Tatyana Deryugina (Twitter: @TDeryugina)

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Made to Stick

Posted 06 May 10 by Tatyana

I just finished "Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath. When this book was first recommended to me as something that could help me with presentations, I thought it would consist of fluff useful for salesmen and inspirational speakers. Fluff doesn’t work on academics. But just as sick people will go to homeopaths and witch doctors when they’re really desperate, sometimes circumstances call for extreme measures.

As you can (hopefully) guess, I wouldn’t be so open about my reservations if I didn’t like the book. It’s an excellent discussion of the basic principles that make people remember your ideas. After the first few chapters, I was convinced that their recommendations are applicable in many situations, including academic papers and seminars.

Along the way, you also learn that Sherlock Holmes never used the phrase, "Elementary, my Dear Watson”, that the phrase "Nice guys finish last” originated by someone being quoted out of context, that you can get Macy’s purchases gift wrapped at Nordstrom, and that there used to be as much fat in a bag of popcorn as in a table laden with junk food.

"Made to Stick” isn’t "entertainment” reading, but if you’re in a profession where you need to communicate ideas to other people in a way that makes them remember it, I would recommend it.

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