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Review of Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

This is a book review of Chip Heath and Dan Heath’s Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.

Why is it that urban legends, conspiracy theories, and public health scares can reach the other side of the world; while most businesses, teachers, and public speakers cannot get their ideas to reach a person two feet in front of them? The answer lies in Made to Stick.

Everyday we get pounded with information from people. Most of it slips straight off us like food sliding off Teflon. “What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients,” said Herbert Simon, winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Economics. “Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”

Chip Heath and Dan Heath’s Made to Stick shows you how to grab people’s attention in an information rich economy, get your ideas through, and make the message stick with a simple formula. The two authors use their first of six principles, “Simplicity”, in their stickiness formula by making their six principles form an acronym SUCCESs:

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

Reading a book about sticky ideas makes you hope the authors’ make their own principles sticky. The Heaths use what they teach. Each principle contains real-life, and not so real, examples of ideas stuck in people’s minds. The stories used are entertaining. Most notable is the urban legend of Kidney thieves.

While Chip Heath is a Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and Dan Heath has conducted research for Harvard Business School, they don’t throw technical information at you – that would break their principles. Their book embodies entertaining and practical stories. They also provide you with exercises, and allow you to compare your answers with their answers, to practice the principles.

…grab people’s attention in an information rich economy, get your ideas through, and make the message stick…

Teachers, public speakers, marketers, authors – anyone interested in improving their business communication – needs to read Made to Stick. The book’s ideas focus around the Curse of Knowledge, a principle that explains why experts fail to make their ideas stick in students’ minds. Business managers fall into the trap of thinking they have successfully presented their proposal, or convinced people to buy into their idea, when they finish a PowerPoint presentation. “What they’ve done is share data”, says the authors. Expressing your thoughts is one thing; it is an another thing to convince people and have them remember your words.

I purchased the book to help me better communicate the communication skills I teach in books and articles, but I found how important it is to use as much of the SUCCESs formula in your everyday conversations. Over the past few weeks, I realize how most charismatic and persuasive persons naturally use the SUCCESs formula.

If you want you, and your ideas, to be remembered in conversations and presentations, then the New York Times Best Seller Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die is the book you need. Grab your copy now from Amazon by clicking here.

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Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

Joshua Uebergang, aka "Tower of Power", teaches social skills to help shy guys build friends and influence people. Visit his blog and sign-up free to get communication techniques, relationship-boosting strategies, and life-building tips by email, along with blog updates, and more! Go now to


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