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Get this from a library! Made to stick: why some ideas survive and others die. [ Chip Heath; Dan Heath] -- Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die [ebook] by Chip Heath ( epub/mobi) Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier CLICK TO DOWNLOAD. Read "Made to Stick Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die" by Chip Heath available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first purchase.
Also available as: Not in United States? Choose your country's store to see books available for purchase. Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus news stories circulate effortlessly. Robert Cialdini. Barking Up the Wrong Tree.
What we mean by "simple" is finding the core of the idea. To get to the core, we've got to weed out superfluous and tangential elements.
But that's the easy part. The hard part is weeding out ideas that may be really important but just aren't the most impor- tant idea. The Army's Commander's Intent forces its officers to high- light the most important goal of an operation. The value of the Intent comes from its singularity. You can't have five North Stars, you can't have five "most important goals," and you can't have five Comman- der's Intents.
Finding the core is analogous to writing the Comman- der's Intent—it's about discarding a lot of great insights in order to let the most important insight shine. The French aviator and author An- toine de Saint-Exupery once offered a definition of engineering ele- gance: In fact, we'll follow our own advice and strip this book down to its core. Here it is: That's it. We'll spend the next half chapter on Step 1, and the remainder of the book on Step 2. The first step in un- packing these ideas is to explore why Southwest Airlines deliberately ignores the food preferences of its customers.
Finding the Core at Southwest Airlines It's common knowledge that Southwest is a successful company, but there is a shocking performance gap between Southwest and its com- petitors. Although the airlines industry as a whole has only a passing acquaintance with profitability, Southwest has been consistently profitable for more than thirty years.
The reasons for Southwest's success could and do fill up books, but perhaps the single greatest factor in the company's success is its SIMPLE 29 dogged focus on reducing costs. Every airline would like to reduce costs, but Southwest has been doing it for decades. For this effort to succeed, the company must coordinate thousands of employees, ranging from marketers to baggage handlers. Southwest has a Commander's Intent, a core, that helps to guide this coordination. As related by James Carville and Paul Begala: Herb Kelleher [the longest-serving CEO of Southwest] once told someone, "I can teach you the secret to running this airline in thirty seconds.
This is it: We are THE low-fare airline. Once you understand that fact, you can make any decision about this com- pany's future as well as I can.
She says her surveys indicate that the passengers might enjoy a light entree on the Houston to Las Vegas flight. All we offer is peanuts, and she thinks a nice chicken Caesar salad would be popular. What do you say? Because if it doesn't help us become the unchallenged low-fare airline, we're not serving any damn chicken salad. Now, this core idea —"THE low-fare airline" —isn't the whole story, of course. For instance, in Southwest received , ap- plications for 5, openings. It's known as a great place to work, which is surprising.
It's not supposed to be fun to work for penny- pinchers. It's hard to imagine Wal-Mart employees giggling their way through the workday. Yet somehow Southwest has pulled it off. The central circle, the core, is "THE low-fare airline.
A new employee can easily put these ideas together to realize how to act in unscripted situations. For instance, is it all right to joke about a flight attendant's birthday over the P. Is it equally okay to throw confetti in her honor? Probably not— the confetti would create extra work for cleanup crews, and extra clean-up time means higher fares.
It's the lighthearted business equivalent of the foot soldier who improvises based on the Comman- der's Intent. A well-thought-out simple idea can be amazingly power- ful in shaping behavior. A warning: In the future, months after you've put down this book, you're going to recall the word "Simple" as an element of the SUC- CESs checklist.
And your mental thesaurus will faithfully go digging for the meaning of "Simple," and it's going to come back with associ- ations like dumbing down, shooting for the lowest common denomi- nator, making things easy, and so on. At that moment, you've got to remind your thesaurus of the examples we've explored.
They're simple because they reflect the Commander's Intent. It's about elegance and prioritization, not dumbing down. Burying the Lead News reporters are taught to start their stories with the most impor- tant information. The first sentence, called the lead, contains the most essential elements of the story. A good lead can convey a lot of information, as in these two leads from articles that won awards from the American Society of Newspaper Editors: SIMPLE 31 A healthy year-old heart pumped the gift of life through year-old Bruce Murray Friday, following a four-hour transplant operation that doctors said went without a hitch.
Jerusalem, Nov. After the lead, information is presented in decreasing order of im- portance. Journalists call this the "inverted pyramid" structure—the most important info the widest part of the pyramid is at the top. The inverted pyramid is great for readers. No matter what the reader's attention span—whether she reads only the lead or the entire story—the inverted pyramid maximizes the information she gleans.
Think of the alternative: If news stories were written like mysteries, with a dramatic payoff at the end, then readers who broke off in mid- story would miss the point. Imagine waiting until the last sentence of a story to find out who won the presidential election or the Super Bowl.
The inverted pyramid also allows newspapers to get out the door on time. Suppose a late-breaking story forces editors to steal space from other stories. Without the inverted pyramid, they'd be forced to do a slow, careful editing job on all the other articles, trimming a word here or a phrase there.
With the inverted pyramid structure, they simply lop off paragraphs from the bottom of the other articles, knowing that those paragraphs are by construction the least impor- tant. According to one account, perhaps apocryphal, the inverted pyra- mid arose during the Civil War.
The reporters never knew how much time they would get to send a story, so they had to send the most important information first. Journalists obsess about their leads. Don Wycliff, a winner of prizes for editorial writing, says, "I've always been a believer that if I've got two hours in which to write a story, the best investment I can make is to spend the first hour and forty-five minutes of it getting a good lead, because after that everything will come easily.
A common mistake re- porters make is that they get so steeped in the details that they fail to see the message's core —what readers will find important or interest- ing. The longtime newspaper writer Ed Cray, a professor of commu- nications at the University of Southern California, has spent almost thirty years teaching journalism.
He says, "The longer you work on a story, the more you can find yourself losing direction. No detail is too small. You just don't know what your story is anymore.
Burying the lead. The process of writing a lead —and avoiding the temptation to bury it—is a helpful metaphor for the process of finding the core. Finding the core and writing the lead both involve forced prioritiza- tion. Suppose you're a wartime reporter and you can telegraph only one thing before the line gets cut, what would it be? There's only one lead, and there's only one core. You must choose. Forced prioritization is really painful. Smart people recognize the value of all the material.
They see nuance, multiple perspectives — and because they fully appreciate the complexities of a situation, they're often tempted to linger there. This difficult quest—the need to wrestle priorities out of complexity— was exactly the situation that James Carville faced in the Clinton cam- paign of If you think your organization has problems, imagine this challenge: You must build a nationwide organization from scratch, using primarily unpaid and largely unskilled workers.
You've got about a year to pull the team together and line up an endless supply of doughnuts. And the media prod you to sing a new song every day.
To make matters worse, you must con- stantly contend with opponents who will seize on every errant word. Bill Clinton's campaign was a classic example of sticky ideas at work in a difficult environment. Not only did the campaign have the normal set of complexities, Clinton himself added a few new wrinkles. First, there were the "bimbo eruptions," which need not be reexamined here.
Second, Clinton was a policy wonk by nature, which meant that he was inclined to pontificate on virtually every issue that he was asked about, instead of staying focused on a few key principles. As his key political adviser, James Carville had to cope with this complexity.
One day, struggling to maintain his-focus, he wrote three phrases on a whiteboard for all the campaign workers to see. One of the phrases on the impromptu list was "It's the economy, stupid.
Let's just remember the basics. At one point, Clinton was frustrated that he'd been advised to stop talking about balanced budgets despite the fact that Ross Perot, the third-party candidate for president in , was getting positive attention for his stand on the balanced budget.
Clinton said, "I've been talking about these things for two years, why should I stop talking about them now because Perot is in? If you say three things, you don't say anything. But if "It's the economy, stupid" is the lead, then the need for a balanced budget can't also be the lead. Carville had to stop Clinton from burying the lead. Decision Paralysis Why is prioritizing so difficult? In the abstract, it doesn't sound so tough.
You prioritize important goals over less important goals. You prioritize goals that are "critical" ahead of goals that are "beneficial. Sometimes it's not obvious. This kind of complexity can be paralyz- ing. In fact, psychologists have found that people can be driven to ir- rational decisions by too much complexity and uncertainty.
In , the economist L. Savage described what he perceived as a basic rule of human decision-making. He called it the "sure- thing principle.
There's an election com- ing up soon, and he initially thinks that its outcome could be relevant to the attractiveness of the purchase. So, to clarify his decision, he thinks through both scenarios. If the Republican wins, he decides, he'll buy. If the Democrat wins, he'll do the same. Seeing that he'd buy in either scenario, he goes forward with the purchase, despite not knowing the outcome. This decision seems sensible—not many peo- ple would quibble with Savage's logic. Two psychologists quibbled.
Amos Tversky and Eldar Shafir later published a paper proving that the "sure-thing principle" wasn't always a sure thing. They uncovered situations where the mere exis- tence of uncertainty seemed to alter how people made decisions — even when the uncertainty was irrelevant to the outcome, as with the businessman's purchase.
For instance, imagine that you're in college and you've just completed an important final exam a couple of weeks before the Christmas holidays. You'd been studying for this exam for weeks, because it's in a subject that's important to your fu- ture career. You've got to wait two days to get the exam results back. Mean- while, you see an opportunity to purchase a vacation during the holi- days to Hawaii at a bargain-basement price.
Here are your three options: You can buy the vacation today, pass on it today, or pay a five- dollar fee to lock in the price for two days, which would allow you to make your decision after you got your grade.
What would you do? You may feel some desire to know the outcome of your exam before you decide, as did the students who faced this choice in the original ex- periment. So Tversky and Shafir simply removed this uncertainty for two groups of participants. These groups were told up front how they did on the exam. Some students were told that they passed the exam, and 57 percent of them chose to go on the trip after all, it makes for a good celebration.
Other students were told that they failed the exam, and 54 percent of them chose to go on the trip after all, it makes for 36 good recuperation. Both those who passed and those who failed wanted to go to Hawaii, pronto. Here's the twist: The group of students who, like you, didn't know their final exam results behaved completely differently. The majority of them 61 percent paid five dollars to wait for two days.
If you pass, you want to go to Hawaii. If you fail, you want to go to Hawaii. If you don't know whether you passed or failed, you. This is not the way the "sure-thing principle" is supposed to behave. It's as if our businessman had decided to wait until after the election to buy his property, despite being willing to make the pur- chase regardless of the outcome.
Tversky and Shafir's study shows us that uncertainty—even irrele- vant uncertainty—can paralyze us. Another study, conducted by Shafir and a colleague, Donald Redelmeier, demonstrates that paral- ysis can also be caused by choice. Imagine, for example, that you are in college and you face the following choice one evening. Attend a lecture by an author you admire who is visiting just for the evening, or 2.
Go to the library and study. Studying doesn't look so attractive compared with a once in a life- time lecture. When this choice was given to actual college students, only 21 percent decided to study.
Suppose, instead, you had been given three choices: Attend the lecture. Watch a foreign film that you've been wanting to see. Does your answer differ? Remarkably, when a different group of students were given the three choices, 40 percent decided to study— SIMPLE 37 double the number who did before. Giving students two good alter- natives to studying, rather than one, paradoxically makes them less likely to choose either.
This behavior isn't "rational," but it is human. Prioritization rescues people from the quicksand of decision angst, and that's why finding the core is so valuable. The people who listen to us will be constantly making decisions in an environment of uncertainty. They will suffer anxiety from the need to choose —even when the choice is between two good options, like the lecture and the foreign film. Core messages help people avoid bad choices by reminding them of what's important.
In Herb Kelleher's parable, for instance, some- one had to choose between chicken salad and no chicken salad—and the message "THE low-fare airline" led her to abandon the chicken salad. Idea Clinics The goal of this book is to help you make your ideas stick. So, period- ically throughout the book, we will present "Idea Clinics," which il- lustrate, in practical terms, how an idea can be made stickier.
The Clinics were inspired by the classic "before and after" photos used by weight-loss centers—visible evidence that the diet works. Like patients trying a new diet, the initial ideas in the Clinics vary in their need for change; some need dramatic help, like a stomach-stapling and lipo- suction, and some only need to lose a few pounds around the waist- line.
The point of the Clinics is not to wow you with our creative ge- nius, and it's fortunate for readers and authors alike that this is not the goal, because we are not creative geniuses. The point is simply to model the process of making ideas stickier. In contrast to traditional disclaimers, this is something you should try at home.
Think about each message and consider how you would improve it using the prin- ciples in the book. Sun Exposure Is Dangerous the situation: Health educators at Ohio State University want to in- form the academic community about the risks of sun exposure. Here's a Web page with facts about sun exposure from Ohio State University. We've added numbers to each paragraph so that we can analyze the message later: Sun Exposure: Precautions and Protection 1 A golden, bronze tan is often considered a status symbol.
Per- haps this supports the idea that people who have time to lie in the sun long enough to develop a deep tan, or who can travel to warm climates during winter, have more money or leisure time than "com- mon folk. Whether a tan suggests status or not, careless exposure to the sun can be harmful. Ultraviolet rays from the sun will damage skin but can also create vision problems, allergic reactions, and depressed immune systems.
These rays cannot be seen or felt, but penetrate the skin and stimulate cells containing a brownish pigment called melanin. Melanin protects the skin by absorbing and scattering ultraviolet rays. People with dark skins have high amounts of melanin, have greater natural protection from ultraviolet rays, and tan more easily.
Blondes, redheads, and people with fair skins have less melanin and, there- fore, burn more quickly. Individuals with dark skins such as olive, brown, or black are not im- mune to burning and skin damage caused by careless exposure to the sun.
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
UVB cause burning of the skin or the red associated with sun- burn, skin cancer, and premature aging of skin. UVA rays stimulate tanning but are also linked to other problems such as impaired vi- sion, skin rashes, and allergic or other reactions to drugs.
Once damage occurs, it cannot be undone. Most serious and lasting damage occurs before age Protection should start early, particularly with children who enjoy out- door play on sunny days.
Before you read our comments below, go back and reread Message 1. What can you do to improve it? What's the lead here? What's the core? The first paragraph dives into tanned skin as a status symbol, which is simply an interesting red herring. Skin damage. Isn't that the single most important thing we'd want to tell sun-worshippers?
By contrast, Paragraphs provide superfluous mechanics. As an analogy, do smokers really need to understand the workings of the lungs in order to appreciate the dangers of smoking? In the text below, we have reordered the points and tin- kered with the prose a bit in the hope of unburying the lead. How to Get Old Prematurely 5 Skin damage from overexposure to the sun is like getting older: It is cumulative over the years and cannot be reversed.
Fortunately, unlike aging, skin damage can be pre- vented. Sun protection should start early, particularly with children who enjoy playing outdoors on sunny days. Ultraviolet rays cause sunburn, which is a temporary sign of deeper underlying skin damage. Sunburns eventually disappear, but the underlying damage persists and may eventually cause premature aging or skin cancer. But ultraviolet rays not only damage skin, they can also create vision problems, allergic reactions, and depressed immune systems.
So instead of a "healthy tan," perhaps we should call it a "sickly tan. The core of this message is that skin dam- age is cumulative and irreversible.
So we've rewritten the message to stress that point and eliminate nonessential information. We've tried to emphasize the core in a couple of ways. First, we've unburied the lead—putting the core right up front. Second, we've added the analogy to aging to hammer home the idea that damage is irreversible. Third, we've added a concrete and perhaps unexpected image: Sunburns are a signal of damage; they may dis- appear, but the underlying damage does not.
Avoid burying the lead. Don't start with something inter- esting but irrelevant in hopes of entertaining the audience. Instead, work to make the core message itself more interesting.
It has 14, residents and its workforce is primarily blue collar. The local diner is packed in the morning with people eating big breakfasts and drinking coffee. Waitresses call you "hon. All in all, Dunn is a pretty normal place, except for one fact: Al- most everyone there reads the local paper, the Daily Record.
As a matter of fact, more than everyone in Dunn reads the paper. The Daily Record's penetration in the Dunn community is percent, which is the highest penetration of any newspaper in the country.
For a community penetration to exceed percent, one of two things must be true: Maybe it's hard for some couples in Dunn to share. What's the explanation for this remarkable success? The people of Dunn certainly have plenty of options for their news: So why is the Daily Record so popular? Adams was born with ink in his blood.
By the time he was in high school he was serving as a stringer—a freelance reporter—for the Raleigh paper. Eventually, he grew restless at the Dispatch and decided to start his own paper, the Daily Record.
In , after twenty-eight years of head-to-head competition, the Dispatch finally gave up and sold out to him. He believes that news- papers should be relentlessly local in their coverage. In fact, he's a zealot about community coverage. In , frustrated by what he felt was insufficient focus on local issues in the paper, he wrote a memo to his staff, explaining his views: That's the one thing we can do better than anybody else. And that's the thing our readers can't get anywhere else.
Always remember, the mayor of Angier and the mayor of Lillington are just as important to those towns as the mayor of New York is to his people. Adams's focus on local coverage is not a revolution- ary sentiment. In fact, among publishers of small newspapers it would be utterly uncontroversial. Yet it's easy enough to see that the idea has not become a reality at most papers. The average local news- paper is loaded with wire stories, analyses of pro sports teams, and spot photos with nary a person in sight.
In other words, finding the core isn't synonymous with communi- cating the core. Top management can know what the priorities are but be completely ineffective in sharing and achieving those priorities. Adams has managed to find and share the core. How did he do it? Sharing the Core Adams found the core of his newspaper operations: Then he turned his attention to sharing his core message—making it stick with his staff.
For the rest of the chapter—in fact, the rest of the book—we will discuss ways to get core messages to stick. And we will start by studying the way Adams has made his "local focus" message stick.
He's willing to hurt the bottom line for local focus: The fact is, a local newspaper can never get enough local names. I'd happily hire two more typesetters and add two more pages in every edition of each paper if we had the names to fill them up. He's willing to be boring for local focus: I'll bet that if the Daily Record reprinted the entire Dunn tele- phone directory tonight, half the people would sit down and check it to be sure their name was included When somebody tells you, "Aw, you don't want all those names," please assure them that's exactly what we want, most of all!
He gleefully exaggerates in order to emphasize the value of local focus, quoting a saying of a friend, Ralph Delano, who runs the local paper in Benson: If an atomic bomb fell on Raleigh, it wouldn't be news in Benson unless some of the debris and ashes fell on Benson. In fact, asked why the Daily Record has been so successful, Adams replies, "It's because of three things: Adams has found the core idea that he wants to communicate —that local focus is the key to his newspaper's success.
That's Step 1. Step 2 is to communicate the core to others. And he does that brilliantly. Look at the techniques Adams uses to communicate his serious- ness about local focus. He uses an analogy: We'll have more to say about anal- ogy later in this chapter. This is forced prioritization: Local focus is more important than minimizing costs!
Made to Stick - PDF Free Download
Not a com- mon sentiment among small-town papers. See the "Unexpected" chapter. He also speaks in clear, tangible language. What does he want? He wants lots of individual names in the newspaper every day. See the "Concrete" chapter. This idea is concrete enough that everyone in the organization can comprehend and use it. Is there any room for misunderstanding?
Is there a staffer who won't understand what Adams means by "names"? It's not just that names are helpful. In Adams's mind, names trump costs. Names trump well-written prose. Names trump nuclear explosions in neighboring communities. As a publisher, Adams has presided over close to 20, issues. And each of those is- sues involved countless decisions: Which stories do we cover?
What's important in the stories? Which photos do we run? Which do we cut out to save space? Adams can't possibly be personally involved in the vast majority of these hundreds of small decisions. But his employees don't suffer from decision paralysis, because Adams's Commander's Intent is clear: But by finding the core and communicating it clearly, he has made him- self everywhere. That's the power of a sticky idea.
This example illustrates a second aspect of sim- plicity: Simple messages are core and compact. At one level, the idea of compactness is uncontroversial. Rarely will you get advice to make your communications lengthy and con- voluted, unless you write interest-rate disclosures for a credit card company. We know that sentences are better than paragraphs. Two bullet points are better than five. Easy words are better than hard words. It's a bandwidth issue: The more we reduce the amount of in- formation in an idea, the stickier it will be.
But let's be clear: Compactness alone isn't enough. We could latch on to a compact message that isn't core; in other words, a pithy slogan that doesn't reflect our Commander's Intent. Compact mes- sages may be sticky, but that says nothing about their worth. We can imagine compact messages that are lies "The earth is flat" , compact messages that are irrelevant "Goats like sprouts" , and compact mes- sages that are ill-advised "Never let a day pass without a shoe pur- chase".
In other cases, compactness itself can come to seem an unworthy goal. Lots of us have expertise in particular areas. Becoming an expert in something means that we become more and more fascinated by nu- ance and complexity.
That's when the Curse of Knowledge kicks in, and we start to forget what it's like not to know what we know. At that point, making something simple can seem like "dumbing down. Simplifying, we fear, can devolve into oversimplifying. So if we're going to define "simple" as core and compact, we need to assure ourselves that compactness is worth striving for. We've al- ready got core, why do we need compact?
Suppose we took compactness to its most extreme form. Is it possible to say some- thing meaningful in the span of a sound bite? Proverbs are simple yet profound. Cervantes defined prov- erbs as "short sentences drawn from long experience. The core is a warning against giving up a sure thing for something speculative. The proverb is short and simple, yet it packs a big nugget of wisdom that is useful in many situations.
As it turns out, this is not just an English-language proverb. In Sweden, the saying is "Rather one bird in the hand than ten in the woods. But the proverb may be much older still. In one of Aesop's fables, a hawk seizes a nightingale, who pleads for its life, arguing that it is too tiny a morsel to satisfy the hawk.
The hawk replies, "I would be foolish to re- lease the bird I have in my hand to pursue another bird that is not even in sight. The "bird in hand" proverb, then, is an astoundingly sticky idea. It has survived for more than 2, years. It has spread across conti- nents, cultures, and languages.
Keep in mind that nobody funded a "bird in hand" advertising campaign. It spreads on its own. Many other proverbs share this longevity. In fact, a repertoire of proverbs has been found in almost every documented culture.
What is their purpose? Proverbs are helpful in guiding individual decisions in environ- ments with shared standards. Those shared standards are often ethi- cal or moral norms.
Made to stick: Chip Heath ; Dan Heath Publisher: New York: English View all editions and formats Summary: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus public-health scares circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas--business people, teachers, politicians, journalists, and others--struggle to make their ideas "stick. And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas?
Educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the "human scale principle," using the "Velcro Theory of Memory," and creating "curiosity gaps. This book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. Read more Show all links. Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private. Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Electronic books Additional Physical Format: Print version: Heath, Chip.
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