So you have this great idea, that you know is going to make more money for you and your firm. But how will you convince your boss, his boss and your peers that it's the right approach? Your contrarian ideas tend to hold no water among regular people, who are happy with the status quo and don't want to take risks. Meanwhile, Fred in the office next door is able to push all his initiatives through. Why is that?
In Made To Stick, Cheap Heath analyzes the differences between ideas that don't go anywhere, and those that "stick". There is a formula for communicating your ideas such that they convince the listener, and Heath claims to have a beat on it.
In fact, some of these techniques are so convincing that they have been used to fool people into believing things that aren't true. One example in the book is the one reproduced below:
I wish to warn you about a new crime ring that is targeting business travelers. This ring is well organized, well funded, has very skilled personnel, and is currently in most major cities and recently very active in New Orleans.
The crime begins when a business traveler goes to a lounge for a drink at the end of the work day.
A person in the bar walks up as they sit alone and offers to buy them a drink. The last thing the traveler remembers until they wake up in a hotel room bath tub, their body submerged to their neck in ice, is sipping that drink. There is a note taped to the wall instructing them not to move and to call 911. A phone is on a small table next to the bathtub for them to call.
The business traveler calls 911 who have become quite familiar with this crime.
The business traveler is instructed by the 911 operator to very slowly and carefully reach behind them and feel if there is a tube protruding from their lower back. The business traveler finds the tube and answers, "Yes." The 911 operator tells them to remain still, having already sent paramedics to help. The operator knows that both of the business traveler's kidneys have been harvested.
This is not a scam or out of a science fiction novel, it is real.
It is documented and confirmable. If you travel or someone close to you travels, please be careful.
There are millions of people who believe the above story, even though it is 100% untrue. It has certain elements which are convincing, and it is those elements which Heath claims to have reverse-engineered in order to help you make your ideas stick.