We live in divisive times. But there's one simple(ish) thing we can do to make things a little less bad and scary: Be kind. It doesn't have to be any grand gesture. It can be as simple as genuinely asking the waitress how their day is going, or returning the cart to the corral in the parking lot, or holding the door open for the person behind you.
Being kind to others is just the right thing to do, and will make you feel good.
It's all about a mindset shift, and these feel-good books about people being kind (and teaching you how to live a kinder life) will help you get there.
Your Hidden Superpower by Adrienne Bankert
Adrienne Bankert, Good Morning America correspondent and anchor, has heard the same theme in the many stories she's covered around the world: Kindness. She noticed its power and influence on others and knew she had to spread the word about its apparent magic. Enter Your Hidden Superpower, a book that will teach you how kindness is more than just getting along with others; it's living intentionally and selflessly. By changing your perspective and making kindness a habit, you'll find yourself living a more peaceful and creative life. Beyond the book, Bankert's website has plenty of resources for getting started on your own kindness journey.
Change Your World by John C. Maxwell and Rob Hoskins
Two leadership experts, John C. Maxwell and Rob Hoskins, came together to make the guide to changing your attitude in order to change the world. In Change Your World, you'll flip your perspective away from "why doesn't someone do something?" to "I'm going to do something." Using their immense experience in leadership training in communities and businesses around the world, Maxwell and Hoskins will show you how to find your cause and get to work. By naming your cause, living out the values you believe in, and working together with others, you'll be well on your way to changing the world to one built on kindness.
Know What You're For by Jeff Henderson
For an organization—be it church, nonprofit, or business—to be truly successful, it must shift from self-promoting to something more people-centric. Jeff Henderson, entrepreneur and thought leader, breaks it down in Know What You're For, a book that'll teach you how to make that shift. What is the organization's mission? Is it selfish success, or is it something bigger, like caring for all humans, regardless of sex, race, religion, or sexual identity? Figure out what your organization—and yourself, for that matter—stands for, and work from there. And don't forget to keep it kind.
Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
In Same Kind of Different as Me, Ron Hall, a self-made millionaire in the world of fancy art, and Denver Moore, an uneducated man who lived under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana until he escaped in the 1960s, tell their separate life stories that follow the same thread of a journey. Miss Debbie, Ron's wife, has always helped the homeless and given all of herself to others. When she's diagnosed with cancer, her mission to rescue Denver becomes Ron's mission. In this gritty true story, told in two dynamic voices, we learn about the true value of kindness and the power it has to change someone's life.
Ashley Holstrom is a book person, designing them and writing about them for Book Riot. She lives near Chicago with her cat named after Hemingway and her bookshelves organized by color.