Review published on September 30, 2017.
In today’s world, it can sometimes be hard to remember the positives, but Jaime Thurston’s Kindness is a beacon of light and hope. The founder of the charity 52 Lives, which helps change the lives of people in need by harnessing the kindness of strangers around the world, Thurston has encouraged and witnessed the power of kindness first hand, and in this book she offers 52 prompts by which readers can spread their own dose of kindness.
What is so inspiring about the book is that the suggestions that are made are all easily achievable by everyone, from smiling at strangers to being grateful. There is nothing mind-blowing about any of the ideas and it is perhaps a little worrying that we’ve got to a point where we need a book to remind us to give up a seat for someone or to hold open a door, to smile at each other and to generally be kind, but I guess we all need prompts at some stage and if this book helps people to think of others and change their attitudes that is empowering. And indeed even if you try and practice kindness as a given, there are still some lovely recommendations in the book of other ways to spread kindness. And you can’t help but feel uplifted, motivated and inspired to do more simply on reading the book. I’m sure every reader will be encouraged to do one small act once they’ve picked up this book, and perhaps even more.
As well as the suggested ways to spread kindness, the book comprises short examples of other acts of kindness and quotes from those who have given or received an act of kindness and it’s impossible not to be touched by some of these wonderful examples of humanity at its best. I particularly loved the story of a café drive-thru in Canada whereby one lady offered to pay for the car behind and each subsequent driver did the same. There’s also a heart-warming message from someone who instead of asking for presents on special occasions asks people to give money to a good cause to help those who really need it. And whatever’s going on in the world, as you read this book you’ll be reminded of what’s great about society and want to be contribute to it. For book lovers there’s loads of ways in which the suggestions in the book can be translated into the world of literature: from passing on books to friends, schools, doctor’s surgeries and the like; selling books for charity; volunteering with book-related charities and projects or writing a positive review. There really are so many ideas in here as well as websites and resources for finding out more.
As brilliant as the message of this book is, so too must it be said is the design and packaging of the tome. A pleasingly sized giftbook, the colourful design and simple but effective illustrations really complement the warmth and general good feeling that surrounds this book, so both the author and the publisher deserve huge credit. But, as the author suggests, the highest commendation for this book would be to pass it on. And it’s certainly a book that needs to be spread far and wide. Inspiring, motivational and absolutely essential.
Jade Craddock 5/-
Kindness by Jaime Thurston
Harper Thorsons 9780008252847 hbk Sep 2017