Book Review: The Power of Moments



“Tripping over the truth is an insight that packs an emotional wallop.  When you have a sudden realization, one that you didn’t see coming, and one that you know viscerally is right, you’ve tripped over the truth.  It’s a defining moment that in an instant can change the way you see the world.”
The Power of Moments, p. 103

What are the most powerful things you can remember about your childhood?  For me, it’s definitely about people and what they said or how they made me feel.  I remember adventures with my siblings as we wreaked havoc on our neighborhood (not really…but we thought we were really cool).  Bus rides to basketball games, trips with my youth group, lessons learned…often the hard way, long conversations with friends, and other things dot the highlight real of my early years.  As a mom and an educator, I realize that I have the incredible opportunity to help create and participate in those moments for my own kids as well as my “kids” at school.  This is a remarkable opportunity for stewardship.  My hope and prayer is that my words and actions would speak life and build up others.
The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath was an excellent read!  Their book is fully of great strategies that help us be intentional about seizing these moments as well as educating the reader about the psychology behind the moment.
I have shared quotes from this book with several people and feel certain I’ll reference it often.  I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…
  • Defining moments shape our lives, but we don’t have to wait for them happen.  We can be the authors of them. p. 5
  • Our lives are measured in moments, and defining moments are the ones that endure in our memories. p. 6
  • A defining moment is a short experience that is both memorable and meaningful. p. 12
  • In our research, we have found that defining moments are created from one or more of the following four elements:
    • ELEVATION: Defining moments rise above the everyday
    • INSIGHT: Defining moments rewire our understanding of ourselves or the world
    • PRIDE: Defining moments capture us at our best—moments of achievement, moments of course
    • CONNECTION: Defining moments are social; weddings, graduations, baptisms, vacations, work trips, bar and bat mitzvahs, speeches, sporting events.  These moments are strengthened because we share them with others. p. 14
  • Moments matter.  And what an opportunity we miss when we leave them to chance!  Teachers can inspire, caregivers can comfort, service workers can delight, politicians can unite, and managers can motivate.  All t takes is a bit of insight and forethought. p. 16
  • The lack of attention paid to an employee’s first day is mind-boggling.  What a wasted opportunity to make a new team member feel included and appreciated. p. 18
  • Logic shows why the first day fo work is an experience worth investing in.  For new employees, it’s three big transitions at once: intellectual (new work), social (new people), environmental (new place).  The first day shouldn’t be a set of bureaucratic activities on a checklist.  It should be a peak moment. p. 20
  • Moments of elevation are experiences that rise above the everyday.  Times to be savored.  Moments that make us feel engaged, joyful, amazed, motivated.  They are peaks. p. 43
  • A peak means something special is happening; it should look different. p. 62
  • Beware the soul-sucking force of “reasonableness.” Otherwise you risk deflating your peaks.  Speed bumps are reasonable.  Mount Everest is not reasonable.  p. 63
  • Moments of insight deliver realizations and transformations. p. 95
  • Tripping over the truth is an insight that packs an emotional wallop.  When you have a sudden realization, one that you didn’t see coming, and one that you know viscerally is right, you’ve tripped over the truth.  It’s a defining moment that in an instant can change the way you see the world. p. 103
  • To trip is to catch one’s foot on something and stumble.  To trip over the truth is to catch one’s brain on something and struggle.  What exactly is the “something” that your brain catches on? p. 105
  • Imagine that you have a group of dream students.  They are engaged, they are perfectly behaved, and they have perfect memories…Fill in this sentence: 3-5 years from now, my students still know_______________________.  Or they still are able to do _____________________________.  Or they still find value in ________________________.
    L. Dee Fink, Creating Significant Learning Experiences, p. 108
  • How much of your current syllabus will advance your students towards the dreams you have for them? p. 109
  • Better to take a risk, try something, and distill the answer from experience rather than from navel-gazing.  Action leads to insight more often than insight leads to action. p. 117
  • Mentors focus on improvement: Can you push a little bit further?  Can you shoulder a little more responsibility?  They introduce a productive level of stress. p. 121
  • We will never know our reach unless we stretch. p. 131
  • Moments of pride capture us at our best—showing courage, earning recognition, conquering challenges. p. 139
  • Of all the ways we can create moments of pride for others, the simplest is to offer them recognition. p. 145
  • “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.” Mark Twain p. 181
  • Courage is contagious.  From historic protests to everyday acts, from the civil rights movement to an employee asking a tough question, this is the lesson we’ve learned: It is hard to be courageous, but it’s easier when you’ve practiced, and when you stand up, others will join you. p. 193
  • Moments of connection deepen our relationships with others.  p. 203
  • The presence of others turns abstract ideas into social reality. p. 213
  • If you want to be part of a group that bonds like cement, take on a really demanding task that’s deeply meaningful.  All of you will remember it for the rest of your lives. p. 216
  • Who is the beneficiary of your work, and how are you contributing to them? p. 220
  • Questions for families:
    • Tell me about your child’s experiences in school.  Tell me about yours. UNDERSTANDING
    • Tell me your hopes and dreams for your child’s future. VALIDATION
    • What do you want your child to be someday? VALIDATION
    • What do I need to do to help your child learn more effectively? CARING p. 227
  • Defining moments lead to countless positive and measurable outcomes, but in our judgement they are not a means to an end.  They are the ends.  Creating more memorable and meaningful experiences is a worthy goal—for your work, for the people you care about, and for you personally—independent of any secondary impacts. p. 256

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