Made to Stick

Made to Stick

Aug 25, 2018

How many times have you explained an idea or thought to someone and they didn’t quite get what you were saying? Or they didn’t remember what you excitedly told them just the other day? On the flip side, ever listened to someone be it one-on-one, in a small meeting, or large conference and thought “wtf are they saying?” or “hmmm seems interesting, but I’m probably going to forget this later”?

I’ve had these thoughts, but I’ve also been in situations where I’ve wondered:

  • How could I speak about my literacy app or the Harem Spelling Bee in a way that moves and spurs others to action?
  • How could I teach my students and deliver lessons in a way that they’ll remember beyond the quiz (that they love so much)

Wanting to learn how to make my thoughts/ideas/messages stick in the minds of those to whom I’m speaking, I picked up Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. They came up with this SUCCESs framework for ensuring your ideas are sticky, meaningful, and moving.

Here's what the acronym stands for:

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Credible
  • Concrete
  • Emotional
  • Story
  • s (this letter actually doesn’t stand for anything; it just completes the word “success” and makes it easy to remember — go figure.

After reading this book, I'm much more conscious of how to make my thoughts and ideas make more of an impact. I'll probably have follow-up blog posts where I actually complete the SUCCESs framework and share how it went.

Ready to get this book? If so, buy it below and happy reading! Reach out to me when you're done so we can talk about it.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. So if you use the link above to buy Made to Stick, I'll get a little something something. Thanks, in advance — you da real MVP.

If you're not sold yet, read some of this book's excerpts below to get a better feel for it. Subscribe to my mailing list and you’ll receive the entire list of excerpts (over 275 of them) below for this book and future books (at least two to four books a month), on top of other useful and motivating info.

  • As we pored over hundreds of sticky ideas, we saw, over and over, the same six principles at work.
  • We must create ideas that are both simple and profound. The Golden Rule is the ultimate model of simplicity: a one-sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning to follow it.
  • How do we get our audience to pay attention to our ideas, and how do we maintain their interest when we need time to get the ideas across?
  • We need to violate people’s expectations. We need to be counterintuitive.
  • We can use surprise—an emotion whose function is to increase alertness and cause focus—to grab people’s attention. But surprise doesn’t last. For our idea to endure, we must generate interest and curiosity.
  • How do we make our ideas clear? We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions, in terms of sensory information.
  • Naturally sticky ideas are full of concrete images—ice-filled bathtubs, apples with razors—because our brains are wired to remember concrete data.
  • Speaking concretely is the only way to ensure that our idea will mean the same thing to everyone in our audience.
  • We need ways to help people test our ideas for themselves—a “try before you buy” philosophy for the world of ideas. When we’re trying to build a case for something, most of us instinctively grasp for hard numbers. But in many cases this is exactly the wrong approach.
  • How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel something.
  • Research shows that people are more likely to make a charitable gift to a single needy individual than to an entire impoverished region. We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions. Sometimes the hard part is finding the right emotion to harness.
  • How do we get people to act on our ideas? We tell stories.
  • Research shows that mentally rehearsing a situation helps us perform better when we encounter that situation in the physical environment. Similarly, hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight simulator, preparing us to respond more quickly and effectively.
  • Those are the six principles of successful ideas. To summarize, here’s our checklist for creating a successful idea: a Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Story. A clever observer will note that this sentence can be compacted into the acronym SUCCESs.
  • 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.
  • You can’t unlearn what you already know. There are, in fact, only two ways to beat the Curse of Knowledge reliably. The first is not to learn anything. The second is to take your ideas and transform them.
  • If you want to spread your ideas to other people, you should work within the confines of the rules that have allowed other ideas to succeed over time. You want to invent new ideas, not new rules.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. So if you use the link above to buy Made to Stick, I'll get a little something something. Thanks, in advance — you da real MVP.

Leave your comments below — I’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts on the excerpts/this book? Going to read it? Any questions or comments about this post? I respond to each and every comment so I'm looking forward to hearing from ya!