“Made to Stick” makes it sticky

I get a kick out of it when academics spend a zillion years studying something obvious, quantifying it, categorizing it, slicing and dicing it, deconstructing it and then putting it all back together to prove that in fact everything we already knew is demonstrably true.

Book Review: Made to Stick

Made to Stick

The stolen kidney story.

If you’re still converting oxygen to CO2, you’ve probably heard about the guy who meets an attractive woman in a hotel bar and wakes up in a bathtub of ice. (If you haven’t, well… I dunno – start breathing.)

Made to Stick, by The Brothers Heath explains exactly precisely and intricately why such “stories” are more memorable than “jargon”.

Ok, maybe I’m being a tad harsh.

I actually enjoyed the book. It is well-written. The manner is engaging. The examples are plentiful and helpful. And frankly, the rubric they offer as a way to gauge the “stickiness” of any piece of writing is actually quite useful.

“What is that rubric”, you ask? ( I am so in tune with my readers…)

Duct Tape It To Your Brain

In short, if you want people to understand your message and remember your message, it needs to hit as many of these six hot buttons as possible:

  1. Simpleduct tape
  2. Unexpected
  3. Concrete
  4. Credible
  5. Emotional
  6. Stories

That’s pretty much it.

Good, But Not Great

If you’re a writer who wants to make sure people remember your message, it wouldn’t hurt to absorb the lessons of this book.

I’d call it good but not great.

I’m glad I read it.  I’ll keep it close for reference as I write.

 

What’s on Your Shelf

I own too many books, but these are some of those that I keep very close to me, on the shelf just above my monitor. What’s on your shelf? What books do you keep close?

Power CopywritingPower Copywriting – Lewis
I keep this one in memory of my good friend Ken Jessup who passed several years ago. It’s been a while since I read it; I’ll get back to it. (I have a feeling it is not nearly as good as most of the other copywriting books I own, but I will keep it as a memento.)

How to Write a Good Advertisement – Schwab

This is one of the classics in the field of copywriting. The examples are dated, but the lessons are timeless. Recommended

The Back of the Napkin – Roam

How to make presentations that don’t suck. Highly RecommendedThe Back of the Napkin

Learned Optimism – Seligman

Turns out that you can train your mind into optimism and out of pessimism. Some fascinating and intensely useful stuff here, especially if you have a melancholy bent. Highest Recommendation

Mike Caro’s Book of Tells, the Body Language of Poker – Caro

When I decided to get serious about poker, I started reading. This book came up constantly. It’s… Well, I’m ambiguous about it now. I think this is probably Poker PhD stuff and I’m still working on my Bachelor’s. The jury is still out

The Theory of PokerThe Theory of Poker – Sklansky

Any new skill requires both practice and theory. The best way to learn is to just do it, but after doing it for a while, a study of the theory will put your experience into context as well as show you where there are holes in your understanding. That’s the purpose of this book. Don’t read it until you’ve played a lot of poker. Recommended

Phil Gordon’s Little Blue Book – Gordon

This is the book that changed my poker experience. It is intensely practical, no fluff, no filler, and a terrific read. Highly recommended

The Elements of StyleThe Elements of Style – Strunk & White

There’s something indescribably appealing about this little book. I think perhaps the fact that it embodies the very qualities it promotes: brevity, clarity, potency. I don’t refer to it often, but when I do, it is always a pleasure. Highest Recommendation

Advanced Mathematics – Saxon

I was not the student I wish I would have been when I had the leisure to actually concentrate on learning. This book is helping me fill those gaps in my advanced math. For those who don’t know the Saxon method, it is by far the best way both to teach and learn math.  Highest Recommendation