The Domino Effect

Dominoes are one of those classic toys that stand the test of time. They’re not just for kids, either; they can be used to create beautiful patterns of lines and curved lines, or even 3D structures like towers or pyramids.

The simplest domino is a rectangular block, typically twice as long as it is wide, that features a line down the middle that divides it visually into two squares, each bearing from one to six dots or pips. The pips on the identity-bearing face of each domino are often colored, allowing for easy identification. Identical in shape to a standard playing card, each domino has a different value depending on the arrangement of its pips. The most common domino sets are double-six, double-twelve, and double-12 (91 tiles), though larger sets can be found.

A domino is used in a variety of games, usually played by a group of people with a single goal: to score points by laying pieces end to end on the table so that the exposed ends of all of the pieces match—one’s touching ones, twos touching twos, etc. When all of the tiles have been played, a player wins.

Hevesh has created incredibly elaborate domino arrangements using thousands of pieces. Some of her largest installations take several nail-biting minutes to fall—and that’s when gravity takes over and does the rest. Hevesh has even consulted with engineers to help design an electric domino effect, which she hopes will be available in the near future.

In the business world, domino has also become a popular metaphor for the way that small triggers can set off large chains of events. The domino effect is not limited to physical events, either; it can refer to anything from a political situation to an idea or plan. For example, in the late Cold War, President Eisenhower cited the falling domino principle when explaining why America was able to offer aid to South Vietnam without risking the spread of Communism across Asia.

Whether you’re creating a domino rally, planning your book plot, or writing about the effect of one event on another, thinking about the domino effect can be a helpful strategy to help make your message more relatable. It can also give you a new way of looking at how things happen in life, and the ways we can create our own destiny by simply letting go.