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ARC Review: The Divorce Colony

The Divorce Colony: How Women Revolutionized Marriage and Found Freedom on the American Frontier by April White April White’s The Divorce Colony is set during the Gilded Age, in the America of the late 1800s. It revolves around the lax divorce rules then to be found in South Dakota.  Today, getting divorced is almost easier than getting married. But in the Gilded Age, divorces were not so easy to obtain. Divorce was viewed as a moral concern for the state, and was denounced from the pulpit for threatening the sanctity of marriage. Even President Theodore Roosevelt spoke out against it.  Laws around divorce tended to be most lax on the frontiers of the United States. By the 1880s the territory of Dakota gained the dubious honor of posting the largest rise in divorces in the country. At the turn of the century one city - Sioux Falls, South Dakota - gained a reputation for having the laxest divorce laws of all, and required only a three month residency in order to take advantage of them

Book Review: The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact


Background Photo by Austin Distel from Unsplash

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip and Dan Heath

Chip and Dan Heath are brothers who both work for universities - one a Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the other a Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE center. They study business and entrepreneurship, and have teamed together to write five very successful business oriented books that can also provide insights helpful to their readers outside of their professional lives. The Power of Moments is their fourth book. One of the reasons these books are so successful is that they are well crafted and easy to read books that both unpack "aha" moments and provide actionable ideas to motivate readers. This book is no exception.

This book focuses on Defining Moments (their term for "a short experience that is both memorable and meaningful"). They then break Defining Moments into four elements - Moments of Elevation, Insight, Pride and Connection. The rest of the book is a guide to crafting those Defining Moments.

The book takes you through each of the elements, with plenty of examples along the way, and with summaries for each element, and case studies (they call them Clinics) to help you think more deeply about how to apply what you've read.

I bought this book over a year ago because my boss was reading it and recommended it to me. I then got "too busy with life" and set it aside, finally picking it up this past week. I took a couple of days to read this book, but I think it could easily be done in a day. It's an engaging read and certainly makes you think. It's the type of book you can pick up every few months to refresh yourself and think again about how to apply some of their insights to your daily world.

At the very end of the book is probably the most important point - though Defining Moments can be orchestrated, the impact they have is due not just to the Moment, but to the Action that it inspires - the difference between "receiving" a Moment and "seizing" it. That, I think, is the flaw in the brothers' framework for this book - if we (and those we're trying to influence) don't seize the moment than having orchestrated it won't matter. Maybe The Power of Actions might be a better title?

Nevertheless, there are many tools that you can add to your repertoire from this book. Those are the biggest benefit of this book, more so than any framework about Defining Moments. I give this book Three of Five Stars ⭐⭐⭐, and I've knocked the book down a star because I think the framework is flawed, but as a readable "organizational self help" book it rates a four.

The Power of Moments links

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Updated November 28, 2021