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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck
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on 14 July 2016
I believe this book should be compulsory reading for every educator. Indeed I will go a step further – I think it may well be more useful to us than any single book on teaching.
The book is about effective and persuasive communication. The Heath brothers start with the Q: ‘Why is it that some ideas are so memorable?’ A: Six key elements [SUCCES]: i) Simplicity (Keep it simple!) ii) Unexpectedness (Surprise = retention!) iii) Concreteness (Avoid abstract or ‘deep’ messages) iv) Credible (Is it believable?) v) Emotions (It is emotion, not reason that makes people act!) vi) Story (The most memorable messages are in the form of a story).
In analysing these elements they explain all kinds of interesting notions, such as ‘the curse of knowledge’ (p. 19). What would happen if you were to tap your finger to the rhythm of a well-known song without actually humming it? Would people be able to guess it? 50% of respondents said ‘Yes’. Incredibly, the actual number was 2.5%!! It is exactly the same when we try to communicate a message – we think others understand, but very often they don’t! (Moral: check that your students have really understood what you have told them or what they have to do. Get feedback as much as possible!)
Heath & Heath go on to stress the importance of ‘curiosity’ (pp. 84 – 87). This is the technique that soap operas, cinema trailers and some gifted presenters use to hook the readers/listeners’ interest. (Moral: Whether it is the contents of a text, or the lesson, it pays not to tell students everything up front. We can excite their curiosity even about mundane things.)
A surprising research finding on p. 89 is of great importance to us; Q: Which is better: consensus-building activities or ones encouraging heated debate? A: The latter! In a controlled study, 18% of students who had done a consensus-type activity chose to watch a short film about the topic, but the number rose to 45% among those who had engaged in a debate! (Moral: use more debates to get students worked up so they are motivated to find out more about the subject under discussion!)
The two brothers also give us a host of useful tips on how to make our presentations / articles interesting (which is of course of immense value for students / adult learners). Here are a few research-supported findings: a) avoid obscure language (p. 106) b) including details makes your argument more convincing (p. 139) c) ‘translate’ statistics down to the human scale (the human brain cannot make sense of huge numbers! – p. 144).
Above all however, remember to use stories. Human beings are wired for story. As somebody once so memorably put it: ‘Facts tell – stories sell!’
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4 people found this helpful
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on 11 December 2016
The first half of the book is great, and the analogies used make it easy to understand but I found that around 2/3rds into the book there was a lot of repeating the same principles over again. I found also that there were just too many case studies and not enought narrative from the authors. Kind of like the authors didn't have enough to fill a book with their ideas so fleshed out the rest of the pages with examples. This could have been a shorter book which would have kept the readers attention better.
2 people found this helpful
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on 30 August 2016
I am a subject matter expert who often has to write presentations for senior management. Having suffered from the problem of trying to simplify my communications and having read lots of books about communications, I was recommended to read this book. I found it excellent. At first I was sceptical that simplification meant dumbing down, but right away it started to explain how to create proverbs that are both simple and profound and the use of analogies to expand on what he audience already know. A very useful book full of practical advice and examples.
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on 10 July 2016
I am very dissapointed with this book. It's boring and way too long. I have considered quitting reading after 100 pages but because of the respect towards time spent, I have continued. It is full of boring stories. It lacks compelling action steps. You will remember that there are some SUCCES prnciples (simple, unexpected, etc.), but you will forget about it in couple of days. Paradoxically, the content of "Made to stick" is made to forget.
One person found this helpful
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on 2 December 2015
I've got a technical background and, although I'm a good writer, I always had trouble understanding how to use stories without it feeling like a manipulative device. This book was a great read, and explains - with research - the psychology around the reason for using stories in communication in a pragmatic way that I can understand and appreciate. It has already changed both my writing and teaching for the better and I've only just finished it.
2 people found this helpful
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on 17 May 2015
I love this book. I'd recommend it to anyone who works in sales, marketing, social media, education, management or ANY field which involves imparting information to other people. Walks through 5-6 key concepts which build to a comprehensive understanding of the topic. Can't imagine anyone in the fields I mentioned buying this book and not finding something interesting and useful to take away from it.
One person found this helpful
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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.
2 people found this helpful
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on 20 September 2017
One of the best books I have ever read. To the point but incredibly powerful. A must read for marketing and entrepreneurs.
One person found this helpful
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on 2 November 2014
Not quite up to the brilliance of Switch, but still it is a cracking read. As with all the Heath books, it presents interesting concepts with a clear and memorable sequence of narratives and anecdotes. Useful for teachers looking for an angle on their professional reflection that is new and slightly different to the usual professional development fare.
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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.
One person found this helpful
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