Modern Educator Blog

Holiday Reading – Made to Stick

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The Tools for Educators series is your how-to guide for utilizing modern technology in and outside the classroom. In this week’s tools for professors post, we look at a book that has surprisingly more to do with education than you might think. It’s called Made to Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die.

What Is It?

Made to Stick is a book written by Chip and Dan Heath. Chip Heath is a professor of organizational behaviour at Stanford and Dan is the co-founder of Thinkwell, a new-media textbook company. The book explores the idea of… well… ideas! What makes an idea great? Why do some ideas go viral while other seemingly good ideas die a slow or quick death? What can you do to make your ideas more sticky? These questions are explored and answered in the book.

Why You Should Use Read It

Made to Stick isn’t a book about teaching. It’s marketed as a marketing / business book, however, after reading it a few times I am convinced that every teacher should read it.

Teaching is all about imparting ideas and finding unique and creative wells to “sell” your ideas to students is a great skill to develop.

The book uses stories as one of the primary learning vehicles. Each chapter or section starts with a case study or story that ties the whole concept together. It’s a great way to contextualize the message and then get all the nitty gritty stats and details as you move through the chapter.

Finally, the book comes with a series of exercises that you can do to hone your skills. I found some of them to be less useful than others, but overall they are very useful. The best exercises are when they present an idea to you in a boring way and then you are challenged to re-frame it in an exciting and sticky way. It’s a lot of fun, especially if you have a partner or colleague to do it with.

The Killer Feature

Chip and Dan use an acronym throughout the book to tie their message together. SUCCES s

Simple.
Unexpected.
Concrete.
Credible.
Emotional.
Stories.

In order for an idea to be sticky it must posses all or most of these qualities.

What is remarkable is that Made to Stick follows these rules too! The entire book is written using the principles that they are preaching. It’s genius!

How Much Does It Cost?

Made it stick costs $19 for the Hardcover or $17 for the Kindle edition. However, as a special treat for the holidays I want to try something. The first person to leave a comment will get a copy for themselves!

Where can I get it?

See above ;)

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Kent always wanted to be a doctor, until he built his first software application. He has been hooked on software and design ever since. Kent received his Masters in Computer Science from the University of Toronto and really wishes that Top Hat existed when he was a TA.
  • Tracy

    I thought Made to Stick was a great education book. Lots of very relevant info with no edu-bable. :)

    • http://kent.io/ Kent Fenwick

      Thanks for the comment Tracy! Sounds like you already have the book… would you still like a copy? If so, send your mailing address to kent [at] tophat.com.

      Thanks!

  • Kate Jenkins

    Very interesting post – I will order the book online!