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The Kindness Challenge by Shaunti Feldhahn (Book Review)

Updated on February 11, 2017
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MsDora, six-year online writer, shares poetry, creative writing and reflections on how writing and writers influence our lives.

Could there be more to learn about kindness than we already know? Shaunti Feldhahn removes the "kindness blindness" and reveals insightful perspectives in The Kindness Challenge: Thirty Days to Improve Any Relationship.

Source

In her 224-page book published by Waterbrook (December 2016), Feldhahn includes summary charts as well as testimonials from some of the 700 participants who took her 30-Day Kindness Challenge as support for her findings. Her conclusion is that kindness is a super power which can transform any kind of relationship -- between spouses, social friends, business colleagues, family members.

Throughout the book, she makes reference to her website dedicated to the support of individuals and groups who are interested in taking the kindness challenge, which has the potential to impact our culture.

Source

About Shaunti Feldhahn

Feldhahn draws on her educational background in analysis to conduct innovate research into human behavior and relationships. She has published several research-based books of which For Women Only may be the most popular.

For this book on kindness, Feldhahn spent years "investigating, refining, testing, and quantifying specific tests that make a huge difference to any relationship." She wants her readers to know:

"The concept is simple, but that doesn't mean it is effortless, in part because we really don't know how to be kind. You may find that absurd. But I promise you; you almost certainly don't. At least not in the way it works best. And what works best is what I'll be walking you through in this book."

She is a popular speaker appearing with her co-author husband at about 50 events per year. Their books have been featured on The Today Show, Family Life Today and in the New York Times.

Shaunti Feldhahn's Kindness Curriculum

The book, The Kindness Challenge is divided into three parts. Part III consists of three specialized versions of the challenge prepared for a husband, a wife and anyone else. They provide daily instructions for thirty days. The instructions are practical, fun, challenging sometimes, but rewarding according to most people who have been through the process.

Parts l and ll consist of the teaching to be applied in part three. The text is easy to follow especially because Feldhahn numbers her points as they might be in a class curriculum. For example:

  • two types of kindness: targeted (specific to one individual) and broad (to impact several people;
  • three distinct areas of kindness: thought, word and action;
  • seven negativity patterns: negative ways in which we confront unkind behavior, without being aware of our unkindness and the damaging results--two of the ways being sarcasm and retaliation;
  • ten tricky traps of affirmation: obstacles and objections to offering praise which replaces the damages of negativity--some of the traps having to do with our faulty opinion that people have to deserve kindness if we will be kind to them;
  • eight types of kindness: ways in which kindness really matters--one of the ways being giving without expectation.

Plus Features of the Book

First, Feldhahn knows that the thought patterns of males and females are different, so immediately after the chapter on practical ways to practice kindness, she writes a special chapter for husbands, which she is aware that women will read, because in the words of one of her advisers,

" It only makes sense that the way we communicate kindness to each other would be different for men than for women--everything else is!"

Her thirty days of kindness tips also make different suggestions for husband and wives.

Secondly, she acts the part of an encouraging coach throughout the book. Many of her illustrations are about people who found the challenge difficult because of their misconceptions which had to revamped, or because they expected the relationship to improve in less time than it did. She offers encouragement by describing the various forms in which kindness brought satisfaction, not only to the kindness target, but also to the kindness practitioner.

Further, she shows her findings in various charts, which shows her readers that results will vary. The chart below, arranged slightly different than hers to fit the properties of this table is captioned "You Change, They Change," The text including the question is not changed.

As you think about your partner's development as a person, do you think they have changed for the better or worse in the last few months?

Changed for the better
No Change
Changed for the worse
35% Changed a bit
 
2% Changed a bit
39% Changed a lot
 
1% Changed a lot
74% Total change
23% Haven't changed
3% Total change

Disclosure

I received this book free from the publisher through Blogging for Books (www.bloggingforbooks.com). The opinions I have expressed are my own.

My Recommendation

This book will help anyone who is interested in optimizing the all-round benefits of a relationship that is already established. Those who want to begin a relationship of any kind--friendship, marriage, positive association with in-laws or business colleagues will have the benefit of starting off correctly and avoiding the pitfalls which can result from unintentional unkindness.

The testimonials from kindness practitioners stating how enriched they feel when intentional kindness becomes a habit, have convinced me to take the challenge.

© 2017 Dora Isaac Weithers

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    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 5 months ago from Norfolk

      Very interesting MsDora, this sounds like my kind of book. I sometimes wonder though whether a book like this is more likely to be read by men than women, though! I am looking forward to hearing how your own participation in this challenge goes.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the suggestion, Dora. I'll look for it in the near future, once I catch up on my reading.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora, I really enjoy how you "review" a book. Your combination of being an objective reporter and adding your wisdom is great.

      My program is one of growth. Let me be kinder than yesterday and yet kinder still tomorrow.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for the challenge, Sally. I've just started and I feel better already. Will be sure to mention the results after 30 days. From the reviews so far, women seem to turned on to this book.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, I know you're busy, but if you look into this challenge, you won't regret it. Thanks for your input.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, you're always so kind and sweet. Your motto is commendable and worth imitating. Thanks for sharing.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 5 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Oh, this sounds really interesting. Definitely one to put on my reading list.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Cofeequeen. You will enjoy it and benefit from it too. Really helpful.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 months ago from The Beautiful South

      A great book to read, Dora. Kind people just light up everything around the don't they? I believe you are one of those. You have that smile!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Jackie. They say it takes one to know one. You've offered some very kind comments also.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Sounds like another good book, Dora. I probably missed something, but is this a book for women only since it has a separate "husband" chapter, or is it for anyone? Just wondering. Hope you have a great week!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, grateful for the week I had. The book is for everyone, but as the author's adviser says, "" It only makes sense that the way we communicate kindness to each other would be different for men than for women--everything else is!" So she gives the men some additional help with the understanding that women can also look at that chapter. For the thirty-day instructions, men and women have separate chapters. Have a pleasant weekend!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This sounds like a useful book, MsDora. Kindness is an important topic.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Alicia. The author lets us see how important kindness really is and how it can impact the giver as well as the recipient. Yes, it is a very useful book.

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      Eboni 4 months ago

      This seems like a book for self-improvement which of course would affect relationships. Another good book!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 months ago from The Caribbean

      Eboni, this was on the books I would have bought if I could not get it for free. Improving relationships is always a big deal for me, and I was impressed that there was more to know about kindness. I was not disappointed; I learned a lot.

    • kiddiecreations profile image

      N Kiddie 4 months ago

      This book definitely looks like a good read. It seems like everyone could benefit from learning more about kindness and how to choose kindness more in our daily lives. Thank you for sharing!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 months ago from The Caribbean

      N Kiddie, the book surely is a good read, and there are surprising things still to learn about kindness. Also so many ways to be unkind without being intentional. Thank you for reading.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 months ago from USA

      Somehow I missed this when initially published, but I'm glad to have circled back to discover and read it now. When I was an HR investigator I often dealt with people who had very troubled work relationships. I'd try to explain to folks in high conflict situations that behavior and respectful treatment is a two way game, like a tennis match. One's actions influence the other's responses. Often you can change someone's heart with steady application of kindness, as it's hard to hate someone who is genuinely good to you. Sounds like the book endorses that approach.

    • MsDora profile image
      Author

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 months ago from The Caribbean

      Yes, Flourish. Sounds like the same approach. However, the book also deals with the many ways that we can be unkind without being aware and that is very insightful. Thanks for your input.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 4 weeks ago

      Seems like a very inspiring book. Thanks for the detailed review!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      You're welcome Swalia. The Challenge is doable and it works!

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