There is such a thing as being too nice. And, according to the author of Not Nice, if you’re someone who is plagued with too much niceness, it is causing you misery in the form of mental anguish and physical pain. In fact, he goes as far as to say your niceness is making the world a worse place for you and for others.
Not Nice was a thought-provoking read that changed how I see the concept of niceness. I have always prided myself on being a nice person, but after reading this book, I’m starting to see that trait as less of a positive.
You being less nice truly does make the world a better place.Aziz Gazipura, Not Nice
As Gazipura explains, being nice sets people up for a life of guilt and resentment. He argues that boldness, not niceness is the way to achieve your goals, because “boldness is always rewarded in the long run.”
This book is a little repetitive but it is filled with practical tips and exercises to help you break out of the veil of niceness and express yourself more fully and authentically. It even points you to a website where you can download and subscribe to additional resources.
Through the exercises and examples, he helps you learn not to avoid disappointing others, saying “at its core, the need for approval is a boundary problem.” Instead, he encourages you to be more authentic and vulnerable and to practice what he calls “casual disagreement”, or stating contrary opinions over small things like restaurant choices or movies. By disagreeing in small ways, you build your confidence to disagree and say no over larger issues.
I learned a lot from this book and have already begun benefitting from using some of Gazipura’s strategies. However, I was disappointed that he never really acknowledges that for some individuals, women in particular, there can be a greater penalty for saying no, especially in the workplace.
I also disagreed with his point that “nice” is a rigid and controlled way of existing. After hearing some of his personal examples of saying no to friends and family – and his reasons for why – his “not nice” way of living seemed pretty rigid.
I recommend this book to anyone looking to change their people-pleasing habits. As long as they are not taken to the extreme, many of the tactics outlined in Not Nice will help you lead a happier life.