Made to Stick

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Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Take Hold and Others Come Unstuck

I can’t recall why I picked up this book, most likely a recommendation from the same sources through which I discovered The Tipping Point (which itself inspired this book), but I’ve been dipping in and out of it for a while and finally finished it this weekend. That’s an indication of my reading habits recently, not any reflection on the quality of this book.

Whilst most would regard this as a business focussed book it, like Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, is more about the ideas than their application. That said there are plenty of concrete examples given to reaffirm the basic premise of the book, that there are six key qualities that make an idea “sticky”:

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

It’s a fascinating read, including some well-known ideas (JFK’s “Put a man on the moon in 10 years”), throughout which several thoughts sparked in my brain as I started to connect some of the key qualities in a sticky idea with our profession. After all, what better way to make sure people get the most out of the information you provide than to make it sticky?!

Of course there are some parts of the book which, whilst interesting, can’t really be applied directly but I was amazed that, with a little bit of creative spin, you could probably adapt most of the ideas within to make your content stickier.

Made to Stick is very much one of those books which hold some simple truths which are well stated and analysed. Throughout the book there are many examples, so getting a handle on what each of the six qualities brings to the table is easy, and to be honest a lot of what is said you probably already know you just don’t know how to pull it all together.

There are some excerpts on the book’s website and if you enjoyed The Tipping Point then give it a look.