Made To Stick – Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Summary


Made to Stick Book Summary
Author: Chip Heath, Dan Heath

The author points out 3 characteristics of the idea that stick. They should be :

  1. Understandable
  2. Memorable
  3. Effective in altering thoughts and behaviour


Here are the 6 principles of stickiness:

1. Simplicity

  • This is the key to finding your core idea. Aiming for simplicity means going to the bottom of it to find the single most important thing.
  • Simple ideas can be effective in changing behaviour. It is not about cutting things short but rather about prioritization.
  • Simple ideas are a product of core and compact.


2. Unexpected:

  • Mess with people’s expectations. Keep them interested for a longer period.

Ask 2 questions:

  1. How to get people’s attention
  2. How to keep it


Getting Attention-

Our brains are designed to notice changes around us. So the easiest way to get someone’s attention is to break a pattern by doing something new.

The steps are as follows:

  • Determine the core message you want to communicate.
  • Ask yourself: what is unusual about my message? what are the unexpected elements?
  • Communicate this message in a manner that breaks the expectations of the audience. Make use of the element of surprise.

Keeping Attention:

  • Make use of mystery. What happens after? How will it happen? These thoughts keep the people interested.
  • Create gaps in their knowledge. This will help create curiosity.


3. Concrete:

  • Making an idea abstract makes it harder to understand and remember it. Moreover, abstract things can have multiple interpretations that can lead to confusion.
  • Being able to examine something with your senses means it is concrete. Concreteness is specific people doing specific things.
  • Concreteness makes it easier to communicate and understand new ideas and concepts.


4. Credible:

  • We believe a message because our parents or peers believe that. Our experiences lead us to believe some things and reject others. Because we trust them as authorities.
  • Trying to persuade a skeptical audience is not an easy task, but the best way to do it is to focus on the honesty and trustworthiness of or message and its sources.
  • Make use of details and statistical data. This acts as a great way to establish expertise and trustworthiness in the mind of the audience.


5. Emotional:

  • We don’t need to create emotion in people out of thin air. In fact, many ideas produce emotions by associating their message with emotions that already exist.
  • The key is to create an association between something they don’t care about now with something they already do care about.
  • Another way is to appeal to their self-interests.


6. Stories

  • Stories are an effective teaching tool. They draw the illustration of things that people didn’t realize earlier.
  • Simulating past events can be much more effective than simulating future scenarios.

# Key Takeaways:

– The authors, Chip and Dan Heath, present the concept of “stickiness” as the key factor in making ideas successful and memorable.

– They identify six principles of stickiness: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, and stories.

– The book provides numerous examples and case studies to illustrate how these principles can be applied in various contexts.

– The authors also emphasize the importance of understanding the audience and tailoring the message accordingly.

# Practical Application:

– The book offers practical strategies for crafting and communicating ideas that can be applied in various real-world scenarios, such as marketing, advertising, and leadership.

– For instance, the principle of simplicity can be applied in creating clear and concise messages that are easy for the audience to understand and remember.

– The principle of unexpectedness can be used to grab the audience’s attention and make the message more memorable.

– The book also provides tips for making ideas more concrete and credible, which can be useful in persuading others and gaining their trust.

# Valuable Insights for Leaders and Managers:

– The chapter on “Simple” offers valuable insights for leaders and managers, as it emphasizes the importance of simplifying complex ideas and making them more accessible to the audience.

– The chapter on “Emotional” also provides valuable insights for leaders, as it highlights the role of emotions in influencing people’s behavior and decision-making.

– The final chapter, “Stories,” is particularly relevant for leaders and managers, as it explains how storytelling can be used to make ideas more memorable and persuasive.

# Effective Case Studies and Examples:

– The book includes several case studies and examples that effectively illustrate its principles.

– One example is the “Jared” campaign by Subway, which used the principle of concreteness to make the message more memorable and persuasive.

– Another example is the “Kidney Heist” urban legend, which demonstrates the power of unexpectedness in making ideas stick.

– The book also includes examples from various industries, such as advertising, politics, and education, making it relevant for a wide range of readers.





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