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Made to Stick – Simple Stories Spread Best

Made to Stick Summary

Authors: Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Why Some Ideas Survive and Others DieGoodreads Link

🥦 Impressions

This book is full of actionable lessons on how to share information clearly and so that it spreads.

If you can learn effective ways to bring an idea to life, you have access to a world full of brilliant new concepts and inspiring stories. Read this book to build up an arsenal of powerful stories.


To make your ideas stickier first simplify the message to the core components. Then figure out the unexpected implications of the message and why people don’t already know this / do this / pay attention. Lastly utilize stories to get your point across, because they act as mental flight simulators for the idea you want to transport.

Who should read / watch / listen to it

This book isn’t just for marketers, but for anyone who has to communicate ideas to other people. The examples and stories make it easy to walk away with a stack of new information and call upon it in the future.

💬 Top 3 Quotes

1) The power of removing the unnecessary

The French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once offered a definition of engineering elegance:
“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
A designer of simple ideas should aspire to the same goal: knowing how much can be wrung out of an idea before it begins to lose its essence.

2) Learning to spot great ideas > creative genius

In the Introduction, we debunked the common assumption that you need natural creative genius to cook up a great idea. You don’t. But, beyond that, it’s crucial to realize that creation, period, is unnecessary. Think of the ideas in this book that were spotted rather than created… If you’re a great spotter, you’ll always trump a great creator. Why? Because the world will always produce more great ideas than any single individual, even the most creative one.

3) Teaching students the incredible power of math

I then go on to remind them that people don’t lift weights so that they will be prepared should, one day, [someone] knock them over on the street and lay a barbell across their chests.
You lift weights so that you can knock over a defensive lineman, or carry your groceries or lift your grandchildren without being sore the next day.
You do math exercises so that you can improve your ability to think logically, so that you can be a better lawyer, doctor, architect, prison warden or parent. MATH IS MENTAL WEIGHT TRAINING. It is a means to an end (for most people), not an end in itself.

The Power (and Danger) of Accumulated Knowledge

“Curiosity happens when we feel a gap in our knowledge.”

The best stories and writing bring you along by introducing a question and then delaying the answer to that question.

The book breaks down the two ways to make this happen – first you can create a gap, which means offering some context or introduction of a character or situation.

An easier method for this is to fill an existing gap in the mind of your audience. If all your friends are asking what it means that Bruce Willis has aphasia… then this definition is going to interest you:

What fascinates me is that as you learn more you discover more and more gaps between what you know. Once you understand how plastic parts are made, you might wonder how your phone case got such a shiny surface.

The greater your knowledge, the more curious you become. So be careful!