Being nice is the new black

By Carmen Comment

Newsday’s Pat Burson tries to forge a trend out of three books that have something to do with, oh, being nice, genuine, normal, that sort of thing. Because the usual drill is that three of something makes for a trend piece, and so Brian Tracy and Ron Arden‘s THE POWER OF CHARM, Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval‘s THE POWER OF NICE and Piero Ferrucci‘s THE POWER OF KINDNESS all get their due here.

First, charm. “I think mostly you recognize charming people by the way they make you feel,” Arden explains. “Their focus seems to be being interested in you – what you think and what you have to say – and far less about themselves.” Then, niceness, explained in the book’s first chapter because the authors declined being interviewed. “Our culture has helped to propagate the myth of social Darwinism – of survival of the fittest – that the cutthroat ‘me vs. you’ philosophy wins the day. … Yet this completely contradicts the way we have run our business and our lives.”

And as for kindness, “[it] is much deeper than courtesy,” Ferrucci explains. “It has to do with warmth and with respect and with patience.” It starts with being honest, he says. “Sincerity is the first quality of kindness. Don’t be kind if you don’t want to be kind because then it is an effort, and we just become more tense. If we don’t want to be kind, that means we probably have some of our needs to be taken care of first.”