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The Kindness Effect – Book Review

KindnessEffect

This year, my personal goal has been to intentionally read books about humility, kindness, and compassion. In reading the Bible, there are many instances that document Jesus feeling compassion or kindness for a group of people. So I’m intentionally working to read and understand a little more what that looks like, especially as a Jesus follower, and especially in today’s time.

Needless to say, as I spotted “The Kindness Effect” at my grandmother’s house I was intrigued. So I finally decided to borrow it.

My husband can vouch to this, I have truly enjoyed this book. Several times I’ve sat and read and laughed while reading this book.

Jill Donovan, the book’s author, shares her journey and motivation to start Rustic Cuff, a brand of motivational designer jewelry. Although this wouldn’t be marketed as a book on humility, she certainly shares some very personal stories that allow us to glean the lesson of humility through her.

I’ve read a lot of books, but this is the first time I’ve read a book and felt like I was truly getting to know the author. Not that I was learning about them, but that I was personally being invited into their life. The way Jill discusses hopes and expectations she had in meeting celebrities, is ironically how I felt while I read her book. I felt like she was having a conversation with me as a friend.

If you are reading this book looking for the “how-tos” of kindness, this isn’t that. However, if you are looking for examples of how “random” kindness plays out, this is that.

Now, the actual book’s content.”The Kindness Effect” is what one would call an “easy-read.” It’s not super wordy, and Jill doesn’t try to sound lofty or profound. She simply shares stories of how Rustic Cuff, her business, has been able to spread kindness.

I thought the personal stories made the book and Jill “relatable.” Jill discusses miscarriages, failure, and loss in this book, but never in a way that makes you feel sorry for her. In addition to those open moments, she shares a fair amount of generally embarrassing moments as well. One took place on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and served as the catalyst to starting her company. As she says, “Embarrassing situations often teach the best lesson; they set us free from the impulse to judge wrongly.”

What also makes the book a fun read besides its wording and personal stories, is the balance of seriousness and comedy. As you read this book you forget you’re reading about this very successful person, and feel as though you’re having a conversation with a friend of family member. Jill seems very down-to-earth, and it shows in this book.

While this is totally based on preference alone, I think it would have been nice to know how she came up with the title for the book. She lets us in on so many other details, this one would have been fun to share as well. I understand the title is a representation of the rippling effect of kindness both in and outside of business, but the book shares in large part the kindness of Rustic Cuff and its employees as well as customers. It’s almost as if a title like “Rustic Kindness” or “Rustic Giving” would stand out just as much, if not more. Again, this is just total brainstorming on my part, and not even a critique.

I’d highly recommend this book. Again, its not a “how-to” but more of a what happens when you know “how-to” give your “brand” of kindness. If you have a week or weekend of spare time, I recommend this book. Its a 160-page, page turner. If you want a reminder of kind people existing in the world, I recommend this book. If you want to be a kind person existing in this world, this book will encourage you towards that.

Thanks Jill, I enjoyed getting to know you!

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