This week, Life Training Online is reviewing The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World With Kindness, by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, the seventh of fifty-two books in the 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks series.

A common thread that runs through much of our business world today is a “me vs. you” mentality. In a culture that believes such maxims as “nice guys finish last” and “no good deed goes unpunished”, the Power of Nice is bringing kindness back into the mainstream.

Thaler and Koval, in their extensive experience in the cut-throat and competitive world of advertising have noticed time and time again the power of nice. It wasn’t intimidation or fear that brought about their extraordinary success but instead it was those simple acts of kindness like smiles and compliments that made all the difference.

The Six Power of Nice Principles

For all those who want to implement the Power of Nice into their lives, the authors explain six Power of Nice principles that, when followed, will transform how you work and live. Here’s a summary of them:

  1. Positive impressions are like seeds
    Any time you do something nice for someone, it is much like planting a seed. These seeds, with time, begin to swell and grow — most often, without you even being aware of it. And almost with mathematical certainty, you will begin to see the fruits of these seeds creating many opportunities for you down the road.
  2. You Never Know
    When dishing out your pleasantries, it doesn’t pay to be selective. It’s not just your boss’s wife with whom you should be nice, you should make it a habit to be nice to everyone because you never know who they might be.
  3. People Change
    Much like you don’t know who someone might be, you never know who they might become. If at your office you are only cordial with your co-workers and superiors but not to the guy who takes out the garbage because to you they “have no power”, then you’re limiting yourself. People change. You never know who that person may be in five, ten, or twenty years from now.
  4. Nice must be automatic
    You can’t fake niceness. People have an amazing ability to ferret out deception, so don’t do it. Being nice must be a part of you. So make sure you practice it on a regular basis. At the shopping center, with your mailman, in the checkout line. Practice being truly sincere and kind at all times, then it will become a part of you.
  5. Negative impressions are like germs
    If you think that you treating someone badly because “they don’t matter” has no ill-effect, think again. Your unkindness can spread like a bad case of the flu to others who are in ear or eye shot of your rudeness. For example, how do you feel about that someone who you notice is being rude to a waitress? Don’t their actions make you think less of them, even though they hadn’t directed them at you?
  6. You will know
    Just because no one might have noticed your rudeness or bad behavior toward someone, or that you’ll never see that person again so no one will know, remember that you will know. Being nice isn’t about constantly carrying around a forced smile or scheming about what you’ll be able to get from a person if you show them kindness. It’s about living it completely in your everyday life.

Bake a Bigger Pie

We are taught that the best way to get ahead in life and to find success is to take as much as you can for yourself. We focus on beating the competition and grabbing our share of the pie first so that we’re not left with the crumbs. Living in a free-market society seems to propagate this. The authors response? Bake a bigger pie.

This is what Covey refers to as Win-Win — finding that solution where all can benefit. The beauty of this is that when you help others to get a slice of the pie, what often is the case is that the pie ends up being bigger for both of you — bigger than it would have been if you just took it for yourself. This is true synergy and can only happen when you work in cooperation with others.

The Power of Nice is the seventh of fifty-two books in Life Training – Online’s series 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks.

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