Book Notes: The Power of Moments

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath, Dan Heath
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book presents the importance moments have – these range from how much you enjoyed your holiday to how parents think about schools which impacts their children in schools. The book presents four ways moments can be thought about and by enhancing them can improve the experience.

  • Elevation – how do we make something stick out from the other things going on
  • Insight – how do we gain knowledge
  • Pride – these are moments of achievement, moments of courage
  • Connection – to gain a greater connection with others

A great moment does not have to have all of these components but it is a good way to think about moments through different lenses. The book highlights the issue of people focussing on fixing the potholes but highlights that quite a few of these will be overlooked when people look back so improving the best moment might be a better return on time. Additionally the book highlights that it would be easy to cut costs e.g. not bringing the whole company together etc but this devalues the potential for the moment. Finally there are more moments than you’d expect – such as transitions or milestones, even getting an MRI scan is a moment for the patient and this can go from a traumatic experience to an enjoyable one.


  • Boost the sensory appeal – change the environment such as going to different locations, or changing the way people dress etc.
  • Raise the stakes – such as a competition where one side wins which will provoke greater involvement
  • Break the script – defy the normal way of doing things both for the way you do things normally but also what people expect to happen. Novelty is memorable.
  • Take care that they are not delayed or watered down – it’s easy to reduce a great moment idea to something much less memorable.


  • Deliver realisation and transformation
  • “trip over the truth” – people need to discover things themselves but by guiding people they can pick up the pieces themselves to trip over the truth this involves gaining a clear insight, in a short time discovered by the audience itself.
  • Risk – Sometimes we need to expose ourselves to failure to gain the insight. When it’s others gaining the insight we need to give them space to fail and not jump in quickly.
  • Mentors can stretch us further – high standards + assurance + direction + support
  • Stretching – it’s not about success, it’s about learning


  • Recognise others – we underinvest in recognising others
  • Create more meaningful milestones – refrance a large milestone into multiple smaller ones so we can feel we are progressing. We can surface milestones which might not have otherwise been noticed.
  • Practice courage to push ourselves – though practice our reactions are already “preloaded” so by rehearsing what we want to do we are more likely to do it. Courage is contagious to and from others.
  • Recognition is personal – a generic program does not cut it


  • Creating a synchronised moment –
  • Inviting shared struggles – where people choose to take part this can be powerful e.g. endurance team sports etc
  • Connecting with meaning – where people get to the root of why their work is important and acknowledging the impact it has. Having a strong purpose trumps strong passion but together they are powerful.
  • Deep connections – active listening can greatly boost the depth of a connection with mutual understanding, validation and caring which when combined with openness leads to intimacy with turn taking e.g. using 36 Questions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.