I first wrote about Made to Stick: Why ideas survive and others die in March, 2011. I later included the book on a list of paradigm-changing books in 2015.
The notes below are from my 2011 journal. I have been reviewing my journals for blog post ideas, and I thought this would be a good follow-up to the initial book review.
Chapter 1 - Simple
- Have one core message stated at the outset.
- Avoid decision paralysis - don't focus on all options.
- The message should be compact - like proverbs.
- Using existing knowledge, add new information with comparison (new movie ideas are compared to other movies).
- Use metaphors.
Chapter 2 - Unexpected
- Get people's attention (surprise) and keep it (interest).
- Expose the part of your message that is "uncommon sense" (surprise, unexpected, twist).
- Create mystery to sustain attention (for example, wherever there are questions without obvious answers, unexpected journeys).
- Curiosity is created whenever there is a knowledge gap.
- Ideas should be provocative but not paralyzing.
Chapter 3 - Concrete
- Life is not abstract.
- Concrete language helps people, especially novices, understand new concepts.
- Teachers take an existing schema and overlay a new layer of abstraction.
- Concrete is memorable.
- The more concrete the illustration, the better (more memorable). If an idea can connect with multiple areas of mental processing, the more "sticky" it will be.
- Simulation is preferred to illustration.
- Use props because they encourage brainstorming and comprehension.
- Use specific examples rather than abstract statements.
- "What the world needs is more fables."
Chapter 4 - Credible
- Anti-authority - tell stories using real people, situations, and examples.
- Remember the power of details - specific details make a claim real and more believable.
- Translate statistics into meaningful, understandable units (1 out of 3 people in the U.S. vs 100,000,000 people in the U.S.).
Chapter 5 - Emotional
- Focus on the individual - not the population.
- When presented with charitable needs in Africa, people who read statistics gave less than those who read about a specific child.
- Feeling and calculating are processed differently with different behaviors.
- Semantic stretch occurs when an idea is overused (the word "unique" is no longer special).
- Get self-interest into every headline or presentation. Spell out the benefit of the benefit.
- WIIFY = What's in it for you?
- If people can imagine themselves doing something, they are more likely to actually do it.
Chapter 6 - Stories
- Stories provide simulation (knowledge about how to act) and inspiration (motivation to act).
- Stories let the audience mentally test how they would react - the audience is not passive.
- Simulating past events is more helpful than predicting outcomes.
- Mental practice done when visualizing a task from start to finish improves performance significantly.
- Mental practice produced two-thirds of the benefits of actual physical practice.
- Stores put knowledge into a framework that is life-life.
- "We must fight against the temptation to skip directly to the 'tips' and leave out the story."
- Always be looking for stories to illustrate your content.
- In a study, 63% of participants remembers stories, but only 5% statistics.
If you found this summary to be informative, I encourage you to buy the book and create your own notes.