‘Made to Stick’ Cover Design

Posted by bryanzug - 2007/02/17


My wife Jen and I were at Powell’s in Portland today and the first thing I saw when I walked in the door was this book ‘Made to Stick’ with a piece of duct tape on the cover.


That’s cool cover design. And it got me to look at and buy the book. The six points of stickiness it covers —

  1. Simplicity
  2. Unexpectedness
  3. Concreteness
  4. Credibility
  5. Emotion
  6. Stories

I was just having a ‘discussion’ the other day about stickiness with a colleague of mine — what are the things that get an idea or a presentation to stand out and stay with? What are the characteristics of ideas that, when released into the world around us, make them take flight and establish a life of their own?

Hard questions — especially amidst all of the ‘noise of the age’ that clutters our current generations, from MySpace to Baby Boomer to Seasoned Citizens.

Me? I come down with most of the things on this list — so it’s timely.

Him? Not so much — instead he called catering to such things entertainment — and, well, he’s in the education business, not the entertainment business.

I was surprised again at how some lies die such slow deaths.

If you are in any kind of educational endeaver please drop this from your language — we are not in the entertainment business — we are in the attention span business.

And if you are not working to make your material sticky, then you are just wasting a lot of people’s time.


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  1. Hmmm… as a technology consultant I consider myself to be an educator of sorts. Again and again I discuss with my mentors and peers this concept of stickiness (we use the term “getting the client to the spot”). Every phone call, meeting, email, status report, etc. with a client (the list inlcudes Microsoft and other enterprise level companies) is considered a prescious moment in time, which can never be recaptured, and every situation is an opportunity to get to the spot. The spot may be: understanding the ramifications (schedule/cost) of changing some functional requirement, or helping to understand the reasons for the selected technology to implement a business solution.

    My clients are typically double/triple booked, with large simultaneous intiatives. I’m convinced I only have 3/4 sentences to get them there, and I use a variety of tools depending on my need. They include: pictures with Visio, tables in Word, a spoken metaphor, a working prototype. Hell, if the needs change in the middle of a meeting, I’ll scratch a workflow diagram on a napkin with the best of them. Regardless, I’m not entertaining with pretty pictures – I’M HELPING MY CLIENT UNDERSTAND.

    Should they be punished by pithy explanations because I can’t communicate the point concisely?

    Comment by Paul — February 18, 2007 #



    Comment by Bryan Zug — February 21, 2007 #

  3. I’m a university prof myself and couldn’t agree more. As faculty, are we interested in how much we teach or how much students LEARN. For me, it’s about learning, and so making sure that there’s a “sticky” side to knowledge is vital–a core competency–to being an educator.

    Comment by John — April 11, 2007 #

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