📗 Read pages i-62 of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

📗 Started: Read pages i-62 (Introduction and Chapter 1) of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dan Heath (Random House, , ISBN: 978-1400064281)

This seemed interesting in the library when I browsed by, so I picked it up. Seems a quick/easy read. Covers some interesting material related to ars memorativa which I may find interesting. They also make some references to schema within Hollywood, so that may be useful too.

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Introduction

Or is it possible to make a true, worthwhile idea circulate as effectively as this false idea?

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 5

How many times have I thought of this very topic?
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When we get advice on communicating, it often concerns our delivery: “Stand up straight, make eye contact, use appropriate hand gestures. Practice, practice, practice (but don’t sound canned).” Sometimes we get advice about structure “Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em. Tell ’em, then tell ’em what you told ’em.” Or “Start by getting their attention–tell a joke or a story.”
Another genre concerns knowing your audience: “know what your listeners care about so you can tailor your communication to them.” And, finally, there’s the most common refrain in the realm of communication advice: Use repetition, repetition, repetition.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 9

The common refrains, many of which can be useless.
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Which way will stick? And how do you know in advance?

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 10

This can be the holy grail of teaching…
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What makes urban legends so compelling? […] Why does virtually every society circulate a set of proverbs? Why do some political ideas circulate widely while others fall short?

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 12

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This book is a complement to The Tipping Point [by Malcolm Gladwell] in the sense that it will identify the traits that make ideas sticky, a subject that was beyond the scope of Gladwell’s book.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 13

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Researchers discovered something shocking about the candy-tampering epidemic: It was a myth.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 14

I’ve always suspected that this was the case but never saw any evidence or reportage that back up this common Halloween myth. In fact, I recall taking candy to local hospitals for radio-graphic exams.
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In other words, the best social science evidence reveals that taking candy from strangers is perfectly okay. It’s your family you should worry about.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 14

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Introduction: Six Principles of Sticky Ideas

Both stories highlighted an unexpected danger in a common activity: eating Halloween candy and eating movie popcorn. Both stories called for simple action […] both made use of vivid, concrete images that cling easily to memory […] and both stories tapped into emotion: [fear… disgust…]

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 14-15

Many of these strike a cord from my memory training, which I suspect plays a tremendous part. Particularly the vividly clear and concrete details.
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There is no “formula” for a sticky idea–we don’t want to overstate the case. But sticky ideas do draw from a common set of traits, which make them more likely to succeed.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 15

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… we an genetically engineer our players. We can create ideas with an eye to maximizing their stickiness.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 16

This isn’t far from my idea of genetically engineering memes when I read Dawkins back in the day…
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  1. Simplicity […] Proverbs are the ideal. We must create ideas that are both simple and profound.
  2. Unexpectedness
  3. Concretness […] because our brains are wired to remember concrete data.
  4. Credibility
  5. Emotions […] We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions.
  6. Stories

[…] To summarize, here’s our checklist for creating a successful idea: a Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Story. […] S.U.C.C.E.S.s

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 16-18

This seems to be the forthcoming core of the book.
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It’s not as though there’s a powerful constituency for overcomplicated, lifeless prose.

Highlight (blue) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 5

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Sadly, there is a villain in our story. The villain is a natural psychological tendency that consistently confounds our ability to create ideas using these principles. It’s called the Curse of Knowledge.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 19

The example they give of the [music] Tappers and Listeners is great to illustrate the Curse of Knowledge.
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You can’t unlearn what you already know. There are, in fact, only two ways to beat the Curse of Knowledge reliably. The first is not to learn anything. The second is to take your ideas and transform them.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 20

The JFK pitch to get a man on the moon was a great example here.
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Introduction: Systematic Creativity

They found that 89 percent of the award-winning ads could be classified into six basic categories, or templates. […] (For the other templates,
see the endnotes.) […] Amazingly, when the researchers tried to classify these “less successful” ads, they could classify only 2 percent of them [using the previous 6 categories]. […] It appears that there are indeed systematic ways to produce creative ideas.

Highlight (green) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 22 & 24

This is some very interesting data. I should track this reference down. Particularly when they did the follow up of training groups in these methods (or not) and realizing that those with the templates did far better with minimal training.
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Chapter 1: Simple

The [Army] plans often turn out to be useless.
“The trite expression we always use is No plan survives contact with the enemy,” says Colonel Tom Kolditz, the head of the behavioral sciences division at West Point.
“You may start off trying to fight your plan, but the enemy gets a vote. Unpredictable things happen–the weather changes, a key asset is destroyed, the enemy responds in a way you don’t expect.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple > Page 25

aka Complexity…
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So, in the 1980’s the Army adapted its planning process, inventing a concept called Commander’s Intent (CI).

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple > Page 26

The way to plan around complexity to some extent.
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It’s hard to make ideas stick in a noisy, unpredictable, chaotic environment. If we’re to succeed, the first step is this: Be simple. […]
What we mean by “simple” is finding the core of the idea. […] Finding the core is analogous to writing the Commander’s Intent.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple > Page 27-28

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The French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery once offered a definition of engineering elegance: “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Highlight (blue) – Chapter 1: Simple > Page 28

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Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple > Pages 28-46

Some interesting examples in the sections on “Finding the Core at Southwest Airlines”, “Burying the Lead”, “If you Say Three Things, You Don’t Say Anything.”, and “Decision Paralysis”
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Proverbs are simple yet profound. Cervantes defined proverbs as “short sentences drawn from long experience.”

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “A Bird in the Hand” > Page 47

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The first documented case in English is from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress in 1678. But the proverb may be much older still.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple > Page 47

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J FKFB INAT OUP SNA SAI RS
vs
JFK FBI NATO UPS NASA IRS

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “Using What’s There” > Page 51-52

Interesting example for both memory and a definition of information.
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How does complexity emerge from simplicity? We will argue that it is possible to create complexity through the artful use of simplicity.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple > Page 53

This is how most would probably argue and it’s the magic behind complicated things like evolution.
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Schemas help us create complex messages from simple materials.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “Complexity from Simplicity” > Page 55

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A great way to avoid useless accuracy, and to dodge the Curse of Knowledge, is to use analogies. Analogies derive their power from schemas:
A pomelo is like a grapefruit. A good news story is structured like a pyramid.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “Schemas in Hollywood: High-concept Pitches” > Page 57

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The high-concept pitches don’t always reference other movies. E.T., for instance, was pitched as “Lost alien befriends lonely boy to get home.”

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “Schemas in Hollywood: High-concept Pitches” > Page 58

I’m not sure of the background of the actual pitch, but a little massaging really makes E.T. the tried and true story of a boy and his dog, but this time the dog is an alien! So again, it really is an analogy to another prior film, namely Lassie!
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Good metaphors are “generative.” The psychologist Donald Schon introduced this term to describe metaphors that generate “new perceptions,
explanations, and inventions.”

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “Generative Analogies” > Page 60

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Contrast Disney with Subway. Like Disney, Subway has created a metaphor for its frontline employees. They are “sandwich artists.” This metaphor is the evil twin of Disney’s “cast members.”

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “Generative Analogies” > Page 61

Evil twin indeed. There’s nothing artistic about their work at all.
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Guide to highlight colors

Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Blue–Interesting Quote
Gray–Typography Problem
Red–Example to work through

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