Made to Stick

The American soldiers set off from the well-protected Green Zone of Baghdad, along one of the most treacherous roads in Iraq. Destination? Pegasus. Mission? Dinner.

Pegasus is an army mess hall. Floyd Lee, the officer in charge of Pegasus, sees himself as “in charge of morale.” He sees food service as a means of improving morale, rather than as an end in itself, or even as a means of fueling the war effort.

That is one of the stories told by the Heath brothers, Chip and Dan, in their book
Made to Stick. The book is about why some ideas stick in the mind, while others don’t.

Chip and Dan identify six principles of stickiness: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotions, and Stories. The Pegasus example comes from the Emotions chapter, but also illustrates each of the other five principles. (For example: of course it’s credible – you read it on my blog!)

I strongly recommend this book. It is (as the brothers Heath themselves put it) a complement to Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. It is similar in style, in that it is very readable, yet well grounded in research (much of which is duly end-noted). While Chip and Dan use the corny acronym SUCCESs for the principles, they have the decency to own up to the corn content.

Yes, there is a Made to Stick web site. And yes, it includes a blog; and yes, as some of us are pleased to note, it uses WordPress. Talking of blogging, my putting this post in the Business category reflects the authors’ backgrounds, my background, and my intention to make most posts to this blog fit in to one of seven categories. It doesn’t mean that the book only applies to business ideas (and indeed, the sticky story at the top of the post doesn’t have a business setting).

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