Made To Stick by Chip & Dan Heath: Summary and Notes

Ever wondered why proverbs and urban legends stick around for centuries?

Dan Silvestre
8 min readMay 27, 2021


“When you say three things, you say nothing.”

Rating: 9/10

Related: Decisive, Switch, Contagious, The Psychology of Persuasion, The Tipping Point

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Made To Stick Short Summary

Made To Stick explores why some ideas survive and others die. Chip and Dan Heath lay down the 6 principles behind why some ideas live centuries. A great book on how to write compelling stories.

Why Some Ideas Stick?

Most of the ideas you interact with are interesting, but not sensational. Truthful, but not mind-blowing. Important, but not ‘life or death’. As a result, you forget about them in seconds.

For example:

Can you remember the last ad you’ve seen and what was it about? Probably not.

But why do some ideas stick and others don’t?

There are 6 factors of SUCCESs for stickiness:

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credible
  • Emotional
  • Stories


The goal is to strip an idea to its core without “dumbing down” the message.

“We know that sentences are better than paragraphs. Two bullet points are better than five. Easy words are better than hard words. It’s a bandwidth issue: The more we reduce the amount of information in an idea, the stickier it will be.”

Finding the Core

The military uses simple phrases called Commander’s Intentions to communicate the objective of a mission.

“I could spend a lot of time enumerating every specific task, but as soon as people know what the intent is they begin generating their own solutions.”

No plan survives the contact with the enemy. The specifics don’t really matter. What matters is…



Dan Silvestre

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