cover image The Power of Moments: Why Certain Moments Have Extraordinary Impact

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Moments Have Extraordinary Impact

Chip and Dan Heath. Simon & Schuster, $29 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5011-4776-0

Brothers Chip and Dan Heath—coauthors of Decisive and business school professors at, respectively, Stanford and Duke—take on the challenge of teaching readers how to foster memorable moments, for themselves and others, but fail to address the question of authenticity that their prescriptions raise. According to the Heaths, when remembering experiences, people mostly recall the high (or low) points and the endings. For a discrete period of time within a larger experience to become a “memorable moment,” it must involve either “elevation” (going beyond expectations), “insight” (learning something new about oneself), “pride” (feeling personal fulfilment), or “connection” (sharing the moment with another person). Each element is discussed within a separate section. In the section on elevation, the Heaths describe a California high school’s unique method of teaching Lord of the Flies: putting author William Golding on “trial” for libeling humanity. More often, however, the examples relate to corporate promotions, such as Pret a Manger employees being empowered to give away a certain number of free items weekly, thereby “elevating” the customer experience. The authors stress how their advice can boost corporate bottom lines, with fewer references to how they can improve readers’ personal lives. Moreover, the Heaths don’t address whether these carefully stage-managed experiences can ever feel wholly genuine, leaving a gap at the center of their book. (Oct.)