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Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Book Review Example

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Book Review

The book “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Stick and Others Die” by Chip and Dan Heath is an objectified look at ideas, starting broadly and gradually getting more narrow, and literally why some remain time-tested, and others do not. There is definitely great merit to this book as a whole, and the ideas the authors were trying to get across.

The author’s presented a major argument involving the amount of overall information a person can process at a time. For example, they said it best in the quote “when you say three things, you say nothing”. When people are presented with all the information up front it is not processed.

On the converse, the authors advocate slowly giving a person clues, piece of information by piece of information. They call this procedure sequencing information, and claim its increased effectiveness.

All of this directly coincides with the self-admitted “curse of knowledge”, which is really just the fact that an influx of information clouds the central message of anything. There is a lot of merit to this idea, and supports the above ideas. The preferred method is to craft any piece of information as a story, and craft an argument slowly before coming to a conclusion. This prevents immediate retention to the idea presented. The authors claim stories can cure the “curse of knowledge”.

The suggestions then given in the book are extremely useful and relevant to modern business strategies relating to communications, such as proposals, presentations, interviews, and the like. Many of the major points are directly applicable to everyday tasks.

Specifically to address the quote “when you say three things you say nothing”, this is absolutely true. Bombarding a person with information right up front, as the book says, only allows the person to put up defense mechanisms that make them immediately dismiss what was said.

The “story” idea brings up an idea for business communications that has a lot of overall merit. For their “Communication Framework” to be effective, stirring up emotion before presenting a concrete and relevant story solidifies knowledge more effectively than any other way. Being concrete allows people to better relate with your story, and subsequently, your overall ideas. This is a wonderful strategy.

Their discussion of choice, and the psychological evidence that choice can cause immediate lethargy is also not to be discredited. Applying it to real life, it is very often a child declares “I don’t know” when asked why they acted out than to explain the situation. However, a lack of common strategic vocabulary also has a huge impact on the above example. In the case ideas cannot be properly communicated, there will be no adhesion at all.

This assignment paired with the book “Made to Stick” is ironic, and somewhat paradoxical. The writers spend a great deal of time talking about the “curse of knowledge”, and how too much can cloud a main idea, and, from a book review standpoint, that is exactly what the writers did. Their intentions and ideas were merited, relevant, and overall applicable: it was, however, presented too quickly, and therefore both proving their own point, and undermining their own text at the same time.

Whether this was purposeful or not only the authors know. This is a book with a lot of great ideas, just perhaps should have been presented in a series.

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