“What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.”
So said writer George Saunders in a commencement speech at Syracuse University in May 2013.
Saunders told the story of a new kid in his 7th grade class who was ignored and occasionally teased for her quirkiness. All these years later, Saunders still feels guilty for not being more kind to her.
He touches on a tendency all of us are familiar with—not being kinder when we have opportunity.
“What I regret most in my life,” he said, “are failures of kindness.”
The speech made such an impression it went viral after the New York Times printed a transcript.
Now the kindness message has been turned into a book and a short animated video. The book is Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness. It is available from Barnes and Noble and other bookstores.
You can read the transcript of the speech here; it’s a good reminder about a very important principle; whatever you do, be kind.
Watch the short animated video here.