There's no question the world would be a better place if we were kinder to one another. And George Saunders' May 2013 commencement address at Syracuse University - first a viral sensation and now a book ("Congratulations, By The Way: Some Thoughts On Kindness") - proves that people are hungry to hear it. I'm grateful to Saunders for getting out the word. Buy this little gem for others and help spread his message.
"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?": Rabbi Hillel
"There's a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness": George Saunders
Because kindness is Saunders' cure for the sickness of selfishness, my long and complicated relationship with that word has now come into sharp focus. As a young adult, I began questioning conventional wisdom about the evils of selfishness. Then I discovered the wisdom of Rabbi Hillel. For over thirty years his words have been a beacon to me. Now I wonder: Along the way, did I lose sight of some of the second part of the Rabbi's formulation and let my selfishness interfere with kindness? When you consider the Rabbi's words, how do you keep your balance?