So I read about three nonfiction books a week, mostly biggification and self-work (what regular people call business and self-help). Rated on a scale of ducks: 1 duck = Stephen Covey (yawn) and 5 ducks = Malcolm Gladwell (do a little dance). Books worth reading are image-linked to independent bookstores.
The book: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
The authors: Chip Heath and Dan Heath
The rating: 5 ducks
I never say stuff like this, but what the hell. This might be the best business book I’ve ever read. In fact, I think it is.
Yes, it is.
Here’s the thing. If there is one thing you need to know while biggifying what you do, it’s this: it does not matter how great the thing you do is.
Obviously it’s better for the world if it is that great, but all that greatness doesn’t get you anywhere if you can’t present it in a way that’s accessible and memorable and sticks in people’s heads.
If you really, truly want to help people (and if you don’t, it’s hard to imagine that you’d be hanging out here), you need to do them a favor and make it easy for them to find you and adore you.
You need to make the thing you’re trying to give them “sticky” enough that it gets remembered and talked about. That’s the best (and maybe the only) way it’s going to get to the people who need it.
But how do you make stuff sticky?
Ahhh … wouldn’t we all like to know.
This book is a smart, thoughtful, funny, engaging exploration of how exactly that complicated process works. There’s a ton of useful how-to information as well as nice little “oh my gosh” moments that come from the way they regularly reframe old concepts in new ways.
Also, the Heath brothers can write, which doesn’t really happen all that often in business-ey books either. And I especially enjoyed their emphasis on making this information accessible and usable, without you ever getting the feeling that they’ve dumbed it the heck down.
It almost never happens (has it ever happened?) that I can read an entire book without having to mentally argue certain points with the authors — but in this case I either agreed with them completely or was wowed by them on every point.
But the best thing about Made to Stick is probably the way it gets the wheels in your head whirring as you get fired up with thinking about how you’re going to apply this stuff. To everything.
Be like gum, my friend.
All the information you interact with on a regular basis? These concepts give you a different way to relate to the stuff you’re probably thinking about anyway.
Then at some point you start filtering everything through the stickiness filter … and boy is it ever interesting.
Anyway, obviously if you have a business or a project or a venture you can take this stuff and apply it to pretty much every part of what you do … from crafting your message to finally rewriting your web copy to helping your clients/fans/whatever really get who you are and what you do.
And if you aren’t in the process of biggifying yourself, you can still make use of these concepts to better understand how to effectively frame information that you want people to remember. Plus you’ll get better at noticing when and how people/media/writing might be pulling your strings.
As the boys point out on their blog, it’s not really about making things sticky to work the system or even necessarily about business concepts — it’s about understanding how and why stuff works. Which is interesting. And useful.
Good stuff all around. And yes, it should probably go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: totally worth owning and rereading.
Straight to the super-genius-books reference shelf!