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The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference [Hardcover]

Linda Kaplan Thaler , Robin Koval
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 21 2009

The authors of the national bestseller THE POWER OF NICE once again tackle conventional wisdom with a provocative and counterintuitive book about the importance of sweating the small stuff in our lives and in our careers.

Our smallest actions and gestures often have outsized impact on our biggest goals, say Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval. Did you double-check that presentation one last time, or hold the elevator for a stranger? Going that extra inch – whether with a client, customer, family member, or friend – speaks volumes to others about our talent, personality, and motivations. After all, if we can’t take care of the small details, how can we be counted on to deliver when it really matters?

In today’s challenging times, bigger isn’t always better. In fact, it’s often the baby steps that put us on the path to delivering a true competitive advantage. The real secret to getting ahead in life and in our careers is to refocus our attention on the small details that, if disregarded, can sabotage a multimillion-dollar ad campaign or undermine your most important relationships. Kaplan Thaler and Koval show how to get more of what you want with surprisingly less than you’d imagine.

Written in the same entertaining, story-driven style that made THE POWER OF NICE the go-to book for finishing first, THE POWER OF SMALL demonstrates how all of us can harness the power of small to improve and reinvent our lives. It’s the ultimate guide to shrinking your outlook to broaden your horizons.

Get SMALL and get going!


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The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference + The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World With Kindness
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Review

Advance Praise for The Power of Small

 “Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval take on the conventional wisdom that bigger is better and show how thinking small gives you a true competitive advantage in life. For best results, get Small now. This little book can make a huge difference in your life.”
—James Patterson, bestselling author, former CEO of J. Walter Thompson

“I love this book! I’ve always known that little things make all the difference, and now Thaler and Koval have written a book to show you how to benefit from this powerful concept. If you read and apply the ideas in this small book, it will make a big difference in your success.”
—Mark Sanborn, bestselling author of The Fred Factor, President of Sanborn & Associates, Inc.

“Anyone who has tried to sleep with a mosquito in the room knows the impact of something small. But the positive impact of little things is even greater, as Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval show so elegantly in their latest book.”
—Deborah Norville

“Once you’ve read The Power of Small, you will never look at the world the same way again. When you re-orient your perspective to look for the magic in the little things, life’s mountains become manageable molehills.”
—Cynthia Nixon

“Anyone who is successful can look back at one small thing they did for someone or someone did for them that meant so much, and made the difference in their career. Those small things are what lay the foundation for success. That’s what this book is all about.” —Jay Leno

About the Author

LINDA KAPLAN THALER is CEO and chief creative officer and ROBIN KOVAL is president of THE KAPLAN THALER GROUP, creators of pop-culture icons like the Aflac Duck. Together, Kaplan Thaler and Koval have been featured on Today, the Martha Stewart Show, and Nightline, as well as in USA TODAY, the New York Times, and BusinessWeek, among many others. Kaplan Thaler and Koval each live in New York.


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
As I began to read Linda Thaler Kaplan and Robin Koval's book, I was reminded of the "Broken Window Theory" that George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson discuss in an article published in the Atlantic. As they explain, solving what may seem to be insignificant problems in an urban area (e.g. repairing broken windows) can reduce the frequency and severity of much more serious problems (e.g. violent crime). I was reminded, also, that the titles of two of Jason Jennings' books are Less Is More and It's Not the Big That Eat the Small...It's the Fast That Eat the Slow. And, that Mies van der Rohe once observed, "God is in the details." I wholeheartedly agree with Kaplan and Koval that "small" can sometimes have great power or impact and there are countless examples of that. Rather than wrestle or cross swords with Goliath, David slew him with a carefully selected, well-placed stone. And according to legend, Richard III lost his kingdom when his horse fell to the ground at Bosworth after losing a shoe "for wont of a nail." More recently and tragically, the space shuttle Challenger disaster occurred 73 seconds into its flight because of the failure of a gasket (i.e. an O-ring seal) in its right solid rocket booster. Although we cannot control everything, and small will not always have power and impact, Kaplan and Koval suggest, "Believing that it is the small things that make the greatest difference is not just an ideology - it is also timely and pragmatic advice born out of the economically challenged world we live in."

The great value of their book is derived from their pragmatic approach to all manner of situations and circumstances in which recognition and accommodation of the right details can indeed have a significant, beneficial impact. They cite retired U.C.L.A.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All about the Golden Rule May 6 2009
By Jennifer Kydd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
THE POWER OF SMALL reminded me a lot of John Miller's QBQ series. I haven't read the previous book, THE POWER OF NICE, but I would imagine the message is much the same. All in all, Thaler and Koval are sending the message that just one small action in your life can have momentous or serendipitous consequences. By taking a moment to thank someone for a job interview, you could be setting yourself up to be chosen over a more qualified candidate. Or by escorting an old man to a room he's looking for, you could be escorting your boss's boss and thereby leaving a (favorable) memorable impression.

The point of the book is this: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It's the Golden Rule. Everyone knows it but not many actually follow it. Follow it and you will be rewarded in spades.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Insightful May 5 2009
By Lisa Jo Rudy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I picked this book without any great expectations - just hoping for a few insights from a big name ad exec. After reading it, I thought "well of course, this stuff is common sense." But a week later I found I was still noticing examples of the "power of small" in almost every aspect of daily life. For instance - my husband stopped (in his pickup, which carries our company name) and let another car take a left. Who knew that the driver of the car was someone who was looking for a videographer (our business)? Not only did the driver have plenty of time to read and note our company contact info, but she was also positively impressed by our kindess!

Lisa
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Relevant Read April 23 2009
By Kate - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book simply could not have come out at a better time. In a style similar to their previous book, The Power of Nice, Kaplan Thaler and Koval use engaging stories to relate their concepts in the Power of Small. Although the book is a quick and easy read, it packs a powerful messafe that will stick with you long after you put it down. From making checklists, to using visualisation to shrink down your problems into more manageable pieces, the tips provided in the book can apply to a multitude of life situations, and couldn't be more relevant to our current national crisis.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Read April 24 2009
By Sharon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book really inspired me and I'm honestly not one of those self-help reading types who looks for books for inspiration. I kept hearing about this book though and saw this amazing video that showed a woman whose life was saved because of small talk ([...] It made me realize that all those times I feel helpless, I'm not. There are small things we can all do in our daily lives that can have a huge impact in both personal as well as buisness matters.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How and why "small" can be more and better...perhaps even decisive April 23 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As I began to read Linda Thaler Kaplan and Robin Koval's book, I was reminded of the "Broken Window Theory" that George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson discuss in an article published in the Atlantic. As they explain, solving what may seem to be insignificant problems in an urban area (e.g. repairing broken windows) can reduce the frequency and severity of much more serious problems (e.g. violent crime). I was reminded, also, that the titles of two of Jason Jennings' books are Less Is More and It's Not the Big That Eat the Small...It's the Fast That Eat the Slow. And, that Mies van der Rohe once observed, "God is in the details." I wholeheartedly agree with Kaplan and Koval that "small" can sometimes have great power or impact and there are countless examples of that. Rather than wrestle or cross swords with Goliath, David slew him with a carefully selected, well-placed stone. And according to legend, Richard III lost his kingdom when his horse fell to the ground at Bosworth after losing a shoe "for wont of a nail." More recently and tragically, the space shuttle Challenger disaster occurred 73 seconds into its flight because of the failure of a gasket (i.e. an O-ring seal) in its right solid rocket booster. Although we cannot control everything, and small will not always have power and impact, Kaplan and Koval suggest, "Believing that it is the small things that make the greatest difference is not just an ideology - it is also timely and pragmatic advice born out of the economically challenged world we live in."

The great value of their book is derived from their pragmatic approach to all manner of situations and circumstances in which recognition and accommodation of the right details can indeed have a significant, beneficial impact. They cite retired U.C.L.A. men's basketball coach John Wooden custom of devoting his entire first meeting with players explaining how to put on their socks. He realized the value of that when playing high school and then college basketball in Indiana and introduced the custom at the first practice of the team he coached at Dayton High School in Kentucky. The tradition continued until his last season of coaching at U.C.L.A. when his team that year won the last of ten NCAA titles during his last 12 seasons, including seven in a row from 1967 to 1973. By the way, not one of his players ever had any problems with blisters. I also learned during a memorable afternoon with Coach Wooden after he retired that he had planned each 90-minute practice on a 3x5 file card and had saved every card since the first team practice at Dayton High School. Two key points: Coach Wooden left nothing to chance that he could control, and, no detail was insignificant if it was in the best interests of his players, the team, and their university.

I really appreciate the informal, almost conversational tone that Kaplan and Koval immediately establish with their reader before they work their way through an especially lively and eloquent narrative. The chapter titles are clever (e.g. "Go the Extra Inch") but not cute. They take the subject (i.e. the power of small) seriously because of the potentially enormous implications and consequences of neglecting or ignoring "the right details" but, that said, they should have provided an occasional qualification to temper an otherwise strident comment. Surely they realize that some (but not all) "little mistakes spell disaster"; there are times when it is possible to "make it big by thinking small" but there other times when thinking small makes "it" even smaller; and when "small changes the world," the results are not necessarilybeneficial. I think the subtitle should have been "Why Little Things Can Make All the Difference."

That said, this is nonetheless an insightful, thought-provoking, and well-written book in which Thaler and Koval explain why it is important to develop several different mindsets, including those that understand and appreciate "The Power of Small" as well as "The Power of Large." In another of his books, Think Big, Act Small, Jason Jennings affirms the value of having a bold and inspiring vision while "nailing the fundamentals." The most innovative companies encourage and support constant experimentation by those who take small scale, carefully calculated, and prudent risks. They reward rather than punish those associated with an experiment that fails, viewing it, in fact, not as a "failure" but as a learning opportunity. Each of the world's largest corporations began as a small idea that one or two people began to develop, albeit with "high hopes and great expectations." Think of that idea as an acorn. Today, it is an oak tree. The same can be said of small and isolated acts of kindness that have become worldwide movements to help those less fortunate.

With both skill and passion, Linda Thaler Kaplan and Robin Koval urge their readers to be alert for the important details that others miss, to become an effective problem finder, to make "going above and beyond the call of duty" their standard operating procedure, to be a more inquisitive and attentive listener, to take advantage of every opportunity to tell others how much they are appreciated, and in countless other ways to apply and leverage "the power of small" whenever and wherever appropriate. Well-done!
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