I’ve always had a bit of the smart-mouth on me (and you, dear reader, can save your smart-aleck reaction to this statement for later; rest assured I do know what you’re thinking). Although I tend to be a fairly upbeat person, I’ve learned that things I say or write can come out sounding a bit … negative. In my line of work, a simple, businesslike critique of a storyline or even a paragraph can literally crush an inexperienced writer. (My friend author Michelle Ule notes people often don’t understand what’s involved in editing, nor what it really means to be a writer, and says, “I try to be nice to innocents”—which makes me laugh some days, and cry others.)
So I really enjoyed reading Guy Kawasaki’s new book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. (You can learn a little about it here, which is where I first did.) Kawasaki has been enchanting folks for years; I was exposed to him around 1990 when I bought my first Mac and began reading his column in MacAddict magazine. (And he’s now a well-known blogger, among many other things.)
The marketing push for this book has been extraordinary, so I’ll be surprised if you haven’t heard about it already. It’s a charming (that is, enchanting), straight-talking book about the correlation between interpersonal relationships (which involve both likability and trustworthiness) and personal success (however you define that). Whether you’re a small business owner, a freelancer like me, or the employee of a large corporate entity, there’s something here for you. Penelope Trunk says the current workforce favors being enchanting more than anything else, “because if you are enchanting, you can always find the right someone to help you get to your next, right, spot. If you are enchanting, it doesn’t matter what jobs are gone. You’ll always find one.” Words to live by in the present economy.
Bottom line, your mother was right: be nice (in person and in print). It worked when you were in kindergarten, and it will work now. :)
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