6 Things to Take Away From the book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

             Authors Chip Heath & Dan Heath sure wrote an incredible book applicable for teachers, advertisers, storytellers, and anybody else with a message they’re trying to convey. There are 6 core ideas you need for SUCCESS. Simplicity. Unexpectedness. Concreteness. Credibility. Emotional. Stories. Chip & Dan use questions to give readers an idea of the type of content to expect in each section. I’ll provide both the questions, and answers, saving you some valuable reading time you could actually spend reading this book because it would be worth it.


1. Simplicity. 

“How do you strip an idea to its core without turning it into a silly sound bite?”

What’s the bottom line? “If we do nothing else during tomorrow’s mission, we must ______” OR “The single, most important thing that we must do tomorrow is ______” Be simple. Find the core of your message and get that across.

2. Unexpectedness.

“How do you capture people’s attention…and hold it?”

Don’t be so predictable. Think of Nordstrom. Here are a couple examples of Nordstrom workers being amazing, “The Nordie who ironed a new shirt for a customer who needed it for a meeting that afternoon.” “the Nordie who cheerfully gift wrapped products a customer bought at Macy’s” AND “the Nordie who refunded money for a set of tire chains – although Nordstrom doesn’t sell tire chains.” 


3. Concreteness.

“How do you help people understand your idea and remember it much later?”

Stick to the core. Stay grounded. “Biology students try to remember whether reptiles lay eggs or not. Biology teachers think in terms of the grand system of animal taxonomy.” Essentially, if the test question is ‘Reptiles lay eggs: True or False?’ abstract thoughts such as that of taxonomic classifications are not concrete enough. “Novices perceive concrete details as concrete details. Experts perceive concrete details as symbols of patterns…They want to talk about chess strategies, not about bishops moving diagonally.”


4. Credibility.

“How do you get people to believe your idea?”

“The researchers carefully tested the arguments with and without vidid details to ensure that they had the same perceived importance.” Basically, the details were not relevant to the function of the story, yet researchers were testing their role in argumentation. “Even though the details shouldn’t have mattered, they did…They boosted the credibility of the argument.” If you can see a picture, it’s easier for you to imagine the scenario, thus making the message with vivid details more believable and thus, stick!.


5. Emotional.

“How do you get people to care about your idea?”

Think of Mother Teresa. No, not my grandma! The one who said, “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” Chip & Dan describe, in a request for charity donations for the well-being of children world-wide, a more effective advertising campaign would be to share the story of one young child rather than a statistic. This way, we can relate to one rather than trying to understand the whole.


6. Stories.

“How do you get people to act on your idea?”

Jared from Subway.


Game On: Positioning (The Battle For Your Mind)

A Response To The Classic Novel: Positioning by Al Ries & Jack Trout

I get it now. Positioning. Positioning happens in the mind of the consumer, no where else. To successfully position oneself, whether a product, idea, person, etc., you must have a dependent to position against. Think football players. If you had one player standing in an empty field, he isn’t doing anything. Add an opposing player standing in front of him, and the two now have relative positions. The battle in our minds begin. Do we want the home team or the away team? Do we want the brand we’ve been loyal to or do we want the new kid on the block? Positioning is a relative game played in consumers minds. It’s like chess, but without the board.


The book finally clicked for me when I read about how automobiles were first introduced into the marketplace. If we’re continuing with the football analogy, think back to when that first player was standing alone in the field. There was no game. There was no excitement. There was nothing happening. No competition. No sales. No profit. Now instead of being introduced as a new player on an empty field, early advertisers positioned automobiles as horseless-carriages, taking a familiar construct in the consumers mind, such as the understanding of a game of football, and adding a new player on the visitors side.


If you’re the first to fill a marketplace, you’ll likely dominate that segment for the foreseeable future. The book describes how we’re in love with first. Who’s the first person you’ve ever kissed? Who’s the second? What’s the first movie you ever watched? What’s the second? While being the first is often times a blessing, Avis used their second place position to their benefit. “Why go with us? We try harder.” Thus, when Avis attempted to claim the number one position from Hertz, they faced opposition. What worked for Avis was their positioning as second, not being the best. Or think 7-Up as the “uncola,” positioning itself as an alternative to either Coke or Pepsi.


Positioning is all around us, and the battle for our minds are played by marketers world-wide. Are we the masters of our own destiny, or are we simply puppets on strings?

A glimpse into “The Future of Advertising”

This post is a direct response to Danielle Sacks’ 2010 article, “The Future of Advertising” nearly 6 years later.

There’s no doubt the advertising world is changing, our entire world is rapidly evolving every second at speeds that used to be deemed unfathomable. The article basically details how trends in advertising are evolving, and a lot of people are falling behind. The article gives them excuses, saying that because the advertising industry is changing people are out of jobs. I disagree. I think those people are either too lazy, close minded, or unequipped to handle the change in reality. The book “Paradigms” by Joel Barker gives this great graph (as shown below) which demonstrates the slope at which change occurs in the business world.


The only catch is, due to the internet, the slope has gotten much steeper, and there are more. Essentially, if the small circle in the lower left hand corner of the chart was the creation of mobile phones, twitter, email, youtube, the first few who understand how to use the platform correctly will see massive success. Gary Vaynerchuck, who’s website you can access here (or by clicking on his name), started his youtube channel “Wine Library” only four months after the launch of YouTube. He saw the potential. He saw the paradigm shift. Anyone complaining and not working doesn’t have a winning mindset, one comprising of what it takes to build a brands awareness in an extremely overcrowded marketplace. While his new book, #AskGaryVee is absolutely incredible, one of his earlier ones, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How To Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World” explains just that. If I were to choose to take my advice from either someone who’s out of a job because they’re a “digital immigrant” or Gary Vee who’s an actual immigrant about to buy the freakin’ New York Jets, I’ll take Gary Vee any day of the week..

I’m 20. Hence, I wasn’t alive in the 1960s and other eras that seem to have occurred in black and white in my head. Y’all, that must have been a very boring time for advertising. The entire creative process of making an advertisement was set up like an assembly line. There was a whole system to follow, and a step by step guide each person, whether an executive director or account manager would step up, fill in, and wait for the next one. You could do the same thing at a McDonald’s drive through. One person takes the order, the next hands it, then you wait for the next customer to pull up to the window. Luckily, times are changing. New titles are appearing thanks to new advancements in digital technology. The book “Growth Hacker” by Ryan Holiday actually discusses ways in which advertising budgets were able to maximize ROI by finding alternative ways to earn free media and consumer attention. At the end of each outgoing email from a user’s account, Hotmail added a little tag saying “Get your free email at Hotmail.” They leveraged existing users along with existing digital technology, and didn’t have to spend a cent. You may now recognize the “Sent from my iPhone” tag that followed suit.


Thanks for reading this. If you found any value in it, please share it along. If you’re Gary Vaynerchuck, I’ll take an internship please!!! I’m not sure if you know if or not, but you’re definitely a huge mentor of mine.

Michael Rizzo. Email with questions or inquiries: mikeyrizzo.rizzo@gmail.com


6 Books You Must Read This Summer 2016


“I never read much until I started reading. I haven’t stopped since.”

6. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

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5. The Marketing Blueprint by Jules Marcoux


4. Trust Me I’m Lying Big by Ryan Holiday

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3. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves

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2. Unconscious Branding by Douglas Van Praet

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1. The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell

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Top 10: Books To Read By Age 20

I’ll be the first to admit it… I used to hate reading. I found every way around it in school through sparknotes, hope the teacher would read our assigned chapters out loud in class, or just show up unprepared and hope for the best. When I stopped trying to read what everyone was telling me to, and read what I wanted to, I found that each book on this list has changed my life.

“…I found that each book on this list has changed my life.”


10. Relentless by Tim Grover

If you need a kick in the ass, I recommend picking up this book. If you love basketball or want to be the greatest of all time at whatever it is you do, this your time will be well spent holding onto every word.

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10. Relentless by Tim Grover

9. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Peale

I love reading about different ways the law of attraction is explained. Here, Peale writes about manifesting your thoughts into their physical equivalent. Essentially, the book can be summed up in five words, it’s about the power of positive thinking.

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The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Peale

8. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

This may be the longest book on the list, but each chapter is just as important as the next. If you’ve read it, let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

7. Paradigms by Joel Barker

Hell yes. This book really demonstrates the advantages of understanding how you think. When you change your paradigms, your possibilities change with it.

“When the rules change, the whole world can change.”

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Paradigms by Joel Barker

6. The ABCs of Success by Bob Proctor

Damn Bobby P, back at it again with an amazing novel. I think I read this book in a matter of hours and called up a few of my friends and business parters immediately after, stressing how badly they needed to get this.

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The ABCs of Success by Bob Proctor

5. Third Circle Theory by Secret Entourage

Read until you understand the diagram on the cover. It might take you until the end, but I guarantee you’ll never see it the same way.

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Third Circle Theory by Secret Entourage

4. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

I got sunburned the day I took that picture. Since I have it in front of me while I’m writing this, I’ll type a quote from the book,

“The how-to-do-it always comes to the person who believes he can do it.”

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The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

3. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

This book really puts into perspective why we do things. For anyone interested in business, advertising, or understanding why people do certain things, give it a quick read.

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The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

2. Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill

Some authors, like Napoleon Hill, I study in depth. His first book I ever read was Think and Grow Rich, and I have another one of his, The Master Key to Riches, sitting on a shelf right above me.

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Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill

1. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

While every other book on this list can change how you think or lift you to greater levels of success, The Power of Now gives all of it so much more meaning and helps teach the reader how to live in the moment, find your purpose, and gain the greatest amount of fulfillment possible.

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The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle


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