Reading List: The Power of Small (Why Little Things Make All the Difference)

By Matt Van Hoven 

In their new book, “The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference” Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval (of famed super agency The Kaplan Thaler Group) make some good points about paying attention to detail, why it’s important to do so, and how it’s made them who they are (etc) &#151 but, we’re not sure they needed to write an entire book to send the message home.

Most of us grew up listening to adults tell us that the devil is in the details; it’s the little things that matter; stop screwing up you idiot. Wait, maybe that last one was a little harsh. Anyway, Kaplan Thaler and Koval took 133 smallish pages to ask, “why not embrace the power of small in your life?” You know, remembering to say please and thank you, and putting your change in a jar and when it’s full, buy a house with it! Erm.


These are all good points &#151 and Kaplan Thaler/Koval are sure to do well with this piece. Their last, “The Power of Nice” was a New York Times bestseller, so we imagine they’re hoping for the same result with Small. But this one just wasn’t for us. It’s a little like “Chicken Soup for the Soul” without the chicken, meaning it didn’t feel as good as we wanted it to.

An aspect we found irksome &#151 the constant references to their agency. We don’t know why this bothered us, but it got old really fast. You’ll say &#151 they’re so successful that they have every right to make mention of their accomplishments. Fine, true. But we felt propagandized &#151 like that publicist who keeps calling and calling to remind us why their Kool-aid is so great, even though we just had a big glass.

All in all, if you want a little carry-along piece full of little instructional tips on small improvements you can make (check the presentation one more time!) this is the book for you. But for $17.95, we’d recommend you call up your mom and ask some inane question about how she thinks you could improve your life &#151 she’ll have more than 133 pages of commentary geared just for you, and you’ll have an extra $18 in your pocket. There’s a recession on, people!

The book isn’t out til April.

Reading List: The Happy Soul Industry, by Steffan Postaer