Why Some Ideas Stick

February 7th, 2007 by katherine


The Christian Science Monitor has a review of a book by Chip and Dan Heath entitled “Made to Stick…”

Says the article:

“It didn’t matter whether the ideas themselves were good or bad, just that they’d ’stuck.’ (Not only is the Great Wall of China not the sole man-made structure visible from space; it isn’t visible from space at all. And still…)

What the Heaths discovered was that the stickiest ideas, regardless of intrinsic merit, had a lot in common. Or, more accurately, the ways they were presented had a lot in common.

Each of these ideas, as conveyed, could be described using one or more of just these six à la carte attributes: simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and story-containing. Line up the first letters of those characteristics, add a lower-case “s” (poetic license), and you’ve got the handy acronym SUCCESs.”

Story-containing. Why am I a wee bit gratified, and not too surprised?

I’d argue, too, that the five adjectives besides “story-containing” might properly be thought of as elements of a good story, themselves.

Image: Christian Science Monitor