2. Unexpected
    3. Concrete
    4. Credible
    5. Emotional
    6. Story Driven

    The book makes strong points for each principle, and the list makes intuitive sense. As a marketing professional, I refer to this model often. The list is a good criteria for judging the effectiveness of a new product, brand, or communication platform.

    My other favorite book regarding persuasion is Robet Cialdini's Persuasion.

    Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials)...more info
  • Made to stick...sticks out.
    I love reading books that I can't put down.
    Business books don't usually fall in this category.
    "Made to Stick" does.

    Kudos to the authors for writing a book that is filled with great ideas - presented in ways that support the points they make. Made to Stick is "S"imply written, with a few "U"nexpected turns - to keep your interest, and plenty of "C"oncrete examples from "C"redible sources. Occasionally, it made me laugh ("E"motional)...and it is packed with memorable "S"tories that I will re-tell.
    Great job, brothers Dan and Chip.
    Thanks for validating many of the practices I have been using throughout my career as a brand marketer.

    Alfredo Muccino
    Chief Creative Officer
    Liquid Agency | Brand Marketing info
  • A "How To" create effective business communications
    Overall, this was a good book; it provides the reader with important insight as to how important it is to create a message that is understood and remembered. It also gives you a step-by-step process on how to create these memorable messages. Make the message 1) simple 2) unexpected 3) concrete 4) credible 5) emotional and 6) a good story. This is one of the more important books on how to get your business message communicated, and it tells you how to do it.

    The only reason that I didn't give this book a 5 star, is that the middle of the book was a real yawner - the book could have been just as effective (or more effective) at 200 pages.
    ...more info
  • Great book!
    One of the best books about how to make ideas "stick" in the minds of your audience. Whether you're a business owner, manager, or teacher, thi sbook really delves into the details of what makes people remember your idea, lesson, concept, etc.
    A very fast read, now I'm going to go back and highlight all the important parts!...more info
  • Should be required business reading
    Why are certain urban legends memorable while most (even important) business communications are not? What is it exactly that makes something "stick" in our brain?

    Dan Heath and Chip Heath explore these and similar questions in their book, Making Ideas Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. They explain six priciples that increase the liklihood of a message being heard and remembered.

    S -- Simple: Find the core of your message and compact it into a proverb-like saying.
    U -- Unexpected: Get audience attention by surprise, and hold their interest by creating a mystery.
    C -- Concrete: Help people remember by making abstractions concrete.
    C -- Credible: Help people believe by using convincing details, accessible statistics, and testable credentials.
    E -- Emotional: Make people care.
    S -- Stories: Use stories as simulation and inspiration.

    The Heath brothers relate these principles *using* the principles. The book is filled with dozens of simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional stories. I found the book to be an informative, enjoyable read....more info
  • Create the perfect sticky sales pitch to capture an employer's imagination!
    In a world where we are bombarded by messages every second, having the know-how to create a message that stands out above the rest is a serious asset. `Made to Stick' is a book by Chip and Dan Heath, brothers who researched psychosocial studies on the memory, emotion and motivation.

    The Heath brothers found that six basic qualities enable an idea to stick in our minds; these are: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories.

    Once you have mastered this communication skill, the world is your oyster. A job seeker can create a resum¨¦ and cover letter to stand out above the rest. An entrepreneur will have their ideas heard loud and clear.

    Danny Iny
    Author of the free eBook "Forget Everything You Know About Looking For a Job... And Actually Find One!"
    HuntingToHired, info
  • Good service - Expensive delivery
    Service was good, delivered on time. BUT i thought i was saving by ordering on amazon when i realized that once the delivery charge was added, it actually doubled the price of the book...
    To go from $8 to $16 price tag for shipping does not justify the process. Will be careful about that next time......more info


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