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Stick This Idea

Recently, I read a fascinating book called Made to Stick, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (yes, they're brothers, a Stanford professor and a Duke Corporate Education consultant, respectively) that talks about what makes some ideas resonate, grow legs, and spread while others are quickly forgotten. With a nod to Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, the brothers Heath boil down their studies of infectious ideas, from Subway's Jared-the-fat-student-becomes-Jared-the-svelte-spokesman campaign to great teachers to the rat-in-your-fried-chicken urban legend that refuses to die.

In their estimation, the "sticky" idea is simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and contains a final element, "story." With its clear, concise writing, fascinating examples, and a topic that applies to everyone from writers to advertisers to heads of state, Made to Stick practices what it preaches. (It also has a memorable & clever 3-D cover, with a crinkled piece of "duct tape" across its front.)

And maybe, just maybe, it will help me build a better mousetrap the next time I write a novel.

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