Made to Stick – Video Book Review

by on September 10, 2011 · 2 comments

This book turned on many light bulbs for me. You could probably see a whole Christmas tree of lights over my head as I was reading it. Made to Stick – Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die is probably my favorite business book right now.

The authors, Chip Heath and Dan Heath are brothers who share a common interest – they wanted to understand why some ideas and stories are passed around for generations, sometimes even longer. They did a ton of research and deconstructed popular sayings and urban legends to find the common elements.

And in this book they’ve done just that – and created a method to apply to your own messages and stories to make them stick.

My Video Review

The Big Idea

A sticky idea is Understandable, memorable and effective in changing thought or behavior.

In this book, the Heath brothers have reverse engineered sticky ideas like urban legends, proverbs and stories that have been passed on for thousands of years and come up with a method to apply these characteristics to your messages.

This book teaches you how to make your ideas sticky. How?
1) Find the “core” of your idea
2) Translate the core using the SUCCES checklist

The Sticky Ideas Success Checklist

Simplicity – Find the core idea, simple does not mean dumbed down. It means core & compact. Commander’s Intent.

Unexpectedness – Getting attention and keeping interest. Break their guessing machine, uncommon sense. Gap theory of curiosity.

Concreteness – Specific people doing specific things. Start with pre-existing schemes. Novices crave concreteness.

Credible – Types of authority: Experts, Celebrities, Anti authorities, yourself! The Wendy’s commercial. “Testable credentials.”

Emotions – For people to take action, they have to care. People make decisions based on their identity – the consult an ideal self image. Empathy emerges from the particular, rather than the pattern.

Stories – The role of stories. Stories can single handedly beat the curse of knowledge. They show models of how people could act. Spotting stories vs creating them.

A credible idea makes people believe. An emotional idea makes people care. The right stories make people act.

For an idea to stick it must make the audience:

  • Pay attention (UNEXPECTED)
  • Understand and Remember (CONCRETE)
  • Agree/Believe (CREDIBLE)
  • Care (EMOTIONAL)
  • Be able to Act on it (STORY)

Favorite Quote:

“Stories are like flight simulators for the brain.”

Wrap Up

This book is full of practical ideas that I’m putting to use in my own products and marketing. Whenever I am coming up with a new product, design or web page I try to identify the core of my message, and put it through the SUCCES checklist.

Don’t think about it – just get this book and read is as soon as you can. I promise it will be worth it!

You can read the first chapter here: Made to Stick – Chapter One

Listen to the Podcast

Or if you want to listen to this review instead of watching it, you can download the podcast .mp3 file below.

Article by »

Don is an entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He founded Expand2Web and is the publisher of the Expand2Web Blog, and the GetFiveStars Customer Feedback and Reviews service.

Don has written 313 articles on Expand2Web

Author Connect » Twitter | | Facebook |

See my disclosure about advertising and affiliate links

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Natasha Nelson September 29, 2011 at 10:04 am

Your summary is fantastic, Don! I hope more people read it after seeing your post. One part that ‘stuck’ with me was the concept of “The Curse of Knowledge” (highlighted on page 244-245). I think SUCCES is a great tool for experts/insiders to use to learn how to effectively communicate their answers and knowledge, without drowning their audience in “shop talk”.


Don Campbell September 29, 2011 at 10:22 am

Thanks Natasha.
I know – the “Curse of Knowledge” is a great concept that I keep coming back to time and time again. I’m glad to know you read and enjoyed this book too. So many great tools and ways of thinking from this book huh?


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: