Made To Stick – Chip & Dan Heath
(May 2007) – Not to be overly dramatic with this, but I think Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die is the new age Bible of effective communication. I’m not sure I need to say anything more than that (but of course I will.) This book came out in January of 2007 and immediately became a bestseller. In the February 2007 issue of FastCompany Magazine, the Heath brothers debuted their monthly column, which is every bit as good as the groundbreaking work they did in their book. A column that I share often is titled Polarize Me, which is a great example of how they apply the principles of good communication practices to familiar situations.
Communication is the foundation of all else. If you can’t get this right, whatever else you do well will be lost. Communication has become paramount in an age when we are constantly bombarded with information. Here’s the thing: most people don’t know there is a difference between information and communication. People will give you information (my loathing of PowerPoint is well documented), and they will talk at you and present you with facts and figures, and a dynamic presentation to go with it. But what good is any of that, if not a single idea can be recalled afterward. And if it can’t be recalled, can it be acted upon? Uh . . . most likely not.
This book is such an engaging read, but very practical as well. It’s really a “how-to” book on communication, and the building blocks of their fundamental theories culminate in a final chapter that will in fact “stick” with you long afterward. For me, it affected not only how I communicate ideas to others – verbally, visually, and in writing – but I evaluate almost everything I see, read or hear according to how “sticky” the message or idea really is. The truth is, we are inundated with excessive use of language every day that is nearly meaningless when you get down to what we actually remember or use. It makes sense that when we master the skill of communication, we insure a much higher level of success in all else we undertake. I just loved this book!