Book Review: The Power of Moments

'Our lives are measured in moments, and defining moments are the ones that endure in our memories... we'll show you how to make more of them.' ~ The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath and Dan HeathClick To Tweet

In their ground breaking new book The Power of Moments Chip and Dan Heath make a pretty audacious claim: that they can teach us how to create defining moments.

Book ReviewI first learned about this book listening to an interview with Dan Heath on the Tony Robbins Podcast. The idea of “breaking the script” by providing memorable customer service was so compelling that I ordered myself a copy that same day.

I loved the story about Joshie the stuffed giraffe who had been left at the Ritz-Carlton at the end of a family holiday in Amelia Island, Florida.

Joshie belonged to a young boy, who simply could not go to sleep without him. His dad, in a peak of desperation (and who hasn’t been there) told the boy that Joshie had decided to stay on for an extra-long vacation at the resort.

When the staff at the hotel eventually located Joshie, and rang the distraught dad to let him know he was found, he confessed to them the story he’d made up to get his son to sleep.

A few days later, a package arrived… including Joshie the Giraffe along with an album full of photographs of the stuffed toy in typical holiday mode… driving a golf cart, getting a massage, and visiting the hotel security control room.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the family were delighted, wrote a blog post about the experience, and the Ritz-Carlton gained massive positive publicity from the act… essentially some staff acting with whimsy and ‘breaking the script’ of what we expect from hotel customer service.

By analysing this, and other events and experiences like it, Chip and Dan Heath deconstruct the characteristics of defining moments, and spell it out for us in a way that enables us to recreate The Power Of Moments in our own lives – and our own workplaces.

The book is structured in four sections:


Moments of elevation “transcend the normal course of events; they are literally extraordinary”. These events stand above our other memories by sheer virtue of the ‘special-ness’.


Moments of insight are defining moments that cause us to rethink what we think we know. These events stand out because we are different afterwards… and can’t understand why we missed the truth for so long.


Moments of pride “capture us at our best”. Phenomenal achievements, acts of courage, personal growth, overcoming the odds. These events stand out because we feel proud about the person we were in that moment.


Moments of connection are inherently social: weddings, sporting events, vacations. These events stand out because of who we were with, and how we felt about them in that moment.

The Power of Moments

Within each of these sections, you may find milestones, transitions and pits. We tend to celebrate birthdays – a natural milestone. We also mark transitions – a graduation ceremony, for example, is both a milestone and a moment of transition. A pit, as the name suggests is a low moment – and what matters is what you ‘fill’ it with. As the authors note: “transitions should be marked, milestones commemorated, and pits filled.”

But the point of the book isn’t just to help you identify and categorise your own defining moments. The Power of Moments is all about creating defining memories – whether for yourself or for others. And this book has helpful advice for everyone.

It’s packed with inspiration for creating a more memorable life for you and your family.

But what I especially enjoyed were the ideas for creating an organisation that draws on The Power Of Moments  to engage its employees and make them feel like their work is meaningful and worth spending time on. There are ideas for employee induction, for tackling organisational culture and ethics issues, for celebrating successes, for recognising service and for making career development inspiring and comprehensible. There’s also plenty of inspiration for designing powerful customer experiences that will generate loyalty and value for your business.

The authors have done a fabulous job of drawing upon the work of other social scientists, incorporating data and evidence to support their claims, and telling fabulous stories to illustrate the power of moments. Its easy to read and a delight to ponder. More importantly, I’m looking forward to putting it into action in my daily life, and I suggest that you will too.

You can purchase a copy (and one for every member of your team!) here. I highly recommend it.


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