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Made to Stick

Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

By Chip Heath and Dan Heath
15-minute read
Audio available
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

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.

  • Anyone with an idea to share
  • Anyone interested in why some ideas catch on and others don’t
  • Every film director, advertising executive, NGO worker and so on.

Chip Heath is a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University. He holds a BSc in industrial engineering and a PhD in psychology.

His brother Dan Heath is an academic, consultant and founder of the publishing company Thinkwell, which takes a new, didactic approach to writing textbooks.

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Made to Stick

Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

By Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Synopsis

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.

Key idea 1 of 10

Every idea can be presented so that it sticks.

Great ideas aren’t always successful. Often, even magnificent insights go unrewarded and wind up gathering dust in file cabinets.

At the same time, far less worthy ideas like rumors and urban legends spread like wildfire.

Take, for example, the panic in America regarding adulterated Halloween candy. Millions of parents worried that unknown villains were giving their children candy laced with poison or razor blades.

What they didn’t know was that the story was a baseless urban myth.

But why do stories like this spread so quickly? And why are they so hard to stamp out?

Quite simply, they share two key qualities: they are memorable and people are eager to pass them onward.

By taking advantage of these two principles, any idea can be designed so that it’s sticky and popular.

A few years ago in America, certain health groups wanted to raise awareness of the fact that movie popcorn – at the time prepared with coconut oil – contained extraordinarily high amounts of saturated fat, making it extremely unhealthy.

Simply telling consumers that a bag of popcorn contained 37 g of saturated fat proved ineffective – the number was too dry and academic to stick in people’s minds.

So they tried something stickier:

“A medium-sized ‘butter’ popcorn at a typical neighborhood movie theatre contains more artery-clogging fat than a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, a Big Mac and fries for lunch, and a steak dinner with all the trimmings – combined!”

This vivid message stuck, spread, and eventually led to the replacement of coconut oil with healthier alternatives by all major American cinema chains.

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