Lessons To Learn From Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die is a business and management book written by brothers Chip and Dan Heath. It was published by Random House in 2007. This book continues on the concept of “stickiness” popularized in The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Here the Heath brothers tries to explain what makes an idea or concept memorable or interesting. Each chapter of the book has a section entitled “Clinic” which explains each concept by applying it to a specific case study.

Made to Stick is the product of years of research and communication science. It features easy-to-remember mnemonic and blue print for the development of sticky ideas. According to Robert Peter Janitzek, Made to Stick tackles the murky middle section of Malcolm Gladwell’s principles. According to the authors, SUCCES is the ingredient that will make an idea stick.

    • • SIMPLE – Psychologically sticky ideas are simple and short; they are often distillations of complex, multifaceted ideas or concepts into a single core idea that is easy to get and that can be embodied in a compact plain-English phrase or sentence. Simple and Short is Sticky.


    • • UNEXPECTED – Psychologically sticky ideas are surprising and interesting; they grab our attention by defying our expectations, and keep our attention by teasing our curiosity. They also make sense. So surprise is not about randomness but about creating a ‘huh?’ moment and then an ‘a ha!’ moment.


    • • CONCRETE – Psychologically sticky ideas are tangible, real and appeal to our (five) senses. So don’t sell the soft hands, sell the hand cream. An attribute – hand cream – is concrete, a benefit – soft hands is abstract. Don’t sell a concept, sell a prototype. Don’t sell with statistics, sell with examples.


    • • CREDIBLE – Psychologically sticky ideas are believable – they have both ‘internal credibility’ (they make sense, and are not self-contradictory) and ‘external credibility’ (they have proof or authority to support them). So make your idea psychologically sticky, make sure it makes sense, and offer proof by example, proof by numbers, or proof by authority – or anti-authority.


    • • EMOTIONAL – Psychologically sticky ideas move us, they evoke emotions, make us feel something – and in doing so they make us _care_. So to make your idea sticky, focus either on what people already really care about – usually themselves (self-interest) – or create an association between your idea and something they care about (again, usually themselves).


    • STORY: Psychologically sticky ideas tend to be in story format, and have simple story plots that people can relate to. Statistics may be dire, but stories inspire – and if a picture speaks a thousand words, a story beats a thousand facts and figures.

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