What better antidote to toxic news about Wall Street greed and corruption than to read one story after another of people helping one another. This book is not about the how of giving, but about the why of it all. It wonderfully delivers on the promise of its (two!) subtitles: "How giving back enriches us all - Creating abundance in your home, at work, and in your community."
Creating abundance, for example, can mean joining a babysitting co-op, thereby affording busy parents a bit of time for themselves. Though elsewhere in the book it's evident that the authors, professional fundraisers Jamal and McKinnon, work with very high-income donors indeed, this book is for EveryCitizen. The authors intersperse funny personal stories from their own lives with poignant vignettes, quotes of wisdom from the ancients, helpful web links, and so forth.
One can feel sick at heart and powerless to do anything effective about huge disasters like hurricanes, or gang violence, or homelessness in a rich country - or even about "smaller" problems in the neighbourhood. American Trappist poet and social activist Thomas Merton captured this malaise well: "To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times."
Jamal and McKinnon have spectacularly not "succumbed to the violence of our times."
Each page seems to have been written with love and laughter. Even though all my life I've donated time and money to various causes; have worked as a fundraiser for non-profits; and know the many benefits of giving, I love this book because it's an invitation to everyone - not just the fundraisers - to experience the happiness and the health we create - and the meaningful relationships we build - when reach out to others.
The subtle design of the book helps you slow down a bit, taking pleasure in the relaxing act of turning the well-printed pages... of considering how the next idea might play out in one's own circle of friends.
This immensely compassionate book could make an eye-opening and inviting gift for anyone in your life - including the friend who "has everything."