Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Random House,  October 2008

What Sticks?

Whether you're a CEO or a full-time mom, you've got the ideas that you need to communicate: a new product coming to the market, a strategy you want to sell your boss, values you are trying to instill in your children.  But it's hard -- fiendishly so -- to transform the way people think and act.

In this book, you'll learn the six key qualities of an idea that is made to stick:

  • Simplicity: How do you strip an idea to its core without turning it into a silly sound byte? See how Army commanders force simplicity into their battle plans -- page 25.
  • Unexpectedness: How do you capture people's attention . . . and hold it? See how Nordstrom managers shock new employees into embracing high customer service standards -- page 73.
  • Concreteness: How do you help people understand your idea and remember it much later? See how an elementary-school teacher cured her students of racial prejudice -- page 111.
  • Credibility: How do you get people to believe your idea? See how NBA coaches engineered an experience that made the dangers of AIDS more palpable to their players -- page 162.
  • Emotional: How do you get people to care about your idea? See how Texas persuaded truck-driving young men to stop littering -- page 195.
  • Stories: How do you get people to act on your idea? See how the Jared campaign for Subway became a huge hit, against the wishes of the top Subway marketers -- page 218.
New Sections:
  • Advice for managers: How to weave strategy into your work team's day-to-day conversation. Learn to avoid the three barriers that kill communication at work.
  • Advice for teachers: How to make your lessons stick with students. Discover the stickiest methods of world-class teachers.
  • Advice for anyone: Can you unstick a sticky idea? The answer begins with a study of World War II rumor-fighting.

Mark Twain once observed, "A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on." His observation rings true: Urban legends conspiracy theories, and bogus public-health scares circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas -- businesspeople, teachers, politicians, journalists, and others -- struggle to make their ideas "stick."

Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the "human scale principle," using the "Velcro Theory of Memory," and creating "curiosity gaps."

In this indispensable guide, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds -- from the infamous "kidney-theft ring" hoax to a coach's lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony -- draw their power from the same six traits.

Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. It's a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures): the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of the "Mother Teresa Effect"; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas -- and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.

hardcover | ISBN: 9781400064281 | Publication Date: October 2008