2007-11-03: Made to Stick

Made to Stick

Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (2007)

by Chip Heath (19?-) & Dan Heath (19?-)

This is an interesting book, somewhat related to rhetoric. It isn’t about ideas, but about how to present ideas for the most impact.

The authors (brothers) provide an acronym-checklist: SUCCESs, Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotions, Stories. Then they elaborate on these six principles.

Simple = Core + Compact. It’s important to identify the core message, and make it compact enough for simple presentation.

Unexpectedness overcomes the guessing mechanism in listeners’ brains, that make them see ideas as obvious, and therefore not important.

Concrete expressions help make a message memorable; abstract ideas are hard to remember without repetition.

Credibility, whether from an authority or the listeners’ own experiences, helps remove doubt.

Emotions, when aroused, help make a message memorable.

Stories activate an innate part of the human brain, to fit a message into existing patterns or plots, and make people see how an idea can be put into action.

The book provides many examples, and some practical exercises to illustrate the principles, and I’m sure they would be effective. This is a book that should be read and reread by anyone who needs to be persuasive.


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