Book Summary – Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (Part 1)

Based on 10 years of study, the book answers the question “why some ideas succeed while others die”, and provides a practical and systematic way to create ideas that are understood, remembered, and have a long-term impact.  In Part 1 of this summary, we’ll briefly outline the 6 principles to identifying and creating sticky ideas. In Part 2 of this summary, we explain how to put it together to drive successful strategies.

Do check out our full book summary bundle  or read the book for tons for powerful examples and specific tips on how to create sticky messages!

Summary Bundle_Made to Stick

THE SUCCESs PRINCIPLES

A sticky idea is one that is understandable, memorable, and actually changes perspectives or behaviours. Not all ideas are “stick-worthy”, though it is possible to systematically create sticky ideas, or to learn to spot ideas with potential.

After studying a wide range of ideas and how they are communicated, the Heath Brothers identified 6 principles (SUCCESs) that can be applied as a template or checklist to shape or test any idea for stickiness. The book also addresses barriers to application and how to overcome them with the SUCCESs principles:

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1) SIMPLICITY : FINDING THE CORE

Simplicity is not just about using fewer words, shorter phrases or sound bites. It is about:
• Finding the essential core of our ideas; and
• Sharing it in a form of a compact idea

Simple = Core + Compact

For an idea to be compact, there must be a lot of meaning packed into a succinct message, e.g. the simple but powerful proverb “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Heath brothers outline several tools and techniques that you can use to create compact communications (e.g. using flags, high-concept pitch, analogies etc.). Get more details from our book summary or read the book.

2) UNEXPECTEDNESS: GETTING THE AUDIENCE’S ATTENTION AND SUSTAINED INTEREST

There are 2 parts to this principle:
Get Attention through the emotion of Surprise
Keep Attention through the emotion of Interest

In the book, the authors elaborate on effective techniques that can be used to create surprise and sustain interest e.g. using mysteries, the gap theory etc.

3) CONCRETENESS: MAKING OUR IDEAS CLEAR

Experts tend to get more abstract because they have so much knowledge, they tend to see the patterns and insights between details, rather than the concrete details per se. Abstract ideas are hard to understand and remember, and are open to different interpretation.

To help people understand and remember, we must make our ideas clear and concrete. Give a concrete context, provide memory hooks and create a “universal language” that everyone can speak fluently (more details in our book summary and the book).

4) CREDIBILITY: MAKING PEOPLE BELIEVE OUR IDEAS

People generally believe ideas under the influence of family, personal experiences, faith, or authorities. However we can also build credibility into our ideas, using both external and internal sources of credibility.  The Heath Brothers explain this in details, including how to use convincing details, statistics, the human-scale principle, Sinatra Test etc. to make our ideas believable.

Recap and review the SUCCESs principles at a glance with our book summary & infographic!

5) EMOTIONS: GETTING PEOPLE TO CARE ABOUT OUR IDEA

For people to take action, they first have to care. The book covers several techniques to make people care, such as focusing on the individual (not masses), using associations, appealing to self-interest, and appealing to identity.

6) STORIES: GETTING PEOPLE TO ACT ON OUR IDEAS

Stories can be powerful in providing:
Simulation (knowledge on how to act); and
Inspiration (motivation to take action)

Find out from the book how to help your audience to rehearse a scenario mentally in their minds, hence preparing them to take the desired actions.  You can also learn the right stories or plot to use to motivate them to take action.

Here’s a quick recap of the 6 SUCCESs principles:Made to stick_SUCCESs principles

How do we put everything together? In Part 2 of this summary, we will explain that.  If you’re loving the ideas from this summary, then get the full details by getting a copy of the book Made to Stick from Amazon.com now or get a copy of our audio, text and graphic book summary!

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Create more impact with your messages – check out these useful links below:

Click here to download the “Made to Stick” book summary and infographic.

Click here to order the book online.

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