The Power of Nice

Last spring I went through a stage where I was really nervous about graduating from college. I was scared of 'growing up', and I didn't feel as though I really got out of my education what I hoped. Although I do have a BA now from the University of Nevada, Reno I decided to head back to school. For those of you who do not know I have relocated to Los Angeles and I am attending the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I absolutely love it, my mother said "you are in the right place" during a phone call the other day. She is right, I am in the right place. Even though I am away from snow I could never be happier. I am glad with the decision I made, and the transition I did. I finish FIDM in less that 9 months now, I feel as though after this I will be ready to get a job and really apply my knowledge.

During my transition breakdown I went on a book buying spree. The main topic: life transitions and things alike. One of the books I really enjoyed last year was by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, "The Power of Small". With the move I haven't had much time to read, which isn't very personally satisfying. I love reading. So, yesterday as I headed out the door to work I grabbed "The Power of Nice" from my bookshelf and went to town with reading!I was able to polish it off in a number of hours! Fantastic read! Like that other book that I read by Thaler and Koval. I suggest this short read 110%. The forward was done by Mr. Jay Leno, and there are small excerpts throughout the book of his thoughts, or how being nice has helped him becomes as successful as he is currently.

My mom drilled the idea of "kill 'em with kindness" while I was growing up to Sarah and I. Now --  I really appreciate her for that. I know it is not easy to be nice to a person you are disagreeing with, but, it will get you a lot further in life if you try your hardest. Thaler and Koval have taken the 'kill 'em with kindness' motto and expanded on it. Sometimes nice can be fake. Sometimes nice cannot be found. Nice can be something we have to dig for, but nice can also be life changing as many of the small stories in The Power of Nice proved.

"It's not about being phony or manipulative. It's about valuing niceness -- in yourself and others -- the same way you respect intelligence, beauty, or talent. Niceness is a powerful force. In fact, it can literally save your life" (pg 12).

I love the little tips, or the "nice cube" that are inserted at the end of each chapter. The nice boxes are fantastic ideas of ways to increasing your....well...niceness! My favorite is "Do five nice things that have no immediate payoff for you". Thaler and Koval mention Yvon Chouinard -- founder of Patagonia -- and his book "Let My People Go Surfing", I have been wanting to read this for a while -- add it to the list of " to reads".

In Chapter 4, Thaler and Koval write a section called "Let 'em eat cake", sometimes (especially in a business driven environment) we dehumanize people and forget that we are all alike, the fancy degree that one may have makes them no mightier than another person at the end of the day -- we are human we really do like simplicity -- some homemade cookies can make a person feel like a million bucks. When I was applying for college 6 years ago Warren Witherell sat me down and said "Bud, the greatest CEO's are not those who had A's and B's in school, but they are the ones that had C's and D's", he has also mentioned numerous times over our friendship that "its only your undergrad", and I completely understand what he means -- and after reading "Let 'em eat cake" it made me that much happier, and I realized that even though I may not be a A+ student I am climbing my way to the top by satisfying others through meaningful recognition and true and meaningful devotion:

"We often act as if business is very complicated, convincing ourselves that our policies have to be ultrarational and our approach high-tech. We focus on our negotiating techniques and intellectual prowess. We carry on about our skill sets or drop the name of the prestigious business schools we attended. We forget that sometimes a simple inducement or reward can trump the most sophisticated systems. Having an MBA from Harvard or Wharton is fine, but there are times when a fancy degree just can't match a simple glass of ice-cold lemonade" (pg 31). 

There are several other chapters that get into education, teamwork, etc that I thought were interesting. I am looking forward to my next group project at school -- especially because I struggled so much with the last one I worked on. 

Of course "When you smile at others, you literally "infect" them with happiness" (pg 35), if you know me you know I LOVE smiling, and LOVE showing off my pearly whites. Why not smile? 

I would love to tell you more about this great book, but I am going to leave it to you to head over to the local library or Barnes & Noble and read it yourself. This book is full of fantastic ideas, and I urge you to take a few hours and read it! Thaler and Koval have another book out that I am going to try and get my hands on when I replenish my reading collection next time, it is called "Bang! Getting your Message Heard in a Noisy World". 

Right now I am working on Richard Bode's First You Have to Row a Little Boat: Reflections of Life & Living. I am in love with it! I have actually had a difficult time putting it down -- I will share my reading experience with everyone as soon as I am finished with it! 

I was also lucky enough to have Santa give me a Barnes & Noble gift card for Christmas! I can't wait to head to the 3 story one in Glendale!!! 


1 comment:

  1. Hi Elizabeth! Thanks once again for such a kind review of one of our books. We were thrilled to read your thoughts on THE POWER OF SMALL last year and even happier to see that THE POWER OF NICE made an impression. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on BANG!

    All the best to you in the New Year!