Title: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath
Where You Can Get It: Better World Books has it for $14.99. iTunes has the audio version for $17.95.
In a Sentence: This book is a page-turner that will help you learn to communicate more effectively.
What I Liked About It: This book was all about making ideas “stick”. It was about communicating in such a way that your communication is memorable and inspires behavior. According to the Heath brothers, one a professor at Stanford’s Business School the other a former researcher at the Harvard Business School and the founder of the textbook company Thinkwell, sticky ideas have six components:
Each of these ideas is given a chapter-length treatment in the book. Along the way the authors tell numerous anecdotal stories about teachers, CEOs, preachers, and other leaders that have succeeded (or not) at improving the stickiness of their ideas by utilizing the above principles.
Needless to say there are all sorts of principles in this book that can be applied to public speaking of any kind, and I found many ideas that will be useful for me to keep in mind in my future preaching endeavors.
However, I also found a lot in this book that will be helpful in day-to-day communication with individuals. Prior to reading this book I don’t think I realized how much I (and most people, for that matter) tend to communicate using complex, abstract ideas while assuming that my listener a) knows what I am talking about, and b) defines terms the same way that I do. Both of those assumptions negatively affect communication.
One major takeaway I had from this book is simply that effectively communication is not difficult, but it is not intuitive either. The principles found in this book are not difficult to apply, but if we aren’t conscious of them we won’t apply them, and our communication ability will suffer.
Reading this book was a lot like reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point or Blink in that it relied heavily on counter-intuitive stories that supported the points the author was trying to make. These examples were informative, surprising, entertaining, amusing, and a lot of fun to read.
The second edition of the book ends with specific advice to managers and teachers about how they can communicate more effectively in their respective professions.
What I Didn’t Like: Not much. I loved this book. This was my favorite of the 15 books I’ve read so far in 2010.
Bottom Line: This book was a lot of fun to read, and the principles found in it are immensely valuable. Communication is not only something for managers, pastors, and other leaders, but it is something that all of us need to learn to do more effectively. A few hours spent reading this book will be time well spent.
Rating (out of 5): 5