Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Book review: Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

"Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Thrive and Others Die"

Chip is a professor at Stanford University. Dan is a consultant to Aspen Institute, a former researcher for Harvard, and co-founder of Thinkwell. These guys are pretty smart cookies.

Great quote from the book, "Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire." William Yeats

This book is so full of brilliant concepts and great stories that it's a bit overwhelming. The general concept of the book is my favourite aspect of it. Some things stick easier than others. The qualities that make them stick are not good or bad, they just are. So, if we have ideas we want to be sticky (for business or church or family) we ought to learn these principles and apply them.

What makes an idea sticky?

1. Simple - it needs to be communicated in a way that is easy to grasp. Complicated things are hard to get and easy to forget.

2. Unexpectedness - people are drawn in by surprise.

3. Concreteness - so many of our ideas are presented in abstract ways. Unless you can show it to me and help me see what it looks like in tangible ways, I am not likely to grasp or remember it.

4. Credible - a lot of ideas are true but are presented in credible ways and so people believe them. If we have an idea that is true but do not present it in a way that is credible, it will not be very sticky.

5. Emotional - Do we even care? If we can't get people to  weigh in emotionally, they will simply not remember.

6. Story - stories are far better than statistics when it comes to being sticky. Jesus was a master story teller. Come to think of it, Jesus’ teaching was sticky in all of the above ways. He was and is the best Teacher of human history.

This material is awesome for teachers, marketers, churches and businesses. Their upcoming book, "Switch", on change, is also phenomenal (even better in my view) but has not been released yet (I got a pre-release copy and we were asked not to blog about it yet). I hope to blog more about it after it comes out.