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on 31 May 2012
Brilliant read. Gives practical advice for marketers and a clear process to follow, ensuring your messages not only get to the customer, but also 'get through to them'. Definitely one of my favourite reads for copywriters and marketers alike.

Jason Sullock
UK Marketing Manager & Author 555 Quick n Dirty Marketing Tips
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on 13 April 2016
Made to Stick offers practical advice on who to make your content contagious and how to make it last.

It's full of real life examples that illustrate the principles.

Making your ideas stick is still not easy, even after reading the book. But then, you have a clear framework you can work with so your chances of success (or should I say SUCCES) are dramatically improved.

Great book if you want your ideas to stick, which applies to pretty much everyone.
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on 12 September 2008
I can't believe I'm the first person to review this book!

It's a shame that this book hasn't found a wider audience. I have seen this book positioned in book shops as a 'business' book. But it's actually a book that is appropriate for absolutely anyone who wants to know how to create more compelling messages. You could be a teacher who wants to make your lessons more memorable or a student who wants to understand what makes urban legends so virally believable.

The authors really practise what they preach. Not only do they tell you how to make your messages more 'sticky' and memorable, but they have written a book that applies their learnings. A great read - thoroughly recommended! So much so that I feel compelled to write a review - so please forgive me as this is my first ever review!
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This is the best book about communications I've read since I discovered Stephen Denning's work on telling business stories. I highly recommend Made to Stick to all those who want to get their messages across in business more effectively.

Imagine if people remembered what you had to say and acted on it. Wouldn't that be great? What if people not only remembered and acted, but told hundreds of others who also acted and told? Now you're really getting somewhere!

Brothers Chip (an educational consultant and publisher) and Dan (a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Business School) Heath combine to develop Malcolm Gladwell's point about "stickiness" in The Tipping Point. To help you understand what they have in mind, the book opens with the hoary urban tale of the man who ends up in a bathtub packed with ice missing his kidney after accepting a drink from a beautiful woman. That story, while untrue, has virtually universal awareness. Many other untrue stories do, too, especially those about what someone found in a fast food meal.

The brothers Heath put memorable and quickly forgotten information side-by-side to make the case for six factors (in combination) making the difference between what's memorable and what isn't. The six factors are:

1. Simplicity (any idea over one is too many)

2. Unexpectedness (a surprise grabs our attention)

3. Concreteness (the more dimensions of details the more hooks our minds use to create a memory)

4. Credibility (even untrue stories don't stick unless there's a hint of truth, such as beware of what's too good to be true in the urban legend that opens the book)

5. Incite Emotions in Listeners (we remember emotional experiences much more than anything else; we care more about individuals than groups; and we care about things that reflect our identities)

6. Combine Messages in Stories (information is more memorable and meaningful in a story form . . . like the urban legend that opens the book)

Before commenting on the book further, I have a confession to make. This book has special meaning for me. I was one of the first people to employ and popularize the term "Maximize Shareholder Value" by making that the title of my consulting firm's annual report (Mitchell and Company) over 25 years ago when we began our practice in stock-price improvement. That term has become almost ubiquitous in CEO and CFO suites, but hasn't gone very far beyond the discussions of corporate leaders, investment bankers and institutional investors and analysts.

The authors use that term in the book as an example of a communication that hasn't stuck broadly. And they are right. Having watched that term over the years go into all kinds of unexpected places and be quoted by people who had no idea how to do it long ago convinced me of the wisdom of telling people what to do . . . not just what the objective is.

The authors make this point beautifully in citing Southwest Airline's goal of being "THE low-fare airline." If something conflicts with being a good low-fare airline at Southwest, it's obvious to everybody not to do it.

You'll probably find that some of the examples and lessons strike you right in the middle of the forehead, too. That's good. That's how we learn. I went back to a new manuscript I'm writing now and wrote a whole new beginning to better reflect the lessons in Made to Stick. I've also recommended the book already to about a dozen of my graduate business students. So clearly Made to Stick is sticking with me.

If you find yourself skipping rapidly through the book, be sure to slow down and pay attention on pages 247-249 where the authors take common communications problems and recommend what to do about them (such as how to get people to pay attention to your message). That's the most valuable part of the book. It integrates the individual points very effectively and succinctly.

I also liked the reference guide on pages 252-257 that outlines the book's contents. You won't need to take notes with this reference guide in place.

So why should you pay attention? The authors demonstrate with an exercise that people who know and use these principles are more successful in communicating through advertisements than those who are talented in making advertisements but don't know these principles. Without more such experiments, it's hard to know how broad the principle is . . . but I'm willing to assume that they have a point here.

No book is perfect: How could this one have been even better? Unlike Stephen Denning's wonderful books on storytelling, this book is more about the principles than how to apply the principles. I hope the authors will come back with many how-to books and workbooks.

I would also like to commend the book's cover designer for doing such a good job of simulating a piece of duct tape on the dust jacket. That feature adds to the stickiness of this book.
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on 16 August 2014
The authors are brothers who work in different areas of education where the goal is to make ideas stick. They are both fans of Malcolm Gladwell, as I am, and readily admit to having borrowed the term 'stickiness' from him, but they use fresh examples and are trying to to do more than entertain and intrigue. This is in fact an instruction manual for getting ideas across effectively, and because they follow their own instructions, it works.
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on 22 February 2009
I'd recommend this book to any teacher - it's probably 110% more useful than any of the text books you were told to read on your teacher training course!

It's very readable. This is important because teachers (and that includes me) are too busy to find time to wade though dense theoretical texts. Secondly, and this probably shouldn't be surprising given what the book's about, it draws you in and the ideas contained within it are very easy to remember.

The job of a teacher is to explain sometimes really quite tricky ideas in short, sharp chunks, to people who are not always expecially engaged (i.e. teenagers), and then get them to use those ideas. This book explains very neatly how to do that more effectively. The authors' SUCCESs mnemonic (simple, unexpected, concrete, credentialed, emotional, story) is well illustrated and explained in the book and is very easy to remember and apply. Highly recommended.
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Persuasiveness has always been a very important aspect of advertising, politics, and a myriad other professions that rely heavily on the opinions and attitudes of others in order to exist and make an impact on the world. For the better or worse, in modern world an increasing number of professions fall into this category. Weather we are trying to teach someone a new skill, persuade a boss or a colleague, or ace a job interview, we need to be able to present our ideas effectively. We need to make them stick.

"Made to Stick" expands on the idea of "stickiness" popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in "The Tipping Point." Brothers Heath have spent many years working in their respective fields - organizational behavior and education - and have jointly come up with their idea of what makes ideas particularly "sticky." Their prescription, and the outline of this book, is organized around the acronym SUCCES (with last s omitted):

* Simple -- find the core of any idea
* Unexpected -- grab people's attention by surprising them
* Concrete -- make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later
* Credible -- give an idea believability
* Emotional -- help people see the importance of an idea
* Stories -- empower people to use an idea through narrative

The book provides many useful examples and anecdotes that make these concepts stand out and become relevant in your own life. In fact, it follows more or less its own prescription, which is one of the reasons why it's such a good read. After going through it I've found myself thinking about making my own writing (and hopefully my Amazon reviews in particular) stickier.

One caveat about the books and works of this kind is the same one that has been at the root of all the criticisms of persuasiveness, from Socrates to this day. Just making ideas sticky and memorable does not make them any more relevant or even true. I can think of many examples of sticky ideas in today's culture and politics, and even in this very book, that have gotten much more attention and credibility because of their stickiness. Ultimately, it is our own responsibility to be alert and vigilant for the discrepancies between flowery rhetoric and the content of the message. This has been one constant throughout the history of our culture and society.
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Really quick--before you have time to think--grab a pen and a pad of yellow sticky notes. Yes, they have to be yellow. Write down the following six principles of memorable messages:

1. Simplicity
2. Unexpectedness
3. Concreteness
4. Credibility
5. Emotional
6. Stories

It's a shame you're not in a bookstore right now--you could just tear the definitions right off of the dust jacket. Never mind. Now give yourself a moment to let your irritation pass at the cuteness of the first letters spelling out "success." There it goes. Not so bad, really. No worse than some of those sales management acronyms.

Now put this sticky note up where you work. And think about it for a day or two. Then read this book. I'm not saying buy it, necessarily. But read it. It will help you make your messages mighty and memorable. Tell people I said so. Yell it at them if you have to.
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on 18 February 2012
I was very impressed with this book. It's not often that a book makes a difference to your business but this has already done that, and I'm only half-way through.

Now, I don't care if the rest of the book was written while Chip and Dan were drunk on 60% Romanian vodka, what I've read so far is brilliant! I was an academic and I am a businessman (Aispire consulting, look us up on Facebook), which is relevant because as an ex-academic I'm in a position to say that the research and writing quality, and the precision of their arguments, is second-to-none. I'm also able to talk about the value this book has had in helping me to explain, crisply and in tight focus, that my business is will help my clients make money. (I'm an also an author - see "Teddy and the Darkgate" here on Amazon - so I appreciate all the hard work these guys must have gone to to make a book that's this detailed.)

Chip and Dan Heath, thank you both.
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on 14 December 2015
I wish this had been on the reading list when I was at university, or during my teacher training. I think it's a must for anyone who shares ideas in their job.
The book embodies the principles it teaches so much that it's hard to put it down. So much inspiration, so much fun, such a great tone — I'll be coming back to this again and again to sharpen my tools.
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