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The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact Hardcover – October 3, 2017
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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"I read this cover to cover and learned something new on each page. Beautifully written, brilliantly researched--I'm recommending it to everyone I know!"—Angela Duckworth, New York Times bestselling author of Grit
“The most interesting, immediately actionable book I’ve read in quite a while. I walked away with new ideas for motivating employees, delighting customers, engaging students, and even planning family vacations. If life is a series of moments, the Heath brothers have transformed how I plan to spend mine.”—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg
'Chip and Dan are amazing and impactful story tellers. In The Power of Moments, they are able to use stories to display a powerful truth, that we can be more impactful as leaders and as people by recognizing and creating more “moments”. At Virgin Atlantic, helping our people create [such] amazing moments for each other and for our customers is a nice new way of articulating an underlying goal of great leadership. This book truly frames that thinking in an easy to understand and engaging way. Perhaps even more importantly, I can see many similar opportunities in my life as a husband, father and member of a community.'—Craig Kreeger, CEO of Virgin Atlantic
“A sincere introduction to how readers can shape and improve the peaks in their own experiences. Infused with positivity and enthusiasm…. Readers hungry for a bigger slice of life will find this book valuable. Heuristic advice and life-affirming direction form a gratifying combination in this motivational handbook.”—Kirkus
“This terrific book is bursting with practical insights and memorable stories on every page. It's as relevant to product designers and meeting planners as it is to teachers and parents. I've already put many of its novel suggestions to work. Don't miss it.”—Eric Ries, author of bestselling author of The Lean Startup, The Startup Way
"Flat out amazing."—Jake Knapp, New York Times bestselling author of Sprint
"Chip Heath of Stanford and Dan Heath of Duke argue persuasively that any organization that creates peak moments--for its customers, its employees, or its students--will enjoy benefits that range from fanatical loyalty to revenue growth. In this entertaining and informative read, they explain just how to create those moments and how to turn them into a competitive advantage."—BizEd
"The Power of Moments packages together countless hours of research and interviews, as well as dozens of illustrative examples, in digestible, accessible, and entertaining prose....Moments offers something for everyone—medical practitioners rethinking the patient experience, corporate leaders re-imagining staff engagement, small businesses looking to differentiate themselves, teachers crafting more memorable lessons. Like Switch and Made to Stick, two of the authors’ previous books, The Power of Moments is particularly useful for the social sector, in which change agents face daunting challenges in the fight for social justice, economic equality, and environmental protection. All those desperate for blueprints for creating the extraordinary should read this book."—Stanford Social Innovation Review
About the Author
Chip Heath is a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, teaching courses on strategy and organizations. He has helped over 450 startups hone their business strategy and messages. He lives in Los Gatos, California. Chip and his brother Dan have written three New York Times bestselling books: Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive. Their books have sold over two million copies worldwide and have been translated into thirty-three languages including Thai, Arabic, and Lithuanian. The Power of Moments is their most recent book.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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In this book, The Heath Brothers dissect what, specifically, makes a particular experience memorable and meaningful. Then, based on these attributes, they challenge us to "be the author of them." So why should you care?
In business, the whole notion of creating an exceptional customer experience (CX) is at the top of everyone's minds. And some have done a great job at defining some basic attributes. (For example, see Lior Arussy's book, Exceptionalize It). The Heath Brothers take it one step further to provide further ideas to springboard and implement CX thinking. It certainly has got my brain thinking!
In my life, I can also see how these principles apply. Many years ago, after my second child was born, a dear friend shared her secret to raising great kids. She said, "Your job is to make positive memories. As they get older, that's what they remember." And now that my kids are grown and flown the nest, when I asked them, "What do you remember about your childhood?" they replied some simple things - like making sure I made a favorite chicken buffalo sandwich for school. I never understood how that was important, but now I do. (hint: it relates to a transition and connection).
So if you want to be more intentional about making magical moments at work and in your life, I highly recommend this book.
This is a book written by two brilliant brothers (Both are affiliated with prestigious business schools.) who have already demonstrated great success by any measure in the fields of teaching, consulting, and writing. It is no surprise, therefore, that this book is good.
Based on the price and the pre-launch publicity, however, this book is clearly seeking transformative status. It is competing among the best business books of the year. And that is the standard by which I have chosen my overall rating. If you are just looking for a good book by a reputable and successful author(s), this book will probably fit the bill.
Here’s my reasoning:
The book applies a formula that has become universal in the world of modern business management and the consulting that drives it: Every problem/opportunity can be solved/leveraged by analyzing the data, discerning the patterns, and applying them to future or potential data sets. It’s not a bad framework, per se, but I don’t personally feel it applies equally in all situations. Some problems/opportunities just don’t lend themselves to such a conscious and rational process. Defining moments, I believe, is one of them.
Secondly, the authors note early on, “Our lives are measured in moments, and defining moments are the ones that endure in our memories.” If you accept that premise then this is the book for you.
Personally, I do not. At least not the first part. I believe our lives are measured in the quality of our relationships, including the connection we establish to the world around us. (To be fair, connection is part of their formula, but its purpose is to create more defining moments, which is not how I use the term here.)
Which raises two questions that are foundational to the book: 1. Can you create defining moments? and 2. Do they really matter? The premise of the book is a resounding “yes” to both.
While I believe, after reading the book, that you can create an enhanced opportunity for defining moments, I’m not convinced it’s the best or safest investment of time and resources. After all, both time and resources are limited in every organization (and every life). If you spend the same amount of time and effort building trust in your organization, would the ROI be better? I think so, and that is not to say that you can’t build trust through defining moments. It’s a matter of emphasis and line of approach.
I also question whether the WOW factor of defining moments is truly transformative. The moment is memorable, but is it the moment or the thing it represents—recognition, connection, trust—that is transformative? And, again, the process the author’s define, which I won’t reference specifically here because they deserve the opportunity to lay it out in their own context, is built around some of these fundamentals. My point, again, is one of emphasis and the hierarchy of relative importance.
Some of the advice will sound familiar. On recognition, for example, the authors note, “One survey found that the top reason people leave their jobs is a lack of praise and recognition.” It’s a valid point, although in my own experience people typically leave because of other people (i.e. managers or leaders). It is true, however, that, “While recognition is a universal expectation, it’s not a universal practice.” And it’s certainly true that creative and spontaneous recognition is more valuable than most corporate recognition programs.
I also agree that, “Purpose trumps passion,” and that, “…purpose isn’t discovered, it’s cultivated.” And, “You can’t deliver a great patient experiences without first delivering a great employee experience.” All sound advice.
In the end, therefore, I’m glad I read the book. I personally found the value (the ROI of time and money spent) of the book to be so-so. (Admittedly, prices are set by the publisher, not the authors.) It doesn’t, in my mind, hit the mark of transformative.
But you should decide for yourself. This, after all, is a personal review.
Here’s the big idea: “A defining moment is a short experience that is both memorable and meaningful.” And…oh, my—are we in short supply of significant moments in our boring staff meetings, workplaces, churches, schools, and homes. You can change that!
Buy this book for:
YOUR STAFF. Here’s an idea: bring popsicles to your next staff meeting and play the audio from the first chapter, “Defining Moments,” and ask the team why the Magic Castle Hotel in Los Angeles does this:
“Let’s start with a cherry-red phone mounted to a wall near the pool. You pick it up and someone answers, ‘Hello, Popsicle Hotline.’ You place an order, and minutes later, a staffer wearing white gloves delivers your cherry, orange, or grape Popsicles to you at poolside. On a silver tray. For free.”
What will your staff learn? “What the Magic Castle has figured out is that, to please customers, you need not obsess over every detail. Customers will forgive small swimming pools and underwhelming room décor, as long as some moments are magical. The surprise about great service experiences is that they are mostly forgettable and occasionally remarkable.” (p. 9)
YOUR FAVORITE CHARITIES. If I could wave a magic wand, I’d ask every relief and development organization leader to read Chapter 5, “Trip Over the Truth,” about a methodology called Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS).
The authors begin with a warning to readers: “The story ahead is full of disgusting images, and it also makes frequent use of the ‘s-word” for feces.” The researcher in this Bangladesh brilliant/brilliant epiphany “believes that it’s a mistake to soft-pedal the word using medical terms…or more kid-friendly terms. When he works in new countries, he makes sure to ask for the crude slang… He wants the word to shock.”
The researcher’s ingenious approach to dramatically improved community health is the polar opposite of the way leaders, teachers, and preachers seek change. Instead of pulpits, podiums, and lecterns, Dr. Kamal Kar used observation, probing (shocking) questions, and demonstrations. Brilliant! (p. 97)
YOUR TEACHERS. In the chapter “Stretch for Insight,” the authors describe a study of 44 seventh-graders who wrote essays about a personal hero. Teachers marked up the essays and Group 1 students received generic feedback. Group 2 students received personalized “wise criticism.” Both groups could resubmit their essays in hopes of higher grades. You guessed it: almost 80 percent of Group 2 students resubmitted compared to about 40 percent of the first group. (p. 122)
YOUR PASTOR. Whew. How do pastors inspire a congregation—weekend after weekend, 52 weeks a year? (Few do.) But creative teams can create extraordinary experiences along the way—by defying “the forgettable flatness of everyday work and life by creating a few precious moments.” (p. 265)
And speaking of teaching, don’t skip the insights about a weeklong program, the Course Design Institute (CDI). “The dirty secret of higher education [and maybe seminaries] is that the faculty aren’t taught how to teach,” says Michael Palmer, a chemistry prof at the University of Virginia. So Palmer invites groups of 25 to 30 profs, per course, to meet the ugly truth in the mirror.
It begins with an interactive fill-in-the-blanks exercise, where each prof completes one sentence: an aspirational objective for students that will be realized three to five years later. Then each prof compares that aspiration with his or her course syllabus. Palmer asks, “How much of your current syllabus will advance your students toward the dreams you have for them?”
You guessed it! Chip Heath and Dan Heath describe one prof’s head-slapper moment, after an awkward silence: “You look at your syllabus, and you go, ‘Zero.’” (p. 106)
The book includes a link to a complete syllabus with “before” and “after” examples—showing how a professor changed the content, as a result of the weeklong course.
You should also buy this book for:
PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS. The dinner table question from Spanx founder Sara Blakely’s dad: “What did you guys fail at this week?” (p. 130)
HR TEAM. On creating extraordinary moments on a team member’s first day on the job: “Imagine if you treated a first date like a new employee.” (p. 18)
MARKETING STAFF. “One simple diagnostic to gauge whether you’ve transcended the ordinary is if people feel the need to pull out their cameras. If they take pictures, it must be a special occasion.” (p. 63)
FUNDRAISERS AND OTHERS. On the topic of unheralded achievements in the chapter, “Thinking in Moments,” the authors ask: “We celebrate employees’ tenure with organizations, but what about their accomplishments? Isn’t a salesman’s 10 millionth dollar of revenue earned worth commemorating? Or what about a talented manager who has had 10 direct reports promoted?” (p. 36)
And I’d add: And what about celebrating a single mom’s faithful $10-a-month donor gifts when her total giving reaches the $500 or $1,000 milestone? That’s a moment to celebrate! Plus, don’t miss the creative way one organization sends personalized thank you notes to donors. (p. 151)
BOARD MEMBERS. Recently, I played the book’s audio of “Clinic 1: The Missed Moments of Retail Banking” to my fellow board members at Christian Community Credit Union. The question, “Could banks learn to ‘think in moments’?” Convicting—but very, very applicable to all organizations.
I could go on—but you get my drift. This book changed—changed!—my thinking in so many ways. You’ll appreciate the powerful and poignant stories. Example: how a priest gathered a widow’s friends together (five years after her husband had died) for a therapeutic wedding vows ceremony—but in the past tense. “Were you faithful?” The result: she was finally ready to date again.
You’ll underline the “whirlwind reviews” for each of the four major sections (Elevation, Insight, Pride, and Connection). You’ll be delighted by the bonus resources, like the “clinics,” the free app referenced, “36 Questions,” and why one company empowers employees to give away a certain number of free drinks and food items every week! (p. 73)
The “Clinic 2” (p. 89) is a must-read about church boards. The question: “How do you refresh a meeting that’s grown rote?” One approach: “Break the script.”
And finally, Chip Heath and Dan Heath warn: “Beware the soul-sucking force of reasonableness.” Example: “Couldn’t we just put the Popsicles in a cooler by the ice machine?” (LOL!)
Most recent customer reviews
Shocked to see all the 5-star reviews here
This is a far cry from Switch and Made to Stick which were fresh, innovative and well-written