I just finished reading Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip & Dan Heath. If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point then you should find this interesting too. In it the authors look at why some ideas/concepts/stories “stick” and others don’t. They tie it to a lot of things, from urban legends (waking up in a tub of ice with your kidneys gone) to marketing campaigns (Subway’s Jared) to proverbs (a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush). That bird proverb has been around for thousands of years – like into the thousands B.C. Why do ideas like that work? The authors identify a few things that make for good communication of ideas/concepts, and they boil it down to this acronym:
Yes, I know it’s spelled wrong. But it works okay. I remember it. They stay that for ideas to stick they should incorporate as many of these elements as possible: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotion, and Stories. Each element gets its own chapter as they authors expand on the usefulness of each of them and ways to use it.
I’ve read a lot of books that I found interesting but not terribly practical. This book is not like that. The authors offer all sorts of ways to help you incorporate the ideas into your own endeavors. As someone who does a lot of communicating I found the book intensely useful and will certainly be looking to use its ideas throughout my career. It will seriously help you out. Read it and consider it an investment in yourself, no matter what your career is. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read re: communication of ideas, and I’ve read a lot.