I have a bad habit of starting to read a book and then letting it lag for weeks, months, and sometimes longer before finishing it up. It is certainly not the right way to read a book by any means. However, over the last few weeks I’ve dedicated myself to finishing up a bunch of books that I’ve been halfheartedly reading over the last year or so. Thus, you’re going to get a lot of these book reviews coming at you on JerseySmarts.com, as you saw the other day with my review of reading The Hobbit on the NOOK Color.
For this entry, though, I’m going to focus on a business book that I received as a Christmas gift either two or three years ago (I can’t remember). That book, Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, focuses on why some ideas “stick” and others seem to fall away. The book is well-written and manages to make its points in a very sticky way (pun intended).
When I think about this book, the one story that sticks in my mind is about a journalism teacher who told his class that they needed to create a headline for a set of circumstances that he was going to give them. The circumstances were that all of the teachers in the school were going to a prestigious Governor’s school next Thursday to study better strategies for reaching students and to increase the overall status of the school. The students created headlines like, “Our School Selected for Prestigious Honor,” and “Governor’s School Educating our Educators,” and so on. However, the teacher told them that they missed the point. The real headline should have been something like, “No School Next Thursday.”
The book is filled with stories like that – stories that have survived the years and different interpretations (I definitely didn’t repeat that story correctly). These are the stories that “stick.” The Heath brothers dive in to why these stories stick and they come up with the SUCCESs model. That stands for: simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, stories. According to the Heath brothers, these are the elements of any story that becomes sticky.
Made to Stick is written in a very accessible manner and includes miniature case studies at the end of (and sometimes throughout) each chapter. These case studies give real life examples of how those six elements of stickiness play out in the real world. I find that when I read a business book, I like when these types of real world examples are parlayed into case studies to illustrate a point. And Made to Stick definitely meets that requirement of a good business book for me.
Overall, I think that this is a good book for someone working in the marketing or advertising fields. Also, I would recommend this book for any entrepreneur who is looking to make a name for their company in an already crowded field. Further, this is the type of book that any well-rounded business person would want to read and keep in their personal library for reference reasons. In fact, I expect that I’ll go back and re-read portions (if not all) of Made to Stick at some point in the future.
If you’re looking for a good read about why certain commercials, images, advertisements, or stories stick in your head, then I suggest picking up Made to Stick. I think that you’ll really enjoy reading it.
Note: Made to Stick offers some free resources, which you can find by clicking here.