Review: Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

The last time I reviewed something, I had a band threatening to throw me a blanket party for saying its CD was a great coffee coaster. Hopefully, this review will go down significantly better…

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die is a quick read filled with a lot of common sense about what makes memorable ideas stick. That being said, common sense isn’t always so common. Why do you remember the story of a man waking up in a bathtub without a kidney, but not the Pythagoras theorem, for example? It’s because the first story has key markers and indicators that crawl and wiggle into your memory like those sneaky vampiric worms from The Strain. In essence, the Heath brothers believe “sticky” ideas can be characterised by the SUCCES acronym:

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credible
  • Emotional
  • Stories

Throughout the chapters, the Chip and Dan break down urban legends and popular stories, utilising case studies and exercises to help identify and improve on the structuring of ideas. I must say that the exercises were a nice touch, as they actually forced you to change your pattern of thinking and see things from a different view.

So, would I recommend the book to anyone working in communications? Absolutely. We deal with ideas and stories every single day, and constantly need to figure out how to tell brand stories in an exciting, creative way. To quote Barry Ronge: “I give it [Made to Stick] a tantalising ten.”

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