Friday, April 06, 2007

It's the economy, stupid: Ideas that Stick

Several months ago, a woman came to the desk in search of a book. She couldn't remember much about it. She believed it had something to do with marketing. She also remembered the duct tape on the cover. I was stunned - I imagined a book fashioned entirely of the silver adhesive - could they do that? Sadly, my searching was in vain and I was not able to locate the book she wanted.

Nearly a week later a new book caught my attention. The cover was an eye-catching orange and, on the front, an image of duct tape stretched across the center. The mystery was solved (a bit late, admittedly). The book? Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. Ironically, the title didn't stick for our guest, but duct tape fixes anything.

This book is, in a word, surprising. Ideas don't sound very exciting, but the "sticky" ones do - the ones that make an impact, the ones that unite, the ones that guide our actions. In the above example, James Carville used the phrase "The economy, stupid" to focus the message of Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign. Sticky ideas are often found in urban legends, or successful advertisements ("Where's the beef?") They're even found where they don't exist (Sherlock Holmes never actually said "It's elementary, my dear Watson.")

I'm a librarian. I read books for free, but I want to buy this book. You want to read it. It's not just for marketing directors; it's for anyone who wants to communicate effectively.

PS: I actually listened to the audiobook, which makes the hours spent commuting seem worthwhile.

PPS: Want more information? See the authors' blog of the same name.

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