Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

The Heath brothers’ pithy, readable book spells out their well-researched common-sense formula for that elusive American ideal—success. Taking examples like a story from a neonatal unit about a nurse armed with only a stethoscope who saved a dying baby, to Subway’s ad campaign about Jared, the 425-pound college kid who ate subs to get slim, Made to Stick unpacks the principles behind sticky ideas. The acronym SUCCESs spells out the formula (simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories), but the fun is in discovering the sheer genius of their everyday advice. Learning to spot, hone and deliver a great idea is something anyone can do, and according to this book, teachers, CEOs, inventors, salespeople and anyone else who communicates for a living can benefit. A high school journalism teacher’s tip on how not to “bury the lead” comes to life in the context of memorable anecdotes and asides. I even found myself writing this review with a new eye for detail, and a fresh awareness of the power of words.