Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die – Chip and Dan Heath

Simple Unexpected Concrete Credible Emotional Stories.

Chip and Dan Heath’s Made to Stick examines the six traits that make ideas “stick” in our brains. It’s not just about knowing why you remember some things better than others, but also learning how to spread your own ideas more easily among the right people.

Although I found the book quite repetitive, the main point I learned was that for an idea to stick – for it to be useful and lasting – it’s got to make the audience pay attention, understand and remember it, agree and believe, care, and be able to act on it.


  1. Are ideas born interesting or made interesting?
  2. By “stick,” we mean that your ideas are understood and remembered, and have a lasting impact – they change your audience’s opinions or behavior.
  3. If you have to tell someone the same thing ten times, the idea probably wasn’t very well designed.
  4. To strip an idea down to its core, we must be masters of exclusion.
  5. We need ways to help people test our ideas for themselves – a “try before you buy” philosophy for the world of ideas.
  6. How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel something.
  7. What we mean by “simple” is finding the core of the idea.
  8. Priortization rescues people from the quicksand of decision angst, and that’s why finding the core is so valuable.
  9. Top management can know that the priorities are but be completely ineffective in sharing and achieving those priorities.
  10. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  11. Ideas that are compact enough to be sticky and meaningful enough to make a difference.
  12. 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.
  13. The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern. Humans adapt incredibly quickly to consistent patterns.
  14. Our messages are usually complex enough that we won’t succeed if we can’t keep people’s attention.
  15. Surprise jolts us to attention. Surprise is triggered when our schemas fail, and it prepares us to understand why the failure occurred.
  16. Surprise can prompt us to hunt for underlying causes, to imagine other possibilities, to figure out how to avoid surprises int he future.
  17. Identify the central message you need to communicate – find the core.
  18. Figure out what is counterintuitive about the message.
  19. Communicate your message in a way that breaks your audience’s guessing machines along the critical, counterintuitive dimension. Then, once their guessing machines have failed, help them refine their machines.
  20. The best way to get people’s attention is to break their existing schemas directly.
  21. Mystery is created not from an unexpected moment but from an unexpected journey. We know where we’re headed – we want to solve the mystery – but we’re not sure how we’ll get there.
  22. To take away the pain, we need to fill the knowledge gap.
  23. If curiosity arises from knowledge gaps, we might assume that when we know more, we’ll become less curious because there are fewer gaps in our knowledge.
  24. Concreteness is an indispensable component of sticky ideas.
  25. We forget that other people don’t know what we know.
  26. We’re the engineers who keep flipping back to our drawings, not noticing that the assemblers just want us to follow them down to the factory floor.
  27. If we’re trying to persuade a skeptical audience to believe a new message, the reality is that we’re fighting an uphill battle against a lifetime of personal learning and social relationships.
  28. The takeaway is that it can be the honest and trust worthniess of our sources, not their status, that allows them to act as authorities. Sometimes antiauthorities are even better than authorities.
  29. When it comes to statistics, our best advice is to use them as input, not output.
  30. Are you better off now than you were four years ago?
  31. The researchers theorized that thinking about statistics shifts people into a more analytical fame of mind. When people think analytical, they’re less likely to think emotionally.
  32. Feelings inspire people to act.
  33. Spell out the benefit of the benefit.
  34. What’s in it for me?
  35. Self-interest shapes what we pay attention to, even if it doesn’t dictate our stance.
  36. Three strategies for making people care: using associations (or avoiding associations, as the case may be), appealing be self-interest, and appealing to identity.
  37. What is it you do that is unique?
  38. A credible idea makes people believe. An emotional idea makes people care.
  39. Insipration drives action, as does stimulation.
  40. Don’t ignore the little voice… instead, work in harmony with it. Engage it by giving it something to do. Tell a story in a way that elicits a second story from the little voice.
  41. If a strategy is common sense, don’t waste your time communicating it. It’s critical for leaders to identify the uncommon sense in their strategies.
  42. Tell stories. A good story is better than abstract strategy statement.
  43. Fight sticky ideas with stickier ideas.
Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it.
*I take no credit for any of these points.

Recommend me a book

No horror books, please!!