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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.
0Comment| 70 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment| 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment| 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 September 2008
I really wanted to like this book, I'd heard good things about it. But for me, it fails to deliver. The authors identify a number of traits that make ideas 'sticky', but then spend way too much space on each of these areas without adding much value. Most of the content seemed to either be common sense or a repeat of anecdotes, stories and obsevations that you'll have seen (or at least something similar) in other books or magazines. I really had to work to get to the end of this one.

Read it by all means, just don't expect anything too insightful or you'll be disappointed, I was.
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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.
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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 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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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 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.
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