This is a sprightly, and brief, book that can be read practically at one sitting. Thaler and Kaplan know how to tell a good anecdote. The one that sticks with me is about Thaler's college music-composition professor telling her she had no talent for writing atonal, avant-garde music and should stick to "jingles": the result was a wildly successful career in advertising.
A lot of the advice here is of the "kindergarten" variety but is still invaluable. Tell the truth. Give other people the credit that is due them. Put yourself in the other person's place.
Actually, only a small portion of the advice here would strictly fall in the category of being "nice" just for the sake of being nice and doing the right thing just because it's right. Some examples: It is better not to fire people via e-mail. One should respect all human beings, whether they are security guards, CEOs, or panhandlers. That's called being "nice," or what Yiddish speakers used to say was simply being a "mensch."
Other pieces of advice here are more clearly strategic. Certainly it pays to cultivate friends and contacts: we hear once again the story about Bill Clinton shaking everyone's hand on the ship on the way to his Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford, telling them he hoped to be president of the United States some day. As many other business and pop-psychology writers have noted, listening is generally far preferable to speaking at one-on-one business meetings because the other person responds well to a meeting at which he is talking. Stay positive in a political or other campaign if you can; no one really likes hearing negative pitches all the time.
With that caveat -- that some of the advice is good but standard business-book thinking -- I can give this book four stars. It's really a nice book.
on October 8, 2006
Stuck in LA . Flight delayed,Desperate for a short but useful book. The last book I would normally pick is one with a smiley face. Glad I did. The book's Big Idea: we are all connected and when we do one nice thing it spreads and rebounds---in often very unexpected ways---to our benefit. Useful examples on how helping supposed enemies is often good business; insightful ideas on treating today's adversaries like tomorrow's allies; unconvential tactics on moving your frames from "no" to "yes". By the time the flight was ready to board, the book read through---a lot wiser. What they say about books and their covers, so true.
on February 11, 2007
Walking through the down town train terminal in Melbourne to catch the 12:15 p.m. `rocket train' to Bendigo, a gold rush town of 19th century Australia, which still manages to carry on and exist despite our states current lack of water, to see an old friend from my university days; trying to kill time, came across this extraordinary book. Short in length, the book's content strangely connecting to a conversation about business with a friend the night before, I decided to buy the text and read it on my two hour journey...excellent.
As the two successful advertising business women claim, to be `nice' is much more powerful than the age-old capitalist strategies in business: intimidation, arrogance, intrigue and a conscience capability to `make the kill' has always been the mark of any successful person or company. What Thaler and Koval have discovered is that basic good manners, being cordial, friendly, and unconsciously kind, will bring in more business than the other.
The author's give the reader many examples of `nice' over arrogance, kindness over aggression, but the most simple and compelling anecdote was the story about their buildings security guard, Frank.
Frank is a larger than life human being who, everyday, meets the NYC workers that move hurriedly to the elevator in search of that first cup of coffee or unfinished presentation. Good old Frank always greets each person with a big grin and a heartfelt `Good Morning'. This greeting is sincere and as time moved along, the workers' for the authors advertising business felt better in the morning and wittled it down to the fact that Frank was the reason (or part of the reason for their change of attitude in the mornings) and began to change their own approaches to business as a result.
The most interesting aspect of this story is that Frank won them one of their biggest accounts, an airline of international distinction. As the anecdote goes, the out-of-town- execs were a little edgy about coming to NYC, as its reputation, in terms of rudeness, is world renown. The execs entered the building and old Frank was there standing guard at the elevator, smiling, hand extended, welcoming them to NYC and the Kaplan Thaler Group. As the author's note, the presentation had been good, but the airlines comments, that if a company had a man likes Frank at their front door, they must be on the ball - the Thaler Kaplan Group won the account.
In life and business kindness and niceness goes a long way; and if consciously practiced, might have huge beneficial outcomes.
Good manners, please and thank you, listening with intent, honesty, put up with, and are nice to, those that irritate;
try to keep the focus of conversation away from yourself, listen with even more intent, give little gifts, chocolates or sweet items that can be eaten without guilt;
Swallow your ego from time to time and let it go, giving something you love to someone else that needs it more;
Compliment but with sincerity, smile, smile and smile again even though you don't feel like it because, more than likely, by forcing those lips to curve, you'll feel happy.
Attempt to feel what the other person is feeling, `walking a few steps in their sandals', and your point of view will change and you'll perhaps develop a bigger picture...
Thaler & Koval did not write this book to make a lot of cash. (Though they have because the advice is true and practical) Though, to be fair, being nice to someone will get you a lot further than neglect or arrogance.
One of the central lessons in this text, (one of the many) is that people remember acts of kindness and acts of selfishness and cruelty. One day you might be sitting in front of a potential employer, wanting the job, but in the past, you were not nice or even cruel to them or to someone they know. Guess what? Next?
I liked this book because its tenets are true and work in the day to day world.
To be nice or kind if you are not used to being so, like basketball, guitar or golf, takes practice to achieve any level of competency.
This book is age old advice, like a seasoned mature wine packaged in a brand new bottle...timeless and worthwhile.
on December 13, 2006
It sounds basic, but being nice is just something that not everybody
does--or at least not often enough . . . and if that's the case in
your company or organization, then please get and read
THE POWER OF NICE: HOW TO CONQUER THE BUSINESS
WORLD WITH KINDNESS by advertising executives Linda
Kaplan Thealer and Robin Koval.
This is a small but powerful book, packed with
plenty of examples from the corporate world . . . however,
students and others would greatly benefit from reading it as
well, as what the authors have to say makes an awful lot
of sense in any situation.
For example, they talk about how this one little act of kindness
made a flight attendant's day:
While traveling on a business trip from Los Angeles to New York,
Rachel Pine noticed that the airline crew looked extremely harried.
So when the flight attendant came by to check her seat belt,
Rachel offered her a Fig Newton from her family-size pack. "She
took it, and was so grateful that she looked like she was going
to burst into tears," said Rachel. Soon after, the attendant returned
and asked Rachel to follow her--to first class. "The attendant said,
`You have no idea what our last flight was like. If just one passenger
had been like you, it would have been bearable.' "
I also liked this technique for getting people to pay money
that they owe:
Gail tried a number of tactics to convince her creditors to pay--from
letters that said "Please pay soon" festooned with smiley faces to
diplomatic phone calls--but nothing worked. Desperate, she
stumbled on what turned out to be a brilliantly effective idea:
bribing them with baked goods. "I would send out reminders
of past-due invoices with the enticement that if paid by a specified
date, I would reward the client with fresh baked cookies, brownies,
cake--whatever they wanted. And it worked."
And then there's this technique that I currently use (and suggest
that others do, too):
The next time someone close to you is feeling cranky or
disagreeable, try handing them a few chocolate Kisses or
offering them the candy bowl. Although scientists haven't
completely unraveled the mysteries of chocolate, they do know
it contains several organic compounds that produce feelings of
well-being in the human brain. The tryptophan found in
chocolate, for example, enables the brain to create serotonin,
an organic compound that can produce feelings of elation and
ecstasy. And the phenylethylamine in chocolate stimulates the
brain's pleasure centers and produces many of the feelings of
infatuation, including giddiness, attraction, and excitement.
Lastly, THE POWER OF NICE contained some great exercises
that anybody could utilize . . . this one, in particular, caught
Zip your lip
For one day, try to say as little as possible. Try to keep the
focus away from yourself. Where you're tempted to tell a
story, ask a question. Where you're tempted to say, "Oh,
that same thing happened to me...," ask, "How did that make
you feel?" Don't be obnoxious about it. If someone asks how
you feel about the new sports stadium the city is building,
answer the question. But then bring the conversation back to
the other person's opinion. At the end of the day, make a list
of everything that you learned. How much would you have
missed if you had spent the time talking about yourself?
on October 4, 2006
As a bzz agent I get to get some great info ahead of the mainstream. This Is one book I'm glad to have read.
The idea for individuals to be nice to each other and the rewards will come has been out there for a while. There's the "teachings" of Deepak Chopra, the movie "Pay it Forward," "The Power of Positive Thinking" (although this one is more on an individual level), Chicken Soup for the Soul and Random Acts of Kindness. These are simple ways of living in which we can be nice to one another and "karma" or the univers will see to it we get our just rewards.
Well now the business world can take heed. "The Power of Nice" has a business approach to being nice can help your business grow faster than dog-eat-dog. The authors have cited their own examples of how this has worked for them and have gathered real-life examples from others in the business world. You will read examples from Donald Trump (yes he can actually be nice) to Jay Leno.
Now, the really interesting part of this book is not the examples but they have exercises at the end of the chapters, which they call "Nice Cubes" that can help you actually put it into practice. They have also created "The Six Power of Nice Principles" which are a great way to refresh your self and your co-workers on how to be nice in the business world.
on December 20, 2015
I'm sure there are other comments about this but they used Donald Trump as an example of kindness in the first chapter or two. Look, I get a kick out of The Donald sometimes but to pick him as an example of kindness, just seems preposterous, more than ever now. Not enough reverence for their subject, which is a shame.
While there is nothing revolutionary in this slim volume ("Be nice -- it's the right thing to do and it just might make your business better"), what is new and different is the wealth of examples the authors provide from their professional and personal lives, as well as the scenarios from other famous and not-so-famous people.
Well-written in a smooth, conversational style, this book will serve as a much-needed reminder that cutthroat business practices aren't the only way to get ahead.
on October 12, 2006
I received this book as part of a [...]. It took me about an hour and a half to read the whole book. It is a great book, very simply and succintly written. The ideas presented are some that we were always taught in school but probably failed to follow somewhere along the way. It teaches us to be good to others , even if they are our enemies, because what goes around , comes around. If you do good to others , it will come back to you. The nice cubes are especially helpful. I have noticed that I do make a conscious effort on my part every day to be good to others at work and at home even if I dont have to. It makes my day go better :)
if you work in an office , it should be required reading.
on October 1, 2006
...by its cutesy cover. I wasn't sure how practically useful or informative the book would be - its title and slim size sort of put me in mind of a "For Complete Idiots" book, or a how-to book for people who read cleverly titled best-sellers more than they start successful businesses. I was completely wrong, of course, hence the star rating! Every word of this book is steeped in a relaxed, confident air of rock-solid business experience and the unassailable record of success which the authors wear with charming modesty. These intelligent, enterprising women back up their thesis with well-chosen examples, and the writing throughout is smart, engaging, and unfailingly entertaining (well, I'm sure the ghost writer helped in that department). Best of all, by contradicting the highly selfish yet generally accepted wisdom of the business world ("Get your piece of the pie" becomes "Bake a bigger pie"), Thaler and Koval turn the corporation-as-sociopath model (which has been serving the US economy and businesses so *ahem* well lately) on its head, persuasively advocating a more effective and, frankly, healthier option.
It's a quick read of the best kind, and one that you'll most likely come back to after the first time through. For casual readers and top executives alike, I highly recommend it.
on October 4, 2006
I was sent The Power of Nice as part of a bzz campaign and really enjoyed it. The book reinforced what I've believed for years that being nice does lead to a very successful business career and life. Their practical examples and real life stories combined with the research presented made the book more than just feel good fluff.