Niceness has a bad name in business. Indeed, usually it seems as if the bad boys and girls get ahead, not the good and kindhearted. No one would call former GE chief Jack “Neutron” Welch or Leona “Queen of Mean” Helmsley nice. But Welch started poor and is now worth $720 million. High-school dropout Helmsley was a billionaire until her tax-evasion fall. Authors Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval say these two toughies are not-so-nice exceptions that prove the rule: Being nice is not only the right way to act, it is the smart way to get ahead. The authors present real-life examples of nice guys who finish first. They demonstrate that treating people well pays in the end. getAbstract endorses their humane premise, while confessing some skepticism about their cheery take on how the world works. If you’ve lost a promotion, for instance, you might not agree that life is always sunny. The authors say hard work, not influence, always wins. Not necessarily, alas. However, this optimistic book has a lot of positive messages, including information nuggets labeled “nice cubes.” One says you can ease people’s stress by giving them chocolate. Another notes that you can make yourself and others feel better by smiling at them. That rings true: Any day when you get chocolate and a smile can’t be all bad.
About the Authors
Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval are CEO and president of The Kaplan Thaler Group, a fast-growing, New York advertising agency. In 2005, they co-wrote Bang, a bestseller.