Made to Stick, by Chip & Dan Heath

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I’ve said this before, but I really don’t read many books that would be categorized as “business books.” I mostly read them when they’re written by folks I know well, or when they’re particularly recommended by folks I think highly of. I got to see Chip Heath talk at the d.school last year and he was incredibly, super-compelling. Chip & his brother have done a ton of research into what makes ideas “sticky.” That is, why do certain messages resonate with us while others you can hear over & over & over and not ever remember. They started by looking at urban legends — maybe the stickiest messages we have around — and found that a number of characteristics are common to each of the stories: they’re simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and are stories. He also mentions that, in very many cases, the more you know about something, the less able you are to market it effectively: it’s called the curs of knowledge. (Incidentally, my own view is that this is something that the Democratic Party in the US suffers from.)

This is a great book, and worth reading for anyone who wants to get their message across. (Here’s a link to the introductory chapter.)

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