April 2008 • Journal 01 • Issue 01

“Made to Stick” – Heath

Made to Stick - Heath

  • Title: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
  • Authors: Chip and Dan Heath
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (January 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400064287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400064281

Why is it that some ideas are so inherently unforgettable while others are nearly impossible to remember? Why do urban legends survive while truthful principles are ignored? Why is it so hard to get some jingles, slogans, or TV commercials out of your head? And, why is it so stinking hard to get what is in your mind out of your mouth or down on paper without losing the clarity and passion that made it so important? Why is it so easy to excrete words that obscure the very thing you intend to convey? Leaders are in the communication business whether they know it or not. Good leaders learn to communicate with power and clarity. If you lead others in any form then you are constantly engaged in the communication process. You write emails, you make presentations, you draft proposals, you seek to tell your story, you try to sell ideas, and you solicit participation. Your effectiveness as a communicator has direct correlation to your effectiveness as a leader. That’s why this is such an important book Made to Stick, is a look at the complexities of communication. The authors offer astute analysis of how communication goes awry and a prescriptive approach for how to operate differently. This book is a goldmine. A sample nugget:

“Here’s the rub: The same factors that worked to your advantage in the “Answer” stage will backfire on you during the “Telling Others” stage. To get the Answer, you need expertise, but you can’t dissociate expertise from the Curse of Knowledge. You know things that others don’t know and you can’t remember what it was like not to know them. So when you get around to sharing the Answer, you’ll tend to communicate as if your audience were you.” (pg. 245)

The heart of their prescription for more compelling communication is this:

“There are two steps in making your ideas sticky. Step 1 is to find the core [the key to making any idea simple] and Step 2 is to translate the core using [their] SUCCESs checklist.” (pg. 28)

Their SUCCESs framework says that for any message to be “sticky,” it must be:

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credentialed
  • Emotional
  • Storie(s)

If you are still reading this deep into my review, then you understand the issue. So, read the book! Click the cover image above, go onto Amazon and order it. Then, after you’ve read it, drop me a note. I’d love to hear your thoughts about it, too.

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