Read This Book: Made to Stick

It's been a while since I read a book that made me think and get excited about changing the way I communicate. Chip and Dan Heath's book, Made to Stick does just that. In Malcolm Gladwell fashion, they use stories and studies to describe the everyday world in new ways. Their focus and subtitle for the book is "Why some ideas survive and others die".

Every blogger, writer, marketer, etc. has lessons to learn from this book. As bloggers we're highly motivated to make our ideas sticky - to galvanize readers with our perspective. They present a framework that can be used as a checklist for sticky ideas. Ideas should be Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Stories. John Moore has more on this framework.

Here are some of the things I took from the book:

The use of mystery and suspense can keep people captivated. People are attracted to ideas that highlight a gap in their knowledge. Instead of addressing the gap directly, find a way to reveal the answer through a story. Consider the evening news teasers "which local restaurant has slime in their freezer?"

There is a difference between understanding and caring. You may be great at helping people understand, but you need to make them care to really engage them. To do this, appeal to a person's identity and self-interest. Consider the question: What's In It For Me? (WIIFM).

Get to the core. Find a way to communicate the single thing you want people to know. For writers and bloggers one big point comes from successful journalism - don't bury the lead. Identify why people should care and make it the lead of the story.

Use the power of idea spotting. You don't have to create sticky ideas, you just need to be able to spot one when it comes along and share it. Use your "Core Idea Glasses" to filter the world down to what ideas match with your core message.

Of course, these things are all easier said than done. Reading the book helps. The authors also have a blog.