Jul 5, 2010

Book Review: Made to Stick

My Recommendation: Must Buy

Made to Stick is a best-selling book by 'Chip & Dan Heath'. This book is for everyone who wants to communicate better in a manner that the audience understands and remembers their message. This book is a must read for people in Marketing, Advertising, Teaching & Public Speaking. It is an outcome of decades of research by the two Heath brothers and it is their first book.

Objective of the book: The authors say: "We wrote this book to help you make your ideas stick. By "stick" we mean that your ideas are understood and remembered, and have a lasting impact - they change your audience's opinions or behavior."

Yes, we all want to make others understand what we are saying. We all want to make our messages sticky. Companies want their advertisements to be remembered. CEOs want their speeches to be remembered and acted upon by the employees. But how?

This book shares 6 principles which you can easily use to make your message 'sticky'. These 6 principles are:







The authors argue, and pretty successfully, that an idea which has some or all of these 6 characteristics will be more sticky; will be remembered more. The message needs to be:

Simple - If you say 3 things, you say nothing. We cannot remember so many things so strip the message to its core.

Unexpected - When something unexpected happends our attention level goes up. We listen to every word that is being said and hence end up remembering it better.

Concrete - Abstract ideas are hard to remember and act upon.

Credible - If your message is not credible, how can it be taken seriously and remembered? Add that element of credibility to your message and more people will do what you say.

Emotions - To make people act on your message you need to make them to care. Emotions make people care, not numbers and logic.

Stories - Credibility makes people believe you, emotions make
people care but to make people act you need to tell a story. Stories inspire, stories entertain. Construct a story to add punch to your messages.

In short, this is how the 6 principles work.

Make people pay attention (unexpectedness) -> make it easy to understand and remember (concreteness)-> make people agree / believe (credibility) -> make them care (emotions) -> get them to act on your message (stories)

This book is not just theory. It is full of real examples of messages which have stuck, messages which people remember and which have changed people's behaviour. It is easy to read and easy to apply.