Excursions

by Amit Gawande

I finished reading Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath. I wanted to love this book - the premise is brilliant. But it reads like a textbook, and that’s no way to make a message stick with your readers. For that matter, that doesn’t even look to be the author’s intention.

To start with, the book lacks a clear, central idea that every chapter circles back to - it’s all over the place. It digs into the history to find and describe every event, research or anecdote where a difficult message was conveyed effectively. Once it does that, the author summaries his understanding of why that worked.

First, the author nonchalantly tells you what the learning is – “Which message do you think works best? Of course, second”. I’m sorry, but let the reader come to that conclusion. Don’t beat him on the head till he gives up and agrees in frustration.

Second, each time the reasons that the message was effectively conveyed in each story are too varied – it references almost every phycological/managerial techniques - Maslow’s hierarchy and five whys and on & on.

Finally, suggestions like be simple/concrete, don’t bury the lead, capture attention etc are easier said that done. They are a set of skill that all understand they should have, but not every person has in equal doses. Please, your suggestion cannot be “become a master public speaker or leader or designer”.

Sigh, it was frustrating to read through this book. Ironically, it fails to follow the message it wishes to convey - talk about one message, be simple and concise. It would have stuck with me then. 📚