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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The Meaning of Nice: How Compassion and Civility Can Change Your Life (and the World)

It's probably fair to say that most people are turned off by rudeness, selfishness and greed. But in the cold-hearted scramble for success and perks, many justify their bad behavior as what's needed in a dog-eat-dog world. At the same time, those who feel more optimistic about human nature point to the upturn in volunteerism as more people discover the benefits of being nice.

cover: the meaning of niceJoan Duncan Oliver, an award-winning journalist, takes us on a cogent tour through the complex world of nice, drawing on a variety of disciplines.

Researchers have found that a nice person is kind, generous, caring and compassionate. In a chapter titled "Why Manners Matter," Oliver lists the seven magic words that are the essence of this practice: "Please. Thank you. Excuse me. I'm sorry."

She concludes: "The nicest people are simply those who haven't forgotten our essential kinship as human beings" (Berkley Books).


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