Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World

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Overview

Here, from Bill Clinton, is a call to action. Giving is an inspiring look at how each of us can change the world. First, it reveals the extraordinary and innovative efforts now being made by companies and organizations—and by individuals—to solve problems and save lives both “down the street and around the world.” Then it urges us to seek out what each of us, “regardless of income, available time, age, and skills,” can do to help, to give people a chance to live out their ...

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Giving

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Overview

Here, from Bill Clinton, is a call to action. Giving is an inspiring look at how each of us can change the world. First, it reveals the extraordinary and innovative efforts now being made by companies and organizations—and by individuals—to solve problems and save lives both “down the street and around the world.” Then it urges us to seek out what each of us, “regardless of income, available time, age, and skills,” can do to help, to give people a chance to live out their dreams.

Bill Clinton shares his own experiences and those of other givers, representing a global flood tide of nongovernmental, nonprofit activity. These remarkable stories demonstrate that gifts of time, skills, things, and ideas are as important and effective as contributions of money. From Bill and Melinda Gates to a six-year-old California girl named McKenzie Steiner, who organized and supervised drives to clean up the beach in her community, Clinton introduces us to both well-known and unknown heroes of giving. Among them:

Dr. Paul Farmer, who grew up living in the family bus in a trailer park, vowed to devote his life to giving high-quality medical care to the poor and has built innovative public health-care clinics first in Haiti and then in Rwanda;
a New York couple, in Africa for a wedding, who visited several schools in Zimbabwe and were appalled by the absence of textbooks and school supplies. They founded their own organization to gather and ship materials to thirty-five schools. After three years, the percentage of seventh-graders who pass reading tests increased from 5 percent to 60 percent;'
Oseola McCarty, who after seventy-five years of eking out a living by washing and ironing, gave $150,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi to endow a scholarship fund for African-American students;
Andre Agassi, who has created a college preparatory academy in the Las Vegas neighborhood with the city’s highest percentage of at-risk kids. “Tennis was a stepping-stone for me,” says Agassi. “Changing a child’s life is what I always wanted to do”;
Heifer International, which gave twelve goats to a Ugandan village. Within a year, Beatrice Biira’s mother had earned enough money selling goat’s milk to pay Beatrice’s school fees and eventually to send all her children to school—and, as required, to pass on a baby goat to another family, thus multiplying the impact of the gift.

Clinton writes about men and women who traded in their corporate careers, and the fulfillment they now experience through giving. He writes about energy-efficient practices, about progressive companies going green, about promoting fair wages and decent working conditions around the world. He shows us how one of the most important ways of giving can be an effort to change, improve, or protect a government policy. He outlines what we as individuals can do, the steps we can take, how much we should consider giving, and why our giving is so important.

Bill Clinton’s own actions in his post-presidential years have had an enormous impact on the lives of millions. Through his foundation and his work in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, he has become an international spokesperson and model for the power of giving.

“We all have the capacity to do great things,” President Clinton says. “My hope is that the people and stories in this book will lift spirits, touch hearts, and demonstrate that citizen activism and service can be a powerful agent of change in the world.”

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"Almost everyone -- regardless of income, available time, age, and skills -- can do something useful for others and, in the process, strengthen the fabric of our shared humanity." Former president Bill Clinton backs the validity of this buoyant assertion by describing the efforts of real-life givers, and the life-enhancing aspects of such good works. He shows how actions and deeds of private individuals and NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) can reinforce, supplement, and, if necessary, even replace government projects. His inspiring stories of men and women who gave up corporate careers to pursue humanitarian interests demonstrate the deep fulfillment that such giving brings. Like his bestselling My Life, Clinton's Giving is infused with the force and personal charisma of its author's personality. It takes a village, but it can start with just one villager.
Kirkus Reviews
The former president provides dozens of effective and communicable examples of giving. "I wrote this book to encourage you to give whatever you can, because everyone can give something. And there's so much to be done, down the street and around the world," he writes. For Clinton (My Life, 2004), giving is the right thing to do; acts of unfettered goodwill promote harmony and trust. Writing in an unhurried style, the author doesn't chide or prod the reader, but simply provides numerous examples of giving of all kinds, whether it be a multimillion-dollar gift or the simple donation of an old, unused saxophone to a school music program. Bill Gates, Bono and Tiger Woods may grab the headlines, but Clinton is especially concerned with the giver of modest gifts or what little spare time they have. To that effect, Clinton quotes Warren Buffett, who recently gave $30 billion to the Gates Foundation: "My gift is nothing . . . .The people I really admire are the small donors who give up a movie or a restaurant meal to help needier people." Clinton inspires by pointing the way and introducing a company of givers. If you know how to tie a fishing fly, teach someone else. If you're appalled by the trash on the sidewalk or your local beach, pick it up-or, better, organize a sustaining drive to keep the area clean. If you own a business, consider hiring someone on welfare or with a disability. Also, says Clinton, think about injecting your giving with a dash of humor-down in his home state, there's an annual raccoon supper to equip the local football team; Clinton advises using plenty of barbecue sauce on the meat. He goes on to suggest participation in something as profound as Seeds of Peace, whichbrings together young people of different religious and ethnic groups long at odds with one another. An important message conveyed with a light touch. First printing of 750,000
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739368084
  • Publisher: Diversified Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/4/2007
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 997,556
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Read an Excerpt

A few years ago Sheri Saltzberg and Mark Grashow of New York, recently retired from public health administration and teaching, went to Zambia for a wedding. Their son suggested they go to Zimbabwe to visit a family that had befriended him and to see Victoria Falls. While they were there, they visited several schools and were appalled to see that there were no textbooks, empty libraries, no science equipment, no basic school supplies, and often no school breakfast or lunch.

When they got home they founded their own NGO, the U.S.-Africa Children's Fellowship, and formed a partnership with the Zimbabwe Organization of Rural Associations for Progress, which had been working since 1980 to help improve the economy and education in individual communities.

Over the next two years, they located thirty-five U.S. schools to partner with thirty-five schools in Zimbabwe, and they've shipped four forty-foot containers to the schools, with more than 150,000 books, school supplies, toys, games, sports equipment, bicycles, clothing, sewing machines, agricultural tools, and other items. They raise funds for items needed but not donated–school uniforms, locally printed books, and educational materials and scholarships.

In the U.S. partner schools, Mark and Sheri try to give students an appreciation for what life is like for their counterparts in Zimbabwe. American kids learn that the kids in their partner school often get up at 5 a.m. to walk several miles to school, may well have nothing to eat, and may have lost one or both parents to AIDS. They also learn that many kids don't go to school at all because they can't afford the school fees, uniforms, or even a notebook and pencil; they have to work to support or stay home to care for a sick parent or younger sibling; or they don't have shoes and can't walk long distances in winter. The American children are empowered to take action—collecting donations and writing letters to the Zimbabwean students.

Mark and Sheri themselves fly to Zimbabwe as each shipment arrives and help distribute the donations to the schools. "The effects of the shipment have far exceeded anything we dreamed of" says Mark. "For the first time, students can take books home to read. Five percent of the kids in the seventh grade used to pass reading tests; now it's 60 percent. Three years ago, only one student in his district passed his A-level exams for university. This year, thirty-eight students passed. There are now art and sewing classes. Soccer flourishes because there's an abundance of soccer balls. Attendance in many kindergartens has increased threefold due to the introduction of toys. In September we'll increase the schools we partner with from thirty-five to fifty." The program has proven so successful, there's now a waiting list of three hundred schools.

Why did they do this? Mark says, "I believe that each of us has an obligation to level the playing field of life. Schools that have no books, communities without water, and people without access to medical care are not someone else's problem. We all have a capacity to make a difference somewhere. We just have to decide if we have the will to do it."

To be connected to hundreds of nonprofits and organizations doing great work, view the resources guide at www.clintonfoundation.org/giving

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Table of Contents


Introduction     ix
The Explosion of Private Citizens Doing Public Good     3
Giving Money     13
Giving Time     32
Giving Things     56
Giving Skills     70
Gifts of Reconciliation and New Beginnings     88
Gifts That Keep on Giving     109
Model Gifts     116
Giving to Good Ideas     137
Organizing Markets for the Public Good     152
Nonprofit Markets Can Be Organized Too     178
What About Government?     185
How Much Should You Give and Why?     204
Acknowledgments     213
Resources     215
Index     227
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Reading Group Guide

1. In which ways are you already working to help and to give? Do you know someone who is giving their time and skills to a great cause?

2. Can you identify any problems in your own neighborhood? What steps can you take to help?

3. Identify a global problem that most troubles you. Can you think of three simple, achievable ways to make a difference?

4. Which story of giving do you find most inspiring? Why?

5. In response to Chapter Four, "Giving Things," what can you spare that can be used elsewhere?

6. What skills do you possess that might be worth sharing with someone in need?

7. What are some easy steps you’d be willling to take to reduce your energy usage or the amount of waste you produce?

8. How can your individual contribution of time or money be multiplied by judicious partnerships?

9. How did reading all of these stories of giving make you feel?

10. Now that you have read so many stories about why people give, recall that many more people choose not to give. What are some reasons not to give, and how can these reasons be surmounted?

11. What are your reasons for giving?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2007

    Very good

    Pre-ordered it when I was in New York in August of this year delivery was great. It seems to me that a lot of issues Clinton describes in this book are derived from Buddhist teachings and cognate philosophies. Being a passionate Buddhist myself, I had a great time reading this book. In my position as an investigative journalist, I certainly do have some enemies. Sometimes I tend to get too close to the truth behind somebody's agenda that's my job. However, if I would choose to actually hate that other person, it would take me a lot of time and energy and cause me nothing but frustration. I was always taught to actually cherish the people who wrong me. In his book, Clinton confirms this is the right attitude (not that I needed any confirmation, but it's always good to know that you're not alone with this notion). I'm absolutely against a world wherein selfishness dominates therefore, I like to read books like this one. But if Clinton intended to make Americans aware of how they can change the world 'Americans tend to think they've got the whole world in their hands while they do not', like Tino wrote, it's actually pretty sad this beautiful book had to be written. In short, I love the book, but it also indicates that a fair amount of the people around us are only focused on...themselves and their own interest.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    inspiring...it shows how we all have the power to make the world a better place

    in this follow up to his autobiography former president clinton writes about what he is doing now that he is out of office and about others all around the world doing extraourdinary things. everyone from ordinary people to big celebrities like oprah and tiger woods people around the world are giving and this book tells you how you can to.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 31, 2012

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    Posted November 9, 2008

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    Posted May 21, 2009

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    Posted February 28, 2009

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    Posted May 13, 2010

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    Posted April 16, 2009

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    Posted March 13, 2013

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