On today show we are featuring the book of the month. In order to be considered for book of the month, a book has to meet a very simple criteria. Work must be impactful enough to change your life or your perspective on the world. Whether it does or not of course is up to you. You might consume the content, remark on how good it is, and continue your life as before. But if you do you’re missing the point.

Our book this month is by two brothers who are both university professors on opposite sides of the country. Chip and Dan Heath are professors at Duke and Stanford University. They have written several books together and the book I’d like to showcase is called “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die”. It examines why some ideas are highly memorable and others are completely forgettable. 

If you want your words to be remembered, and if there exists a formula for why some things are memorable, would you want to know that? 

For example, the sentence “ A bird in the hand, is worth two in the tree.”  

That sentence is nearly 1000 years old. Why is it that sentence has been repeated time and time again and has lasted nearly 1000 years? Of all the other sentences that have been uttered in the last thousand years this one has been repeated billions of times. Not only that, the same sentence also exists in multiple languages almost Word for Word.

I’ll give you a simple example from modern day politics. I have no political affiliation in the US. I live in Canada. There’s lots going on in US politics on both sides of the aisle that I disagree with. If you go back to the last presidential election, Donald Trump’s slogan was “Make America Great Again “. Even democrats remember that slogan. 

But if you were to ask any American what Hilary Clinton’s slogan was, the vast majority have no idea. Even most democrats can’t remember Hillary Clinton’s slogan. Speaking in a way that is memorable is vitally important. 

Robert Kiyosaki is another person who has mastered the art of memorable communication. Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Savers are losers. Your house is not an asset. The central ideas of a book published 20 years ago are easy to remember and repeat. 

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. Hillary Clinton’s slogan was “I’m with her”. That’s right, “I’m with her”. 

The book’s outline follows the acronym “SUCCES” (with the last s omitted). Each letter refers to a characteristic that can help make an idea “sticky”:

  • Simple – find the core of any idea
  • Unexpected – grab people’s attention by surprising them
  • Concrete – make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later
  • Credible – give an idea believability
  • Emotional – help people see the importance of an idea
  • Stories – empower people to use an idea through narrative

As scriptwriters have learned, curiosity is the intellectual need to answer questions and close patterns. Story tellers oppose this universal desire by doing the opposite, posing questions and opening situations. So, they key is to open gaps first in presenting your ideas, then work to close them; the tendency is to give facts first. The local news uses this technique very well: They might use a hook like 

Coming up after the break, Real estate expert Victor Menasce will be here to show you that if you can’t afford a house, you should buy two. 

That’s an example of a hook that has a surprise twist to it. The idea is simple. If you buy a duplex, you can use the income from renting the other half to subsidize your home ownership. 

If speaking in a memorable way matters to you, “Made to Stick” could change your life.