“The twenty-first-century business world is not for the timid,” says Kristin Tillquist. “It’s a place for the vibrantly, positively, dynamically nice.”

Kristin doesn’t promote self-sacrifice or a let-everyone-walk-over-me sort of niceness, but rather an outgoing, caring attitude toward others coupled with a strong and savvy business approach.

Citing Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell, Warren Buffett and Sandra Bullock as examples, she points out that when you learn kindness as a path to achieve your loftiest goals as well as your simplest everyday desires, you join the ranks of the most successful professionals on the planet.

Five powerful tools for developing kindness capital make such results possible. Each chapter of the book covers one of these five tools and explains how to overcome that area’s main kindness inhibitor:

1. The Power of Reputation
is about being known for caring and having others’ best interests at heart. A kindness inhibitor to this power can be the Busyness Barrier: The “I’m too busy” excuse is a way of saying, “It’s not a priority,” or, “I’m not interested.” The chapter concludes with creative ways to sneak small kindnesses into your business life.

2. The Power of Reciprocity comes from doing favors to others and garnering reciprocal acts of kindness. Being kind is contagious and develops “serial reciprocity” or pay-it-forward kindness. A possible kindness inhibitor can be the Nice Guys Finish Last myth. Always strike a balance between being nice to others and taking care of yourself.

3. The Power of Personality comes from learning to be likeable. The key to acquiring this power is positivity, a skill anyone can learn by paying attention to one’s thoughts and words, and focusing on what’s right with people and situations. A kindness inhibitor can be the Me First syndrome, where we ignore our interconnectedness and choose to “do our own thing.”

4. The Power of Thanks is about feeling and expressing gratitude and appreciation. Receiving praise triggers the same area of the brain (the reward center) as does receiving money. Mary Kay Ash coined the phrase “praising people to success.” She knew that the most effective way to make people feel and perform like winners is to simply thank them and acknowledge their contributions.

5. The Power of Connecting
comes from building a strong network of relationships and friendships. Wondering how to create the common ground that generates feelings of well-being and concomitant productivity? Cultivate the ability to anticipate others’ needs and see things from their perspective.

Above all else, building kindness capital is about being self-aware and being conscious of your effect on others.

According to Kristin, many people genuinely care about others but fail to match their business practices to their beliefs.

This book gives you a lens not only to learn the benefits of kindness as a business tool, but also to give you inspiration to cultivate and anticipate the best in, and for, others.

Paperback, 255 pages, $15.99;
Career Press, 2009