Book Note: The Power of Moments

In The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath remind us that brief moments can change lives. Like their other books, Made to Stick and Switch, The Power of Moments combines scientific findings with common sense.

Content Overview

The Heath brothers take us on a journey of exploration in The Power of Moments. The first stop, defining a "defining moment." Once we understand the concept, they help us reshape how we approach life. Think in moments. Look for opportunities to create defining moments. Understand how a small act in a small moment can change a life.

Once we have a foundation, we continue our exploration with the key elements of defining moments. The Heath brothers argue that each defining moment has at least one of four elements - elevation, insight, pride, and connection. Most defining moments have more than one of these elements. Each proceeding chapter explores an element in-depth. Each chapter concludes in a summary and a case study to help you use the information in the real world.


I've been a fan of the Heath brothers since I read Made to Stick. Their work is straight forward, practical, and grounded in research and common sense. Their writing is fun, personal, and easy to digest and put into practice.

The Power of Moments held up to my expectations. Its structure is easy to follow, its chapters succinct. The antidotes are enjoyable and offer a real world perspective on the material. The only drawback is that the book is heavily focused on how the material can be implemented in the work force. It offers only a few examples of how you can use the information in your personal life. But the information is practical and a with a little thought, you can easily find ways to help you become a better parent, partner, or friend.


  • Defining moments are easiest to create during times of transition, milestones, or pits. Take advantage of these times.
  • To create moments of elevation boost the sensory experience, raise the stakes, and/or break the script.
  • To break the script, pay special attention to what people expect. If you don't know the script, you can't break it.
  • To create those defining moments of self-insight, we have to stretch ourselves
  • A great mentor understands that their role is = high standards + assurance + direction + support
  • Invest in recognition, but not the big "employee of the month" sorts. Instead, make recognition personal
  • Learn to "level up" to reframe a long journey and create many meaningful milestones
  • Connection with others is at the heart of many defining moments, cultivate those connection
  • Responsiveness is what deepens connections. Combine that with openness and intimacy can increase

Favorite Quotes

A defining moment is a “short experience that is both memorable and meaningful.”

"Defining moments shape our lives, but we don't have to wait for them to happen."

"Transitions should be marked, milestones commemorated, and pits filled ... certain circumstances demand attention."

"By breaking the script, we can lay down a richer set of memories."

"Learning who we are, and what we want, and what we're capable of - it's a lifelong process."

"We can be the designers of moments that deliver elevation and insight and pride and connection. These extraordinary minutes and hours and days - the are what make life meaningful. And they are ours to create."