The Domino Effect

The Domino Effect

A domino is a flat, thumbsized, rectangular block with one side bearing from one to six pips or dots: 28 such pieces form a complete set. When you knock over the first domino, it sets off a chain reaction that cascades down through its whole row. The effect is called the Domino Effect. The term can also be applied to a series of events that happen sequentially, but at a distance, such as a financial collapse or the spread of a disease.

Dominos are the building blocks of a variety of games, most often played in pairs or groups. Each player takes a number of dominoes (one to ten for two players, or seven to fifteen for three to five players) and places them on the table. The remaining dominoes remain “sleeping” until someone plays a piece that they cannot match to the adjacent ones on the table. The player then takes the sleeping dominoes and adds them to their own set. Play continues until either one player has all of their dominoes laid down or there are no more matching sides to play onto the existing chains.

Hevesh started domino collecting as a child and has since grown into a professional domino artist, creating impressive setups for movies and other events, including an album launch for Katy Perry. Her largest creations consist of thousands of dominoes that take several nail-biting minutes to fall. But Hevesh knows that her work isn’t just about making something beautiful—it’s also about showing people that they can achieve anything.

Each domino has inertia, a tendency to resist motion when no outside force is pushing or pulling on it. But a small nudge is all that it takes to overcome that inertia, and when the first domino falls over, its potential energy becomes available for something else—in this case, to push on the next domino. The result is a chain reaction.

The same principle applies to human behavior, where small nudges can lead to major changes. It’s an idea that’s been popularized in a range of books and movies, such as “The Butterfly Effect” and “A Beautiful Mind.” The effect can also be applied to other types of systems, from global finance to world politics.

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