Made to Stick Audiobook by Chip and Dan Heath – An Audiobook Review

The Made to Stick Audiobook is an excellent rendition of Chip and Dan Heath’s book “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.” The audiobook is performed by Charles Kahlenberg who does a fine job with the reading. The Heath brother’s writing in Made to Stick reminds me a lot of Malcolm Gladwell’s writing still – simple ideas woven together with interesting stories. After all, an audiobook should be entertaining, and The Made To Stick Audiobook does it well.

Chip Heath is a Stanford professor and Dan Heath seems to be a combination of researcher and entrepreneur. It’s a good combination that may explain why the book is so enjoyable and usable.

The basic message of the book can be boiled down to the SUCCES acronym the authors use to try and make their ideas memorable. Although, I have to admit that I seem to have a hard time remembering all the steps.

SUCCES stands for Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotions and Stories. These are the elements that the authors view as the steps to making an idea sticky.

The bulk of the book is made up of stories walking through each of the six steps providing example after example of their ideas.

I really enjoyed their use of urban myths to bring their ideas to life. It’s somewhat scary to see how really successful urban myths exploit the SUCCES steps and become so powerful. The first myth really gets your attention. They tell the story of a man who thinks he’s found a good time in bar when he’s picked up by a pretty woman, but wakes up to a shocking truth. (I won’t tell the end – it would spoil the story.) The myth is simple story that’s easy to understand, the outcome is unexpected, the details are concrete and it leaves you somewhat scared. The myth is a perfect blend of the SUCCES principles in action.

Subway’s Jared campaign plays a staring role as one of the primary examples. Other examples come from advertising campaigns of various sorts, particularly those intended to change large groups of people.

The Made to Stick audiobook provides lots of practical and usable strategies for making your ideas “stick”. This is one area where the authors improve on Gladwell’s style. While I enjoy Gladwell’s books a lot, I find them hard to use in real life. Not so with Made to Stick, the Heath brothers give us a lot to work with.

Be sure to keep a notebook handy while you listen. I found my self want to capture the ideas and make sure they stuck with me, so I can put them into practice.