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August 30, 2010

News & Opinion: How Made to Stick was Made to Stick: What Ideas Survived and What Died

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 8:48 PM – Filed under: Marketing & Sales

We really loved the Heath Brother's first book, What Sticks: Why Some Ideas Work in the World and Others Don't, when it first arrived in our office in 2007. So much, in fact, that we saved the manuscript—something we rarely do due to the staggering amount of books we receive every year.


The subtitle was a little unruly, but the ideas spiral-bound up in that plastic cover were concise, well-written, and right on.

We liked it so much that we also saved the galley when it came through (also rare) which reflects the first major change to the book. It's title was tightened up and, subtly yet dramatically, improved to Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Don't. But you'll notice the galley uses Post-it® notes on the cover, which if anything are known for their lack of adhesive strength—not exactly the ideal product to demonstrate something that was made to stick. Maybe this was never meant to be the final cover, as most of the text on the various Post-it® notes describes the publicity, promotion and advertising that will be done in the lead-up to the book's release, but using Post-it® notes to demonstrate stickiness is still a rather baffling decision.

All which led to the final product. You can't tell from the picture, but that duct tape on the cover feels as if Duct tape were actually stuck to the cover, which brought a quick smile of appreciation to all of us as we passed it around the office. We ended up naming Made to Stick the first 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year* in 2007. Would it have won with a different title and lesser cover? We certainly judge books by the quality of the writing and strength of the ideas presented first and foremost, but you can't argue that the title change and final cover certainly improved the presentation of the book and made it more likely to succeed. It just goes to show you, sticky ideas sometimes take some time to fully develop.

*We're now accepting entries for The 2010 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards.