Book Review: Made To Stick

What makes an idea winning and memorable? Why do some ideas thrive while others die? Made to Stick challenges those questions and brings a framework to write successful stories.

Paul Mestereaga

January 3, 2020

What makes an idea winning and memorable? Why do some ideas thrive while others die? Made to Stick challenges those questions and brings a framework to write successful stories.

What sticks?

This is the question addressed in the first chapter. A sticky story it’s understandable, memorable, and effective in changing thought or behaviour.

In this chapter the six principles of sticky ideas are introduced then explained in the next chapters. A sticky idea it’s a Simple Unexpected Concrete Credible Emotional Story. From here the acronym SUCCESs.


Exclude everything to the core. Make your idea simple. In order to do that we must be masters of exclusion and must relentlessly prioritize. Proverbs are the ideal, something both simple and profound. A one sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning to follow it.


Get the attention and maintain interest. Be counterintuitive. Don’t use only surprise, it wont last. We must generate interest and curiosity for our idea to endure. Systematically “open gaps” in people’s knowledge – and the fill those gaps.


To be clear, explain your ideas in terms of human actions and sensory information. Speaking concretely is the only way to ensure that our ideas will mean the same thing to everyone in our audience.


Sticky ideas have to carry their own credentials. Help people to test your ideas for themselves before taking any actions or assume them.


Making people feel something would get them to care about our idea. We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions.


How do we make people to act on our ideas? We tell stories. Hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight simulator, preparing us to respond more quickly and effectively.

The Curse of Knowledge

Curse of Knowledge is a barrier in writing sticky stories. Most of the principles seem to be relatively commonsensical. So why aren’t we deluged with brilliantly designed sticky ideas?

Often leaders are not even aware that they are speaking abstractly. Translate your knowledge into concrete language, know your audience and speak on their language.

Conclusion on Made to Stick

Made to Stick is a great book to read, with great insights and practical advice on how to communicate your ideas to the world. If you read it please leave in the comments bellow your thoughts on it.

You can buy it from Amazon here and also check my other book reviews here.

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