Book Review: Made to Stick

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath is a fascinating book about why some idea stick and other don't.  They try to get to the heart of what you need to do in presenting an idea so that people understand it and remember it.

In summary they the presentation should be:

  1. Simple
  2. Unexpected
  3. Concrete
  4. Credible
  5. Emotional 
  6. Stories
They make their point using both examples of sticky ideas and research into what sticks and what doesn't.  It's fascinating stuff if you've got any interest in communicating ideas (and if you're a preacher or an evangelist, then you do right?).

Loads of the stuff in here, if you are a preacher or and evangelist you will do anyway.  We all use stories to help make our points and we all make things concrete in application (or at least we know we should).  Interestingly I think you'd find quite a few of the approaches in the Bible and they actually use a couple of Bible stories as examples.  But there is a lot here to make you think and refine your process.  I found that helpful.

There are three queries I expect a few readers would have.  First, is this sort of thing manipulative?  Yes, it could be, but not necessarily.  If we make sure what we are communicating is true, then communicating truth in the best way to help people remember things is a good thing.  Second, isn't there more to it than that if we are Christian, i.e. the Spirit?  Again, yes that is an important caveat.  Spiritual things are only ultimately understood by the spiritual.  So we mustn't think we apply these rules to Bible teaching and we're done.  But again it is still useful to think, how can I best communicate to help people.  Finally, I think my question is whether this is all there is to it in a more general sense and I suspect that it isn't.  Some things can't be communicated in the simple manner they suggest, because they're not simple (although their definition of simple is broader than you might think and does help you think through communicating complex things).  Are there more aspects to good communication, thank these six (Martin Salter has suggested humour for example).

I found this book fascinating and it certainly made me think about my preaching.  It's also an easy read.


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