After getting several recommendations to read Made to Stick (Chip and Dan Heath, 2007), I decided to give it the Doctor’s-Notes-Treatment (although the authors did a great job summarizing their ideas themselves). The authors outline 6 traits, such as simple and concrete, that make ideas more likely to stick with audiences.
I’m still trying to move past the unnecessarily complex and abstract nature of academic speech and knowledge. I firmly believe the “curse of knowledge” described in this book plagues academia.
For me, the most helpful chapter was on making ideas concrete. I’ve read many academia articles that were entirely theoretical – with no real-world examples to demonstrate them. I’ve tried to avoid that in my writing and teaching. One thing I’ve started doing is always introducing musical concepts in relation to a specific song. Complex ideas like chord tones or chord functions become a lot easier to understand and remember when you can link it to a well-known song or bassline.
Right now, I’ve moved on to a more recent Heath brothers book – Decisive, which focuses on decision-making. Stay tuned for my summary of it in next month’s Doctor’s Notes.