Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct
by P.M. Forni
Choosing Civility is about counteracting the “coarsening of America.” It was published in 2002, but is more relevant than ever.
“Being civil means being constantly aware of others and weaving restraint, respect, and consideration into the fabric of this awareness… When we approach others assuming that they are good, honest, and sensitive, we often encourage them to be just that.”
“Every act of kindness is, first of all, an act of attention… When we relate to the world as if we were on automatic pilot, we can hardly be at our best in our encounters with our fellow human beings.”
“Restraint is our inner designated driver. We all have it, and we all can learn to summon it whenever we need it… Restraint is an infusion of thinking—and thoughtfulness—into everything we do.”
The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World With Kindness
by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval
You may not be familiar with the authors’ names, but you are probably familiar with their work. They are the founding partners of the advertising agency responsible for the Aflac duck campaign. One of them wrote the “I want to be a Toys R Us Kid” jingle earlier in her career.
Their message is that being nice (but not phony) in personal and professional encounters builds goodwill, which can lead to big and small rewards. Many examples are included in the book. Continue reading
Confessions of an Accidental Businessman: It Takes a Lifetime to Find Wisdom
by James A. Autry
James Autry worked his way up from copy editor of Better Homes and Gardens to president of the magazine division. This memoir gets off to a slow start talking about his childhood and military service, but it gets more interesting when he starts to focus on his publishing career.
There are some memorable lines in this book: Continue reading
Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence
by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee
Building on the lead author’s prior book, Emotional Intelligence, this book is about “leadership resonance.” The authors also warn about the opposite effect, dissonance, which destroys motivation and productivity. “Great leaders move us. They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us. When we try to explain why they are so effective, we speak of strategy, vision, or powerful ideas. But the reality is much more primal: Great leadership works through the emotions.” The authors cite a University of Maryland study showing that good morale has a positive effect on revenue and customer satisfaction. Continue reading
How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life
By Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.
This book starts with a brief history of a North Korean POW camp which held 1000 U.S. prisoners. The prisoners had adequate food and shelter. They were not physically tortured. And yet, this camp had the highest POW death rate in U.S. military history.
The weapon of choice was subtle psychological warfare, which eroded trust among fellow prisoners and broke their sense of hope. In essence, the cause of death was extreme negativity. Continue reading