There’s no disputing the fact that I am a bonafide bookworm. Ever since I was able to read, it’s been difficult to get me to put a book down. This lent itself naturally to my majoring in English as an undergraduate, when I rarely had a chance to put a book down (or two, or three, or twelve) even if I wanted to. I devoured novels and poems and short stories and Shakespeare plays with a combination of passion and necessity (I never found B’s acceptable), and in turn opened my veins onto a keyboard and bled musings of my own for my Creative Writing minor. I’ve faced the fact that I will most likely forever think in poetic prose.
Most of the books I’ve read in my life have been fiction, especially my leisure reading, and I find it blog-worthy to pay homage to an exceptional non-fiction book that is currently occupying my reading life: Chip & Dan Heath’s (how sweet, that brothers wrote a book together!) intentionally catchy best seller Made to Stick, answering the question of “why some ideas survive and others die.”
Well, why do they? Good question. Difficult answer(s).
It’s all about simplifying. Okay, well partly about simplifying, but with a purpose and a concreteness that gives you something “sticky” to retain after you’ve watched a commercial or read a slogan or noticed an ad. It’s about hitting on something unique and unprecedented, or capitalizing on something already pretty good and making it fabulous. We all crave a little of the fabulous, don’t we? I think we do. In a world where everyone lusts after being “uber unique” and “breaking the mold” and “rebelling against the man”, and where the term “emo” was once new and trendy and in a fingersnap became the label most coveted by skinny-jeaned, faux-hawk-sporting, heavily-eyelined, “who cares”-attituded-wanna-be-unique high school kids (not to mention half of the new pop-punk bands), I think it’s safe to say that we’ve become so sensory and culturally overloaded that hardly anything catches our attention long enough to make a lasting, transcendent impact and really turn our heads.
And if there’s one thing you’d think we all aspire to be, it’s a head-turner, right?
Okay, okay…so maybe we won’t all admit to that, and I’ll let that go [for now – but be on the alert for future blogs about how to turn heads]. But in all honesty…these brothers are onto something, these Heaths. Their book sticks.
Like this sticky nugget: “If you say 3 things, you don’t say anything.”
So choose your words carefully, if you even think of speaking as a choice at all (for those of us who tend to realize we have thoughts only after they fly out of our ever-eager mouths, this could be an interesting lesson in self-awareness – or possibly in the auditory courtesy we should consider offering to those at whom we toss our loose-lipped sentiments).
I won’t unpack that quote for you. Make it stick for yourself.