During a darker time than he’d ever known, Brad Aronson discovered shining examples of human kindness that just might have saved his sanity. It happened while his wife, Mia, was being treated for leukemia. Since her treatment would be close to three years, a patient advocate advised her and Brad to each take on a project that would allow them to lose themselves in something other than her illness.
For Brad, a teacher and entrepreneur from Philadelphia, that project was passing on the kindness that friends, family and even strangers had shown his family during this hard time. Literally—he documented that kindness and packaged it in stories that others could appreciate and take to heart. And that was just the tip of the iceberg. Inspired by the life-changing impact small acts of kindness had on his family, he decided to start collecting others’ stories, too.
Like the story about the $20 gift that gave birth to thousands of Secret Santas who have given away over $1.5 million to people in need. And the story about Gabriel Aljalian, who at six years old created a “Day of Kindness” that inspires thousands of kind acts around the world every year. And the one about Pamela Rainey Lawler, who saw opportunity in the food that restaurants threw away. Although experts told her she was crazy, she started delivering that food to nonprofits in her station wagon with her kids in tow, and her efforts sparked a movement that now feeds more than 90,000 people a week.
By the time he was done gathering stories, Brad had the makings of a book, and that book is HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act at a Time.
“When my family was in distress, I saw how much of a difference a single gesture could make, and the people I wrote about demonstrated that and more,” he says. “These amazing stories of kindness kept me going during the most stressful time of my life, and through my book, I’m hoping to share that gift of support with others.”
Aronson’s book, a national bestseller, has been called “the most uplifting and life-affirming book in years” (Forbes) and lauded by Deepak Chopra, People magazine, and many others.
“The most satisfying part of writing my book has been the emails I’m getting from people who tell me how much better they feel after reading it and how they’re inspired to take action,” he says. “Hearing about what they’ve started doing in their communities is just incredible.”
It’s the perfect antidote for these times. If you’re feeling the weight of the world, these beautifully told stories will lighten your load. They’ll remind you that despite the crises that seem to hit us one after another, there’s also a powerful force of good in the world.
And on a practical level, HumanKind will give you the tools to be part of that force. Every chapter includes suggestions for improving your own community through small acts of kindness, and the comprehensive resources section lists avenues for aiding and donating to just about any cause devoted to filling the massive needs out there.
Maybe best of all, HumanKind gives us unforgettable stories to carry around with us when the darkness of the times is at its darkest. Stories that will leave us grateful for what we have and inspire us to be the same kinds of shining examples that made such a difference in Brad’s life.
And, on top of that, ALL proceeds from sales of HumanKind go to the nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters.