I had the opportunity to read Winning Nice by Dawna Stone and honestly I come away with mixed feelings. This fairly slim volume is jam packed with useful advice for those who want to succeed in the business world, as the subtitle promises, without waging war. It’s one of those books that, if taken to heart and put into practice, could easily earn it’s price tag in the changes effected to one’s life. Stone clearly knows her subject matter and shows wisdom throughout. She practices what she preaches and models her teachings through out the book. No where is this more evident than in her chapter on public speaking. The general information contained in it will be familiar to anyone who has completed a collegiate Speech 101 course, but it struck me that the book itself is laid out according to the principles she teaches in that chapter. A tad unusual, but highly effective.
But the biblical foundation just isn’t there, and I am one that feels if Christ isn’t at the center, any efforts to betterment are futile at best and dangerous at worst. Which is why I generally try to review titles targeted for a Christian audience rather than a secular audience, but every now again, one slips through. There are a few biblical principles, her highest ideal actually comes straight from the lips of Jesus, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” being how he put it. But she undercuts even this by never acknowledging Him as the authority who said this, instead pointing out that most major religions have maxims similar to the Golden Rule. I was also concerned by one quote that references karma, and a secular-market-required attempt to avoid anything remotely controversial that Christian authors certainly are no stranger to.
In short, if you’re seriously ready to make some changes, this book can help, but if you can find a title on the subject that takes a Christ-centered approach, that would be the way to go. For instance, the subject of self confidence. Joyce Meyer has a good book on that, but that’s an issue that’s a little different for the Christian, where self confidence is folly at best and sinful pride at worst. Our confidence should be in God, not in ourselves. The bible teaches that we can do nothing apart from Him, but that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Too often, however, our lack of self confidence isn’t so much true Christian humility but a lack of confidence in God, his love and care for us, and what He can/will do through us–and that is an area I struggle with myself.