Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Take Hold and Others Come Unstuck

Made to Stick Made to Stick Made to Stick I've read a few books on communications in the past, and they've been OK - they've reminded me of things I've forgotten and inspired an idea or two.  But Chip & Dan heath's book, Made to Stick Made to Stick Made to Stick, is in a different class, it's simply brilliant.

The summary of idea's in the book can be summarised using their acronym - SUCCESs, which is also the order of the chapters in the book::

  • Simple - find the core
  • Unexpected - get & keep attention
  • Concrete - help people understand & remember
  • Credible - help people believe & agree
  • Emotional - make people care
  • Stories

One of the central villains, that really hits home, of creating sticky communication is the curse of knowledge.  The people who understand a concept, product, technology or whatever, in-depth are usually not the people able to communicate it to people that don't or at least not without external non-expect input.  This rings true especially because I've been in the situation several times of having to describe some computer software concept to people that don't have the technical background of my typical audience - it can be really hard!

The ideas in the book itself do what it says on the cover, they're sticky.  Whether it's the stories they use to illustrate the concepts to make them credible and concrete or the unexpected pre-written book summary at the back, or it's simple layout, approach and tone I can't quite say.  But it certainly invoked an emotional response in me with animated recommendations to anyone who will listen as - the best communications book I've every read!

Format: Book Book Book, 280 pages, Audio Audio Audio
Author: Chip Heath & Dan Heath


Don't tell your children that they're smart!

imageA few months back I was listening to a copy of Scientific American Mind and was fascinated by an article entitled - "The Secret to Raising Smart Kids" which touted its credibility with "more than 30 years of research has revealed the key to success for your kids - in school and in life."

The secret was totally counter to the approach I was actually taking with my five year old daughter.  I understood that I should be building confidence by re-enforcing the fact that she was smart, clever and generally a genius.  Well, the 30 years of research in the article was very clear that my approach could lead to an adolescent and adult that would withdraw from difficult tasks - essentially leading to the opposite of my intention.

It turns out, that praising your child for their hard work, for sticking at it, for being persistent and getting there in the end is the way to create smart children - or much more importantly, children that get things done, that archive and that win.

In fact, it makes perfect sense.  The people that succeed are the ones who can think for themselves and get things done!  So, there you go, praise your children for their hard work, not for being brilliant.

Article: The Secret to Raising Smart Kids
Journal: Scientific American Mind
Title: Bored?
1st June 2007


The Richest Man in Babylon

RichestMan RichestMan RichestMan This is a classic.  Perhaps not quite in the same way as Think and Grow Rich, but it's pretty close.  It teaches the fundamentals of financial success.  In 1926 George Clason wrote the first of his parables set in ancient Babylon - which had great airing.  This short volume collects his parables, including:

  • The Richest Man in Babylon
  • The Man Who Desired Gold
  • Seven Cures for a Lean Purse
  • The Walls of Babylon

and 7 more.  The rules that the parables proclaim work just as well today as they would have in 1926, which I guess is why it's still selling like crazy - rules like 'save the first 10% of your income'.

It took me a long time to get around to reading it and eventually it was a video program by Jim Rohn that promoted me to finally pick it up.

Most of my 'success' reading is done during the day and I keep novels and fiction for the evenings.  This book combines them both and I happily read it purely for leisure - just the way we would teach children 'learn from playing' - perhaps that's why Jim Rohn uses it to tech Children and why it's sold more than two million copies.

Format: Book, 144 pages
Author: George Clason

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