Made to Stick

Made to Stick – Book Review

By: Chip And Dan Heath

Principle #1: Simple  

Chip and Dan Heath, in their book “Made To Stick,” emphasize the power of simplicity in making ideas memorable. The key is to be masters of exclusion, as a simple idea is more likely to be remembered. A notable example is Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign slogan “IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID!” which kept the focus on essential issues. Confusing simplicity with being simplistic should be avoided to create a message that resonates and sticks.

Principle #2: Unexpected  

The second principle focuses on unexpectedness, drawing attention to J.F.K.’s surprise announcement in 1961 about landing a man on the moon. The unexpected captures and retains interest, leveraging our brain’s tendency to notice things that differ. Avoiding jargon and clichés in marketing, storytelling, or speeches helps unearth the unexpected, making the message more compelling.

Principle #3: Concrete

The third principle, concreteness, underscores the importance of using tangible, sensory-related data to enhance memory. The brain is wired to remember concrete information, as demonstrated by the success of Guinness World Records or Letterman’s top ten lists. In crafting marketing messages or sales pitches, incorporating concrete data creates lasting associations and ensures the message sticks.

Principle #4: Credible 

Credibility, the fourth principle, highlights the impact of using meaningful facts. While skepticism surrounds statistics, the brain is naturally inclined to believe in data. Stephen Covey’s example from “The 8th Habit” demonstrates transforming a meaningless statistic into a compelling thought, showcasing the opportunity to build credibility by presenting facts in a meaningful context.

Principle #5: Emotional 

Making things emotional, the fifth principle, taps into the idea that emotion leads to action. Research from a Carnegie Mellon study reveals that emotional appeals lead to increased spending, emphasizing the importance of connecting with human stories. This principle is crucial in marketing, where emotional storytelling influences behavior and makes messages more memorable.

Principle #6: Stories

The final principle revolves around the use of stories. The example of Jared, the Subway sandwich guy who lost 245 pounds, illustrates the power of combining simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, and emotion into a single, sticky story. Organizations are encouraged to evaluate their stories, ensuring they align with these success principles to enhance memorability and effectiveness.


In a world filled with information overload, the principles of simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotion, and storytelling offer a roadmap to creating ideas that stick. By applying these principles to marketing, communication, and storytelling efforts, individuals and organizations can cut through the noise, leaving a lasting impression on their audience. Crafting messages that are not only memorable but also resonate emotionally increases the likelihood of driving action and achieving success.

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