Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Book cover for Made to Stick

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

By Chip Heath, Dan Heath
Random House, 2007

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-businessmen, educators, 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 sure-fire methods for making ideas stickier, such as violating schemas, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating “curiosity gaps.” Made to Stick describes the traits that link sticky ideas of all kinds, from urban legends to corporate mission statements to advertisements to proverbs.

Selected Editorial Reviews
... This is one of the most important business books ever written ... ... I love how the Heath brothers dissect false stories and myths, (like “œyou only use 10% of your brain”) to show what kinds ideas spread and persist, and what kinds don'™t. The book focuses squarely on using this research to help you design your own messages that will stick and affect what people actually do. One of my favorites is their analysis of the success of the “œDon'™t Mess with Texas” anti-littering campaign. The Heath brothers show us how, while warm and cuddly appeals to stop litter had failed in Texas, this simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and emotional message –“ which had a toughness that appealed to conservative rednecks, not just liberal tree-huggers –“ quickly became a favorite bumper sticker, was known and could be recalled by 73% of Texans just a few months after the campaign was launched, and roadside litter declined in Texas declined nearly 30% within a year. The campaign was so effective that the state abandoned other expensive anti-littering campaigns, and five years into the “œDon'™t Mess With Texas” campaign, roadside litter had decreased 72%. And it isn't just that the Heath brothers tell such great stories, they show how you - as a manager, a marketer, an organizational change agent, or a politician - can craft new messages, and evaluate and alter your current messages to have the greatest impact. What Sticks is an example of evidence-based management at its finest, as it draws on the best knowledge that behavioral scientists have generated and then goes the difficult extra step of showing all of us how to apply it.
Professor Bob Sutton's Blog
Unabashedly inspired by Malcolm Gladwell's bestselling The Tipping Point, the brothers Heath — ”Chip a professor at Stanford's business school, Dan a teacher and textbook publisher —” offer an entertaining, practical guide to effective communication. Drawing extensively on psychosocial studies on memory, emotion and motivation, their study is couched in terms of 'stickiness' — ”that is, the art of making ideas unforgettable. They start by relating the gruesome urban legend about a man who succumbs to a barroom flirtation only to wake up in a tub of ice, victim of an organ-harvesting ring. What makes such stories memorable and ensures their spread around the globe? The authors credit six key principles: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories. (The initial letters spell out 'success' —” well, almost.) They illustrate these principles with a host of stories, some familiar (Kennedy's stirring call to 'land a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth' within a decade) and others very funny (Nora Ephron's anecdote of how her high school journalism teacher used a simple, embarrassing trick to teach her how not to 'bury the lead'). Throughout the book, sidebars show how bland messages can be made intriguing. Fun to read and solidly researched, this book deserves a wide readership. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Publishers Weekly
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