Book Review & Discussion : Made to Stick

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Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

About this Event

In this event, you’ll learn

  • Why good ideas must be cut down to one simple statement
  • What question you should ask yourself every single time before opening your mouth
  • Three ways to make your stories credible
  • How emotions trump facts every time when making people want to take action
  • Why “What’s in it for me?” is an important question to answer to get people to do things
  • What the six-letter acronym SUCCES stands for when making ideas stick

About the Author

Chip Heath is a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, teaching courses on strategy and organizations. He has helped over 450 startups hone their business strategy and messages. He lives in Los Gatos, California.

Dan Heath is a senior fellow at Duke University’s CASE center, which supports entrepreneurs fighting for social good. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Together, Chip and Dan have written three New York Times bestselling books: Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive. Their books have sold over two million copies worldwide and have been translated into thirty-three languages, including Thai, Arabic, and Lithuanian. Their most recent book is The Power of Moments.


The SUCCESs Principle of stickiness:

  • Simplicity
  • Unexpectedness
  • Concreteness
  • Credibility
  • Emotional
  • Story

“This is the Curse of Knowledge. Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. Our knowledge has “cursed” us. And it becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others, because we can’t readily re-create our listeners’ state of mind.”

What makes an idea psychologically sticky? The answer is SUCCESs. Made to Stick distills years of research and communication science into an easy-to-remember mnemonic and blueprint for creating ‘sticky ideas’; ideas that get understood, remembered and that change something – minds or behaviours. And in doing so, authors Chip and Dan Heath offer an evidence-led deep-dive into the murky middle section of Malcolm Gladwell’s hit on how hits happen – The Tipping Point – ‘the Stickiness Factor’.

Made to Stick, with its sticky SUCCESs mnemonic, is a great read that’s full of great advice for innovators and communicators more interested in practice than theory. The over-arching theme is that we need to cure the ‘curse of knowledge’ when communicating our ideas (whether concepts, strategies or ads); we know what we mean but others often don’t. The authors demonstrate this vividly with “the tap test”. If you tap out the tune to a universally known song (like ‘Happy Birthday’ on a table to a room of people, you’d probably guess that 50% of them would guess the tune. You’d be wrong – only 1 in 40 would get it. You know the tune, because you’re mentally humming it – you are cursed with knowledge of the tune – which results in non- or mis-communication. It’s a point well made – marketing jargon gets in the way of marketing – internally and externally. To that end, we’re going to ensure our product concepts are all SUCCESs-ful.

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