Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die: Summary & Review of Chip and Dan Heath’s Book


Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die‘, is a book by Chip and Dan Heath. The book offers timeless principles for communicating ideas. The authors provide valuable guidance for making your products, services, or ideas irresistible to your audience.

“Made to Stick” refers to an idea, or a story, that is memorable and can be easily passed along.

Chip and Dan Heath argue that there are six principles (stickiness factors) behind what makes ideas memorable and practical. The Six Principles are:

  • Simplicity: The idea should be easy to explain and understand.
  • Unexpectedness: It should not be expected by the audience.
  • Concreteness: It should be specific, concrete, and grounded in the physical world.
  • Credibility: The idea should come from a credible source or have a strong emotional appeal.
  • Emotions: Ideas with strong positive emotions have more sticking power than those with scary or negative emotions.
  • Stories: A compelling story draws people in and helps them relate to your idea.

Stickiness Factors

The key to effective communication, whether in business or elsewhere, is understanding what grabs someone’s attention. Ideas that are easy to understand and interesting will often come across better than more complicated or boring ideas.

It’s hard to make ideas stick in a noisy, unpredictable, chaotic environment. If we’re to succeed, the first step is this: Be simple. Not simple in terms of ‘dumbing down’ or ‘sound bites.’ You don’t have to speak in monosyllables to be simple. What we mean by ‘simple’ is finding the core of the idea.


When you’re trying to spread an idea, it should be easily understood and explained. The simpler the idea is, the more people will remember it.

“Common sense is the enemy of sticky messages, if I already “get” what you’re trying to tell me, why should I be obsessed about remembering it.”

The principle of simplicity is about making an idea easy to explain and understand. An idea isn’t memorable if the audience can’t grasp it, so it needs to be straightforward.

“We can’t unlearn what we already know and there are only two ways to beat the curse, the first is not to learn anything, the second is to transform our ideas.”


There is no such thing as a surprise anymore. Everything you do is expected and predictable. That’s why the next time you want to tell your audience something, try not to be predictable.

“To get someone’s attention break a pattern of thinking.”

We live in a world where we’re saturated with advertising on a daily basis. We know what product is going to come out and when it’ll launch. We know how you’re going to market the product and what its features are going to be. We know all of this because we’ve seen it before.

What’s worse? When brands use these same marketing strategies over and over again, they don’t leave any room for creativity or ingenuity. It’s like déjà vu all over again!

But you can break free of that cycle by launching an unexpected campaign that people won’t see coming.

When people see your brand doing something radically different than what they’re used to, it creates a sense of intrigue and curiosity about the whole brand and everything it offers. The moment people become curious about your brand, you have them hooked. If they learn more, they’ll likely convert into customers—or at the very least want to keep up with anything new you might do in the future!


For an idea to be memorable, it needs to be simple and concrete. One good way to do this is by using a story. Stories are a great way to get people connected with your idea and use their imagination to see your product or service.

If you have a restaurant, instead of just saying that you serve food, tell them the story about how the first dish came about or what type of atmosphere they could expect when they come in. Think about any stories you could share that might make your business more understandable and concrete.


Many people have used the saying “they have a lot of credibility” when referring to someone or something that they trust. For an idea to be credible, it needs to come from a reputable source.

If you are trying to make your idea stickier, try finding someone more credible to back up your claim. Maybe it’s a celebrity with the same interest as you or an expert in the field.

“The company wants to sell you more shampoo, your friend doesn’t, so she gets more trust points.”

For example, let’s say you are selling t-shirts for pet owners and you want people to buy more t-shirts. You could use more credible sources like animal experts or celebrities who love their pets by featuring them on your website.

This way, not only will you have some great testimonial videos or photos on your website, but more people will believe what you’re saying because it is coming from a high-credible person.


Emotions are a key ingredient in the process of making a memorable idea. They help you make connections to ideas, they motivate action, and they inspire people to share.

Combining emotion with another one of the six principles can be an excellent way to effectively communicate your idea. For example, if your message is about how it feels when you lose a loved one, try conveying that emotion through a story rather than just factually stating the message.

The authors recommend using specific emotions to get readers’ attention and interest. These emotions include joy, pride, compassion, awe, and even anger or frustration.


If you want your idea to be memorable, you need a story. Stories have been going around since the beginning of time. They are a way of passing knowledge from one generation to another.

In a business setting, a story can help your audience relate to your product or service and also provide them with information about the best ways to use it.

“Mental stimulation is not as good as actually doing something. But it’s the next best thing. And the right kind of a story is a simulation.”

Storytelling is an effective tool because it helps people retain what they’ve heard more than if they were told the same thing without the context of a story. A good story can make people feel like they know you and your business better than if you just gave them facts about it.

As an important part of marketing, public relations, and advertising, copywriting is one of the most difficult but rewarding skills to master. It takes patience and creativity to write the perfect words that will communicate your message in a way that makes it stand out.

The following is an excerpt from the six most important insights from ‘Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die‘:
1) The only thing that makes ideas stickier than good marketing is good meaning.
2) You can make ideas more convincing by giving them what we call “edge.”
3) There are two kinds of evidence: facts and feelings. The best spokespeople combine both kinds of evidence.
4) When you’re talking about tough subjects, start by acknowledging what’s wrong before you offer a solution.
5) To get people’s attention, show them something unexpected or unanticipated-even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.

The book ‘Made to Stick‘ is about how ideas become popular. The authors share insights on what it takes to make an idea catch fire. 

If you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner, or just someone with a good idea, then this is the book for you. Made to Stick will teach you how to craft ideas that people will remember and use. In this age of information overload, it’s hard to cut through the clutter and get noticed. The world is now filled with messages from every direction—ads on TV, ads on the internet, ads at work. In short, people are overloaded with information.

And as a result, they have learned to be extremely skeptical about what they hear and read. For your message to stand out against all of this noise, it has to be worth remembering and worth acting upon. That’s what this book is all about: how great leaders can achieve excellence by mastering the art of communication.

When it comes to creating a successful marketing campaign or article that will be passed along for years to come, remember these six principles: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotion and Stories!

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