Posts Tagged ‘Malcom Gladwell’

This post is a sneak peak of an Examiner post that will be published on 2/12/2014. Be sure to check out on that day to find out how to make your  cover letters and resumes stand out with memorable writing.

Making yourself and your writing memorable

Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point: How little things can make a big difference and Dan and Chip Heath’s Made to Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die take a look at the concept of “sticky ideas.” Sticky ideas are so memorable and powerful they change people’s behavior and are triggered by an overall feeling of pleasure at the initial encounter. The best way to describe a sticky idea is an incredibly effective slogan. Sticky ideas are a kind of word of mouth epidemic that is as catchy as Paul Revere’s “The redcoats are coming!” It was the right message delivered at the right time to the right people by packaging it in a relevant, contagious, and irresistible way.

Gladwell describes a tipping point as a sudden and radical change brought on by a critical moment of absolute certainty that it will stick. The Heath brothers define a sticky idea as being a simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and emotional story. Sticky ideas are understood, remembered, and retold because they leave a lasting impact. Strip down (not dumb down) to the core. The essence of your main message should have a clear purpose to prevent the reader from suffering decision paralysis–the inability to move forward because excessive ambiguity produces irrational anxiety.

To construct an effective sticky idea consider the following questions:

  1. Find the message’s essential core. What selling point do you want people to remember?
  2. Make the audience to pay attention and maintain their interest.
  3. Get the audience to believe what you say. How can you build credibility?
  4. How can you get people to care about your selling point?
  5. Stay away from statistics. What story will make the audience take action?


For a formal rhetorical analysis using in the Made to Stick SUCCESs model visit:

To view the original Disney press release visit:

To view the revised Disney press release visit:

Watch to find more advice on making your writing stick


In Outliers by Malcom Gladwell at most 10,000 hours are required to be a success in your craft or field. The Beatles did it. Bill Gates did it. Jim Henson did it. Can I do it? I nearly have a Master’s–come on May 2014!–and have been writing regularly since 3rd grade. I estimate that I’ve put in half the time needed to be a success. By that standard I’m just a beginner at writing. Here’s Ira Glass’ stance on beginners: by David Goleman says 10,000 hours can’t just be arbitrary here-and-there hours. They have to be quality time, meaning your full concentration and the feedback of an expert is necessary. These two factors means you’re able to develop a feedback loop, which provides the ability to identify and fix mistakes. That’s why I pursue writing at a level that is demanding as a higher education. I don’t want to be a successful amateur writer. I want to be the best. Is it possible to be the best writer? 10,000 hours is a lot of time.

I’m not giving up though. If anything, I’m inspired that half the required hours have already happened naturally or by the demand of the job market. I’m sure that these hours have already occurred for you as well in your day job, odd job, night job, or whatever job it takes to become schooled in life/creativity experience. Instead of being frustrated by the time it takes to achieve greatness, focus on what makes you an outlier. What unique give do you have to ship out for the world to use? Your experiences, according to Elizabeth Stevens in “Finding Success in Creativity“, shouldn’t be the things “that hold you back. They might just be the key to your success.”