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Publisher's Summary

Mark Twain once observed, "A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on." His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus public-health scares circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas (business people, teachers, politicians, journalists, and others) struggle to make their ideas "stick".

Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the "human scale principle", using the "Velcro Theory of Memory", and creating "curiosity gaps".

In this indispensable guide, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds (from the infamous "kidney theft ring" hoax to a coach's lessons on sportsmanship, to a new-product vision at Sony) draw their power from the same six traits.

Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. It includes a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures), such as the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass full of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers, the charities who make use of "the Mother Teresa Effect", and the elementary school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.

©2006 Chip Heath and Dan Heath (P)2007 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"An entertaining, practical guide to effective communication. Fun...and solidly researched." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Jeremy
  • St Paul, MN, USA
  • 09-05-09

Even Better The Second Time

As soon as i finished this book, i started over from the beginning, just to appreciate and learn from it's use of the ideas it teaches.

The writers suggest that for an idea to be sticky, it should follow these 6 princples:

1. Simple
2. Unexpected
3. Concrete
4. Credible
5. Emotional
6. Stories

And there is no better way to sum up this book. It follows and teaches these principles brilliantly.

55 of 57 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Julie
  • San Francisco, CA
  • 07-03-07

How to Communicate Effectively

This is not just a marketing book. It is a book on how to deliver presentations, how to write, how to teach, how to promote new ideas at work. The book forever changed the way I will do each of these things and I wish I could have read it many years ago.

36 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Paul
  • Kyle, TX, USA
  • 07-14-07

It Stuck with Me

Hands down one of the top offerings available on!

I could heap superlative after superlative on this book in an attempt to convince you to buy it - but I won't.

The fewer people that read this book, the better off for me. The knowledge is so simple, yet so practical, I want to be able to use it all for my own personal gain and not have to share it with other potential competitors in the idea marketplace.

On a side note, who ever said the narrator was dry or ineffective....well lets just say they don't know what they are talking about. The narration was smooth and totally appropriate for the content delivered. He nailed it.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Douglas
  • Thompsons Station, TN, USA
  • 02-02-08

Great tips for getting your message across!

Being an accountant, my analytical nature makes me skeptical of books on communication. This one completely impressed me because the authors brought the points to life with real examples of why messages do or don't work. I found many areas where I've been making mistakes and can take immediate steps toward improvement. It's well worth the time to listen, and you'll find yourself wishing you could take notes or highlight passages.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • San Diego, CA, USA
  • 02-27-07

It Stuck!

This interesting book elaborates on "The Tipping Point" by Gladwell and uses a similar writing style to get across its reasons why some ideas stick and why others don't. It's a good read for those who are interested in the psychology of marketing and even the concept of communication in general, but actual marketers will find it difficult to get a lot of practical methods out of the book.

The book starts off with those ubiquitous urban legends we've all heard (i.e. the man who gets his kidney stolen from a stranger and ends up in a bath tub full of ice and a tube sticking out of his back), and explains why that idea sticks and why others don't. The Heath brothers go on to describe why numerous ideas have stuck in the collective mind: "It's the economy stupid," "Where's the beef," the pocket radio, and that movie popcorn has a more saturated fat than you want to know.

The heath brothers' survey of successful ideas is wide-reaching (a great deal more than Gladwell's entertaining book), and the reader will recognize most of the case studies, which aids their main idea of stickiness.

The authors put the stickiness factors in a nice little acronym (S.U.C.C.E.S), though the ideas those letters represent didn't stick with me (sorry) and gave a nice overview in the end with a real-life troubleshooting guide that sums up their ideas. It's a great read for everyone, not just marketing professionals.

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • GH
  • Sherborn, MA, United States
  • 01-18-13

What's in an acronym - SUCCES?

You are sitting in your conference room listening to yet another diatribe about why the next deal is going to close and close soon. By the way, let’s give it away for almost nothing because it not this deal we want it’s the one that’s 100x bigger and brighter, with bleach borax and brightener we want. Statistic after ungrounded statistic flows from the mouth of you head sales guy like a geyser from Old Faithfull. All of which you have heard, seen and smelled the excrement before. You know what, nothing he says sticks, you are left with plenty of emotion - anger.

Here is where the Heath brothers jump in with their book Made to Stick. They offer a simple, concrete way of helping your messages stick. They do this by offering stories that work; the context of their impressive academic and business backgrounds establish the needed credibility. For a book like this to succeed, it has to drink its own cool-aid. I am please to say that the authors have and succeed. Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Story: okay, now you understand the acronym. But you’ll have to read this fine work in order to put the gas in your tank.

I plan on re-reading his book the old fashion way and most likely listening to it again. I highly recommend that you do. When you are done, you’ll maybe better listener as well; but you will sure as heck need to practice. This book is about communication not oration.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Carla
  • Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  • 07-05-11

Good book, but I'd buy the hard copy

I enjoyed this book and the principles within. Naturally, a book about making ideas stick will be sure to present it's ideas in a way that's entertaining and memorable. However, the weakness in my mind was the audio book format. I constantly felt like I wanted to stop and write things down (lists of tactics, steps in processes) but of course I couldn't since I usually listen to audio books while driving. I think most people would find this book more useful in hard copy format than in audio version since it's quite tactical and instructive.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

It Stuck

A great listen.
The research was eye opening and the strategies apply to many aspects of life. Great stories to share at home and work.

Well read. Contains humorous as well as enlightening moments.

Will probably buy the book to have it in print as well.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

This sticks

I've listened to and read many self help books from Dale Carnegie to Steven R Covey and this one is right up there! I realize a book is good when I find myself having to tell others what I've heard because it impacted me so much and that happens every day with this. The stories are memorable and clarify what the reader wants to know. The reader: those who want to improve how they communicate ideas to bosses, classes, groups, and even children. This is a repeat-listen!

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Amazing great book

I love this book. In fact, I will listen to it again with pen and paper. Great ideas, very easy to follow, well organized. A highly enjoyable book even if you're not trying to market or sell a product.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Mr. R. D. Cox
  • 02-02-10

One of the best communication books ever written

You know when a management book is great - because the information is obvious and hardly ever followed. I found this very inspiring - exactly what I needed.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Max
  • 12-23-13

Best in class

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I read this book three times over in three weeks. As a young advertising creative, I found it helped enormously with the way I structure my approach to a brief. Using informative anecdotes and laser-guided analysis, it breaks down 'big ideas' from across all walks of life, and shows concretely why they were such a hit. The book practises what it preaches, too- using many of the 'sleight-of-hand' techniques covered to keep you hooked. It's full of jokes, and majestically narrated. Journalism, advertising, psychology, the military, urban legends, politics- this book gives you 'the keys to the city', looking inside some of the most sensational messages of our generation- and I'd recommend this book to anyone who has, or thinks that they might at some point have, a message to spread.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Made to Stick?

As the book is all about 'memorable moments', saying which was the 'most memorable' would not be so much about the book as one of the anecdotes covered. One of the most useful lessons, however, was about Clinton's presidential campaign- where consultant James Carville kept reminding Clinton that if he said three things, he said- nothing. 'It's the economy, stupid' became the campaign's Crie de Cour, and helped him to win. Saying one thing forcefully is immeasurably better than saying three things. This is a point which is demonstrated again and again in the book.

Which character – as performed by Charles Kahlenberg – was your favourite?

I think the character of Charles Kahlenberg is pretty fantastic- he's got a fantastic voice,
slow, knowing, urgent, assertive, and really brings the book to life.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely, yes- although as said in the book with regards to Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, 'if you say three things, you say nothing'- there are so many really really useful lessons in here that I'd actually recommend taking it slow and trying to absorb it in chunks- otherwise you will end up with an idea melange. A very pleasant melange though I must say. Anyway that's why I'm reading it for a third time.

Any additional comments?

This is my first ever review- I wouldn't usually take the time to do one, but I felt compelled.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Customer near Manchester
  • 04-07-10

I just ordered the paper version

Listened to this on holiday, uses many real life examples to illustrate the concepts and goes back to several throughout the book to clarify the points. I have now ordered the paper version on amazon so I can study the book in more details.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • James
  • 04-08-13

Simple to understand and apply

This is a very useful book. It focuses on how to make your ideas memorable and "sticky" and the principles are not just useful professional journalists, ad men or PR experts. I've found myself thinking about these principles when I'm doing things as mundane as explaining something on the phone and sending emails. And as a bonus it's entertaining too!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Christian
  • 07-27-11

Easy and concrete

I like this book allot! It has several interesting points and how-to's and the narration is superb!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 08-17-10

So simple, so helpful, already applying lessons

A large part of my job is synthesising data into succinct PPT decks and this book is exactly what i needed. They explain exactly how to get your point across. I've read loads of business and self help books but this is my favourite by far - so action orientated.

Finished this morning and might start listening again tomorrow...

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • 10-07-11

One of the best books I've ever come across

This audio book blew me away. I don't really get some of the other reviews on this page, the whole point of this book is making ideas stick, although Chip and Dan do touch on many other issues (all relating to sticky ideas). They also use many real world examples of ideas which stick and ideas that don't stick. This is an essential read for anyone whose job involves making ideas sticky - anyone in marketing and PR, also great for teachers.

Their six given criteria are awesome, and most if not all of the most popular advertising campaigns meet these criteria.

I'll be listening to this book again.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Colin
  • 10-24-11

Instantly changed how I structure blogs

Some fascinating insights with practical advice that can be applied immediately. Have now listened to several chapters many times and bought the Kindle edition to take notes too. As a practical guide to improving communication I can't recommend it highly enough.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • JedHoll
  • 04-16-15

Fascinating and thought provoking

Really enjoyed this book . If you liked The Tipping Point chances are you will love this book to. It held my attention.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • M
  • 04-03-13

Excellent & Engaging

Excellent, engaging easy to follow well read. An excellent study of ideas and messages and how they stick with some great examples. Highly recommend

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Amanda
  • 02-07-16

Not very helpful

What disappointed you about Made to Stick?

The narrator sounds like a robot. The content is really simplistic. Not very insightful.

What didn’t you like about Charles Kahlenberg’s performance?

Laughable sounds like he is reading on 1950's radio!

0 of 2 people found this review helpful