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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

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Location: Spokane, Washington, United States

"Every soul that uplifts itself uplifts the world." --Elisabeth Leseur

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Made to Stick Will Stick with You

I began Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood a few weeks ago, but I got sidetracked by a few nonfiction titles that grabbed my interest. That happens to me every so often. I'll make up my mind to start a book, and then another one will grab me by the shirt and say, "NO! Pick ME!" That's what happened with the Heath brothers' Made to Stick, a fantastic exploration of what makes ideas memorable. I started reading it in the bookstore and couldn't put it down. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I never buy new hardcovers, but this one was just proving to be too fascinating--I had to take it home. And was it worth it.

Teachers, writers, public speakers, anyone with an interest in spreading ideas should read Made to Stick. It's absolutely brilliant. Chip is a professor of organizational behavior and Dan is a consultant and former business researcher. Together they have put together a fascinating history of some of the ideas that have "stuck" with us, from urban legends about Elvis' motorcycle to memorable ad campaigns like "Where's the Beef?"

But Made to Stick is really about how to make your ideas memorable, and this is really the heart of the book. Using the simple mnemonic device SUCCESs, the Heath brothers have identied the essential elements of a sticky idea: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotion, and Story. Sure, these elements have been talked about before, but not with such clarity and insight.

One of the great features of the book is what they call the "Clinic." At the end of each chapter Chip and Dan take a situation and show how applying one or more of the six elements can make
the idea more "sticky."

I'm a teacher, writer and speaker, and Made to Stick has already had an impact on my work. It's one of the most practical and insightful books I've read in a long time, and I highly recommend it.

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posted by Nick Senger at 6:17 AM

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