Made to Stick explains why some ideas become popular, while others wither and die.
The book lays out the most important characteristics of “stickiness”; that is, what makes ideas “stick” in the mind, and how to make them work for you.
It’s tempting to try to explain an idea as thoroughly as possible. But, when it comes to stickiness, too much detail is counterproductive.
Instead, cut the idea down to just one simple statement; any more detail will be instantly forgotten, along with the key idea behind it all. A simple statement makes an idea easier to grasp and understand.
This doesn’t mean an idea should be dumbed down unnecessarily – the art of simplifying is to encapsulate the core idea in terms that anyone can understand, without changing the meaning. Although this can be surprisingly tricky, it makes for sticky ideas.
Journalists have to master this skill to come up with good headlines that grab readers’ attention and convey the meaning of an entire article in just a few words. Journalists know a bad headline can prevent a great article from getting the attention it deserves.
A great example from the business world is Southwest Airlines’ slogan “THE Low Fare Airline.”
A catchy statement like this will stick. A complex comparative breakdown of their prices would be instantly forgotten and fail to make an impression.