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Made to Stick
Cover of Made to Stick
Made to Stick
Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • The instant classic about why some ideas thrive, why others die, and how to improve your idea's chances—essential reading in the "fake news" era.

    BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Chip Heath and Dan Heath's Switch.

    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 news stories circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas—entrepreneurs, teachers, politicians, and journalists—struggle to make them "stick."
    In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan 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. Along the way, 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 will transform the way you communicate. 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.
  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
  • The instant classic about why some ideas thrive, why others die, and how to improve your idea's chances—essential reading in the "fake news" era.

    BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Chip Heath and Dan Heath's Switch.

    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 news stories circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas—entrepreneurs, teachers, politicians, and journalists—struggle to make them "stick."
    In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan 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. Along the way, 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 will transform the way you communicate. 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.
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    Excerpts-
    • From the book I I N T R O D U C T I O N

      WHAT STICKS?

      A friend of a friend of ours is a frequent business traveler. Let's call him Dave. Dave was recently in Atlantic City for an important meeting with clients. Afterward, he had some time to kill before his flight, so he went to a local bar for a drink.
      He'd just finished one drink when an attractive woman approached and asked if she could buy him another. He was surprised but flattered. Sure, he said. The woman walked to the bar and brought back two more drinks—one for her and one for him. He thanked her and took a sip. And that was the last thing he remembered.
      Rather, that was the last thing he remembered until he woke up, disoriented, lying in a hotel bathtub, his body submerged in ice.
      He looked around frantically, trying to figure out where he was and how he got there. Then he spotted the note: don't move. call 911.
      A cell phone rested on a small table beside the bathtub. He picked it up and called 911, his fingers numb and clumsy from the ice. The operator seemed oddly familiar with his situation. She said, "Sir, I want you to reach behind you, slowly and carefully. Is there a tube protruding from your lower back?"
      Anxious, he felt around behind him. Sure enough, there was a tube.
      The operator said, "Sir, don't panic, but one of your kidneys has been harvested. There's a ring of organ thieves operating in this city, and they got to you. Paramedics are on their way. Don't move until they arrive."

      You've just read one of the most successful urban legends of the past fifteen years. The first clue is the classic urban-legend opening: "A friend of a friend . . ." Have you ever noticed that our friends' friends have much more interesting lives than our friends themselves?
      You've probably heard the Kidney Heist tale before. There are hundreds of versions in circulation, and all of them share a core of three elements: (1) the drugged drink, (2) the ice-filled bathtub, and (3) the kidney-theft punch line. One version features a married man who receives the drugged drink from a prostitute he has invited to his room in Las Vegas. It's a morality play with kidneys.
      Imagine that you closed the book right now, took an hourlong break, then called a friend and told the story, without rereading it. Chances are you could tell it almost perfectly. You might forget that the traveler was in Atlantic City for "an important meeting with clients"—who cares about that? But you'd remember all the important stuff.
      The Kidney Heist is a story that sticks. We understand it, we remember it, and we can retell it later. And if we believe it' s true, it might change our behavior permanently—at least in terms of accepting drinks from attractive strangers.
      Contrast the Kidney Heist story with this passage, drawn from a paper distributed by a nonprofit organization. "Comprehensive community building naturally lends itself to a return-on-investment rationale that can be modeled, drawing on existing practice," it begins, going on to argue that "[a] factor constraining the flow of resources to CCIs is that funders must often resort to targeting or categorical requirements in grant making to ensure accountability."
      Imagine that you closed the book right now and took an hourlong break. In fact, don't even take a break; just call up a friend and retell that passage without rereading it. Good luck.
      Is this a fair comparison—an urban legend to a cherry-picked bad passage? Of course not. But here's where things get interesting: Think of our two examples as two poles on a spectrum of memorability. Which sounds closer to the communications you encounter at work? If...
    About the Author-
    • Chip Heath is a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, teaching courses on strategy and organizations. He has helped over 450 startups hone their business strategy and messages. He lives in Los Gatos, California.

      Dan Heath is a senior fellow at Duke University's CASE center, which supports entrepreneurs fighting for social good. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

      Together, Chip and Dan have written three New York Times bestselling books: Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive. Their books have sold over two million copies worldwide and have been translated into thirty-three languages, including Thai, Arabic, and Lithuanian. Their most recent book is The Power of Moments.
    Reviews-
    • Publisher's Weekly

      Starred review from October 16, 2006
      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.

    • Library Journal

      Starred review from February 1, 2007
      Chip Heath (organizational behavior, Graduate Sch. of Business, Stanford Univ.; "Rumor Mills") and brother Dan (consultant, Duke Corporate Education; cofounder, Thinkwell) team up on a tacky topic. They borrow the "stickiness" metaphor from Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point", which examined the social forces causing ideas to make the leap ("tip") from small to large groups. The Heaths focus on the traits that contribute to an idea's ability to catch on, or "stick." Urban legendslike the one about the traveling businessman who is drugged and wakes up minus a kidneyare prime examples of such stickiness. While totally untrue, these tales make for great retelling, and we seem primed to fall for them. Using engaging examples from around the world, the authors illustrate the six principles of stickiness: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotions, and Stories (SUCCES!). Their fun-to-read book will appeal to communicators in every field who want their messages to be more effective. Highly recommended for public and academic library business or psychology collections.Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin Lib., Whitewater

      Copyright 2007 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

    • School Library Journal

      March 1, 2007
      Adult/High School-While at first glance this volume might resemble the latest in a series of trendy business advice books, ultimately it is about storytelling, and it is a how-to for crafting a compelling narrative. Employing a lighthearted tone, the Heaths apply those selfsame techniques to create an enjoyable read. They analyze such narratives as urban legends and advertisements to discover what makes them memorable. The authors provide a simple mnemonic to remember their stickiness formula, and the basic principles may be applied in any situation where persuasiveness is an asset. The book is a fast read peppered with exercises to test the techniques proposed. Some examples act as pop quizzes and engage readers in moments of self-reflection. The book draws on examples from teachers, scientists, and soldiers who have been successful at crafting memorable ideas, from the well-known blue eye/brown eye exercise conducted by an Iowa elementary school teacher as an experiential lesson in prejudice following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., to conversations among Xerox repairmen. Readers who enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink" (2005) and "The Tipping Point" (2000, both Little, Brown) will appreciate this clever take on contemporary culture."Heidi Dolamore, San Mateo County Library, CA"

      Copyright 2007 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

    • Booklist

      November 1, 2006
      Based on a class at Stanford taught by one of the authors, this book profiles how some ideas "stick" in our minds while the majority fall by the wayside. Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and compelling advertising make up much of the intrinsically interesting examples that the Heaths profile that qualify for "stickiness." This book explores what makes social epidemics "epidemic" and, as the Heaths cite from Malcolm Gladwell's " Tipping Point" (2000), defines the secret recipe that makes an idea viral. The principles of stickiness are examined--an unexpected outcome, lots of concrete details that we remember, emotion, simplicity, and credibility--all packaged in an easily told story format. Taking these five stickiness attributes, the book offers numerous examples of how these properties make up the stories we are all familiar with--the urban legend about kidney theft and the razor blades supposedly lurking in Halloween candy. Exercises, checklists, and other tools are sprinkled throughout the book to help the reader understand and test how stickiness can be applied to their ideas, whether they are teachers, parents, or CEOs.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2006, American Library Association.)

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