The Power of Moments book review
Book by Chip & Dan Heath

The Power of Moments is an amazing book. I read 50 to 100 books a year, and this title firmly belongs to the top 1%.

Anybody in any kind of a leadership position should read this book: church leaders, supervisors, managers, top executives, educators, moms and dads. Every single one can benefit from the knowledge hidden inside The Power of Moments, and from its various applications.

It will be especially beneficial for business people and those in positions up in the corporate ladder. If they utilize some of the common sense tactics The Power of Moments talks about, they can literally add 20% to their bottom line overnight. No exaggeration.

Usually, I begin my reviews with some weak spots, calling them CONs. Well, not this time. This book is flawless. I’ve told you, it belongs to the top 1%.

On the other hand, this book is full of great insights, practical applications of those insights, and mind-blowing discoveries. Let’s go over them.

1. Funny.

This is the funniest nonfiction book, with 24% of the pages taken by notes and annotations, which I’ve ever read. The humor, especially aimed at the corporate world, cracked me up. I literally laughed out loud in public a few times while reading The Power of Moments.

The sexual harassment policy is so long and comprehensive it makes you wonder a bit about your colleagues.”

2. Coaching.

I’m a freshly hatched business coach, and I got so many takeaways from The Power of Moments about coaching. I knew it’s impactful, powerful, and effective, but now I know why it is so.

Moments of insight deliver realizations and transformations.”

I cannot even count how many times I’ve seen a lightbulb over my coachees’ heads or their eyes suddenly widening with realization. Insights precede transformation.

Tripping over the truth is an insight that packs an emotional wallop.”

The funny thing about coaching is that I don’t even know which truth my coachees need to trip over. I just ask questions. They are figuring this out on their own.

It becomes their own insight, and as a result, they’re motivated to act.”

That’s coaching 101.

You can’t appreciate the solution until you appreciate the problem.”

That’s coaching 101 too. It’s not my job to bestow solutions upon my clients; my job is to let them trip over their truths, so they can realize they have a problem and what problem it is. Then, coming up with solutions – their solutions! – is just an afterthought.

I’ve seen all the above in practice, many times. I experienced it when I was coached. Now, I’m even more convinced coaching is a great way to impact lives.

3. Mind Tricks.

It is amazing how the human mind interacts with time. It’s even more amazing how the authors broke down some of those mind tricks into pieces and invented a framework to employ them in our service.

When people assess an experience, they tend to forget or ignore its length—a phenomenon called “duration neglect.”

I won’t spoil all the fun for you, read about the duration neglect in the book. C’mon, it’s incredible. I had been working in several companies, a few years in each, yet, I judged my experience there by a few peak moments and how we split our ways.

Another mind-blowing tidbit:

Surprise can warp our perceptions of time.”

Those mind tricks are absolutely real, universal, and we can use them to create defining moments in our families, organizations and businesses.

Chip and Dan are telling exactly how. I’m amazed by their ability to name particular parts of such intangible processes like creating defining moments. Then, they not only define and enumerate what are the elements of the process, but they go into details on how to engineer them, step by step.

Defining moments possess at least one of the four elements above, but they need not have all four.”

4. Purpose Beats Passion.

By far.

People with a strong sense of meaning tended to have the highest performance rankings by their bosses.”

Well, that’s just one of the facts demonstrating superiority of purpose over passion. There are more facts instanced in the book, and they are more than convincing enough for me. Just one more example:

When nurses, assembling surgical kits, met a caregiver who would use the kits, they worked 64% longer than a control group and made 15% fewer errors. Connecting to meaning matters.”

In this section of The Power of Moments, I found the only statement in the book, I don’t agree 100% with:

Purpose isn’t discovered, it’s cultivated.”

Purpose is both discovered and cultivated. And the emphasis on the cultivation is accurate. But if you don’t discover your purpose, you have nothing to cultivate.

Time-warping abilities of the human mind are not the only “magical” powers it possesses. People are masters at self-deception.

I bet that forceful cultivation of purpose would have led in most cases to dead ends: “My purpose is to be famous… rich… CEO… rockstar… Hollywood actor… save the world!” Those are the shiny objects most people would have set as their targets, purpose. Why? Simply because this is shiny and loud. Western culture has an individual on the pedestal, and preferably, this individual has superhero abilities.

So, the authors assume an overly optimistic level of self-insight people have nowadays. If you know yourself, and know your purpose, of course, cultivate it. But if you don’t, you’d better spend some time on getting to know yourself and looking around for what really drives you. Otherwise, you may put the purpose ladder on the wrong wall, and realize it months or years too late, when you climb it to the top.

5. Personal Productivity.

When you understand the ultimate contribution you’re making, it allows you to transcend the task list.”

The Power of Moments is a self-help book too. I’m still not fully done with transcending my task list. I didn’t figure out my ultimate contribution. But I know that if I can connect my everyday tasks to a bigger purpose, I can work at so much a higher level. Recently, I had an experience when I was overwhelmed and prayed for guidance and strength; my spirituality is my driving force, in the next 90 minutes I dealt with a pile of tasks and it was effortless!

I struggle with milestones. I’m as great as any person when it comes to setting goals; however, achieving them is a different story. 😉

I have one advantage over many people – I mastered daily actions. But I’m completely hopeless in figuring out the milestones along the way, and even worse at celebrating them.

6. Relationships.

This is the area I need a lot of improvement.

It can be captured in one sentence: Our relationships are stronger when we perceive that our partners are responsive to us.”

Photo by Chermiti Mohamed

For me it was the biggest discovery in this book!

Responsiveness encompasses three things: Understanding: My partner knows how I see myself and what is important to me. Validation: My partner respects who I am and what I want. Caring: My partner takes active and supportive steps in helping me meet my needs.”

I need to work on my responsiveness, a LOT. I went back and did something I almost never do with a nonfiction book: I re-read the Deepen Ties chapter. And I’ll repeat this till I create a relevant habit in my marriage.

I think this chapter was easily worth 100x the price of the book for me.

7. Struggle.

I’m extremely frustrated with an elusive art of creating an engaged online community. I had been in one at the beginning of 2013, and I could never repeat that experience. Well, now I know why:

If a group of people develops a bond quickly, chances are its members have been struggling together.”

Most of the communities I was involved in were ‘feel good’ communities, all about celebrating wins and sharing successes. But it is struggling together that makes the bonds stronger.

This one sentence gave me a lot of food for thought, and triggered me to organize an online challenge with which I had been procrastinating for months. I’m very satisfied by the results.

8. Very Well Written.

Oh, scratch that. For a nonfiction book, it is written amazingly well. No superficial stories. No fictional parables. True stories, scientific research and very actionable framework to implement the whole concept in your organization, business or family. Outstanding!

This is not a dry textbook. It’s emotional, memorable, educational, and funny at the same time. A very readable book, indeed. Seriously, it may be a great gift to whomever reads more than one nonfiction book a year. They will surely appreciate it.


The Power of Moments is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you are going to get. Maybe you will build in some moments in your business and triple your bottom line. Maybe you will engineer some powerful moments into your team’s routine and get a promotion for your management skill. Maybe you will improve your family life. Maybe you will get better at breaking huge goals into celebration-worthy milestones.

You can find it all in this one book. That’s extremely rare. That’s wonderful.

Definitely, The Power of Moments was worth way more than the $20 I paid for it. Actually, it was easily worth more than $800 of my time needed to read it.

In fact, my gut tells me that this book may be priceless for me.

Make yourself a priceless gift and read this book.

Book Review: The Power of Moments

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