Book Notes: Made To Stick by Chip & Dan Heath


Made To Stick

What is really great about the Kindle is the ability to take notes right on the device.  So instead of doing a traditional book review I’m going to share the notes I took from the book.  So below are the notes from Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath.

How do we find the essential core of our ideas? A successful defense lawyer says, “If you argue ten points, even if each is a good point, when they get back to the jury room they won’t remember any.”

Research shows that mentally rehearsing a situation helps us perform better when we encounter that situation in the physical environment.

There are two steps in making your ideas sticky—Step 1 is to find the core, and Step 2 is to translate the core using the SUCCESs checklist. That’s it.

We’ve seen that compact ideas are stickier, but that compact ideas alone aren’t valuable—only ideas with profound compactness are valuable. So, to make a profound idea compact you’ve got to pack a lot of meaning into a little bit of messaging. And how do you do that? You use flags. You tap the existing memory terrain of your audience. You use what’s already there.

People are tempted to tell you everything, with perfect accuracy, right up front, when they should be giving you just enough info to be useful, then a little more, then a little more.

Proverbs are the Holy Grail of simplicity. Coming up with a short, compact phrase is easy. Anybody can do it. On the other hand, coming up with a profound compact phrase is incredibly difficult. What we’ve tried to show in this chapter is that the effort is worth it—that “finding the core,” and expressing it in the form of a compact idea, can be enduringly powerful.

A third way to develop internal credibility is to use a particular type of example, an example that passes what we call the Sinatra Test.

Mother Teresa once said, “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.”

The most basic way to make people care is to form an association between something they don’t yet care about and something they do care about.

Lee realizes that serving food is a job, but improving morale is a mission. Improving morale involves creativity and experimentation and mastery. Serving food involves a ladle.

Stories have the amazing dual power to simulate and to inspire. And most of the time we don’t even have to use much creativity to harness these powers—we just need to be ready to spot the good ones that life generates every day.

Ultimately, the test of our success as idea creators isn’t whether people mimic our exact words, it’s whether we achieve our goals.

If you’re a great spotter, you’ll always trump a great creator. Why? Because the world will always produce more great ideas than any single individual, even the most creative one.

So, rather than guess about whether people will understand our ideas, we should ask, “Is it concrete?” Rather than speculate about whether people will care, we should ask, “Is it emotional? Does it get out of Maslow’s basement? Does it force people to put on an Analytical Hat or allow them to feel empathy?”

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