Ideas are what fuels the forward movement of the human race; it can surely be said that without ideas, people would very likely still be reading by candle light, riding horses and using butter churns for their daily food preparation. In Made to Stick-Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath, the authors have an overriding theme: that the communication of ideas is what drives business, interpersonal relationships and indeed all human interactions.
Further, the authors put forth the thesis that ideas do not need to be complex to be memorable, but they do have to be “sticky”, meaning in the vocabulary of the authors that they have to make a lasting impression on others, be communicated clearly, believable and interesting.
This review will look not only at the theme and thesis of Made to Stick, but will also offer some critiques and personal observations of the book so that upon conclusion of the research, not only will the reader better understand the book, but also be able to take away some valuable information from the book, which they can apply to their own lives, careers and relationships. Further Explanation of the Theme and Thesis of the Book
When this paper was introduced, the theme and thesis of Made to Stick were briefly presented to set the stage for the rest of the research. At this point, additional discussion of the book’s theme and thesis is important, for it is these two elements that will make it possible to critique and independently analyze the work. Heaths’ theme of ideas being the driving force behind virtually all human interactions is fascinating to consider.
As the authors explain in the book, the vast majority of everyday communication are not really revolutionary or anything of the sort that would inspire anyone to a higher level of awareness, creativity, or anything of the sort-which is exactly why we, as the communicators, have a responsibility to make the mundane daily communication something which is special. This is made clearer by a quote directly from the text: “When messages sound like common sense, they float gently in one ear and out the other……….
The danger of course, is that what sounds like common sense often isn’t…. It’s your job as a communicator to expose the parts of your message that are uncommon sense (Heath & Heath, 2008, p. 72). This ties into what the authors call the stripping of an idea down to its core, which amounts to determining what it is that is trying to be communicated to others, what the goal of the sharing of the idea is, and how to achieve these factors.
This assertion makes it possible to also take a closer look at the thesis of the book: that “stickiness”, as it is called by Heath & Heath, does not necessarily imply that an idea is complicated, that it is able to deceive others, or that it comes across as something it is not; in fact, quite the opposite is the fact of the matter.
The bottom line in “stickiness” would seem to be integrity- not only in making sure that the ideas being shared are as honest and genuine as possible, but also that the originator of the ideas is making the right decision in what they are choosing to broadcast to their audience, whether it is one close friend or a gathering of dozens of people at a business meeting. This decision making process is detailed by Heath & Heath as follows: “We use two basic models to make decisions. The first model involves calculating consequence. ….. The second model is quite different.
It assumes that people make decisions base on identity. They ask themselves three questions. Who am I? What kind of situation is this? And what do people like me do in this kind of situation? (Heath & Heath, 2008, p. 190)”. As a final word on the theme of “stickiness” is also important; ideas become stickier when they are original, possibly even to the point of being strange, keeping in mind again that the integrity of the ideas remains intact. Heath and Heath use this simple sentence to explain this point-their equivalent of the old adage of the squeaky wheel getting the grease:
“The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: break a pattern (Heath & Heath, 2008, p. 64)”. In regard to this idea, the authors also make the point that it is possible to “unstick” a bad idea through the presentation of another idea which is so sticky that it replaces the previous one. For example, Heath & Heath cite that many of the ugly online rumors that circulate in regard to defective products, virus-infected emails and such have been overridden by other communications that were sticky enough to overpower the previous ones (Heath & Heath, 2008,p. 282) Critiques/Personal Observations
In my opinion, Made to Stick is an excellent book not only because of the ideas which it contains, as discussed earlier, but also because the authors, in writing the book, stayed true to their thesis and theme: the ideas that they present are clear and easy to understand, are believable and reasonable, and as has been shown, are backed up by supporting evidence which inspires the reader to go forward and contribute their ideas in whatever endeavor they choose, whether it is trying to convince the family to choose a particular restaurant for a special dinner or to conduct important business or share clear thoughts with a close friend.
Furthermore, the stories presented in the book were not inhuman pieces like one would find in a typical textbook, but rather were of the nature that appealed to the emotions of the reader. Also, through the use of quotations from credible sources and using real-world examples, the ideas of Heath & Heath became just as they would like them to, according to their book.
Conclusion Chip and Dan Heath did not set out in Made to Stick to show that all memorable ideas are good ones, nor that good ideas are eternal and permanent; what they were able to convey, however, is that ideas will have the best fighting chance of being noticed if they are constructed and shared in the proper way.
Therefore, in conclusion, what should be taken away from this book is the challenge for all people to continue to think critically, develop new ideas or improvements on current ideas, and of course to keep sharing them. Without ideas-good and bad- it would seem that people become less creative and more complacent, and it is in such complacency that human progress suffers. References Heath, C. & Heath,D. (2008). Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. New York: Random House.