How can you present information so that it is remembered and acted on?

Want to know how to get information across to readers and listeners so they absorb it, and can act on it? Chuck Frey recommended this book to me and I've never read anything that does a better job.

Call me old-fashioned if you want, but I don't like marking books.  There are some though (if it's your own copy), that you have to treat as tools, and any way of pulling the most out of the book is fair game - including marking it up.

"Made to Stick" by Chip and Dan Heath is such a book.  First time round, I read it with a highlighter in my hand, marking ideas that caught my imagination or made a point that was fresh to me and seemed significant.  Anyone reading it for the first time would find it hard not to mark this book, it has so many convincing insights that just feel right.  But it's not just a feeling - many important assertions are backed up with examples taken from careful research and trials.  At the same time there are stories and examples that make it all real to the reader.

I went through it again, building a mindmap with a focus on the points I'd highlighted.  Then I used it in a project, and that came out as something quite different from anything I've done before, and from feedback I've had, much better as a result.

If I had to sum up 250 pages in a single phrase, it would be "Avoid abstraction" but this book doesn't just tell you what not to do, it tells you what to do in its place and how to do it.  It is just first rate.  You can check it out on Amazon if you like: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (different cover though).

Here's a small image of the mind map I made. You can click on the image for a full-sized version

And here your can download the MindManager mind map file (Made-to-Stick.mmap) itself (if it appears as a WinZip File or some other compression format, see the note 'Download problems' below).  MindJet have a viewer at their site.  It's free to download and use and there are Windows and Mac versions.  If you open the .mmap file, you will be able to read the notes attached to some branches - notes that give more explanation that you won't see in the image.

Download problems?

If you use Firefox or Chrome you will not experience a problem downloading the .mmap file. With Internet Explorer, you may.

MindManager files are actually zip (compressed) files. They contain the mind map data (an XML file, icon images and other information). Internet Explorer recognizes the nature of the file from its content and, without being asked, changes the .mmap file extension to .zip. If the 'Made-to-Stick.mmap' file appears as just 'Made-to-Stick', this will be caused by the default Windows setting to suppress file extensions like '.mmap'. Then it may show up as a compressed file type (e.g. WinZip).

In that case, when you get to the the Save As dialog
     -  if it shows - change that to Made-to-Stick.mmap
     -  if it shows just Made-to-Stick, click the arrow on the right of
        'WinZip File' (it may refer to some other compression software depending
        on what you have installed on your machine) and select All Files.
        Then change Made-to-Stick to Made-to-Stick.mmap
click Save

That should resolve the problem.

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