Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World

Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World

by Bill Clinton


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307266743
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/04/2007
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 802,342
Product dimensions: 5.89(w) x 9.57(h) x 1.05(d)

About the Author

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, 42nd President of the United States, is founder of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

Date of Birth:

August 19, 1946

Place of Birth:

Hope, Arkansas


Georgetown University; Oxford University; Yale University

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

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

Reading Group Guide

Regardless of income, available time, age, and skills, we all have the power to help people everywhere have a chance to live their dreams.

Get started with these discussion questions.

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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Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
msjoanna on LibraryThing 1 hours ago
This is comfort-food, feel-good reading. The book doesn't contribute to a grand philosophical debate about the best ways to spend time or humanitarian duty or anything else. It just highlights the work that various groups and individuals are doing by giving time, coming up with new ideas, and giving money. It's nice to hear the stories of the people and organizations featured in the book, and I think the book's emphasis on measurable results is good. Overall, I enjoyed listening to Bill Clinton reading the text. For what it's worth, I was finally inpired to make some microloans through Kiva, which is something I'd been meaning to do since I heard about the idea.
minlshaw on LibraryThing 4 days ago
The former president makes the case for charitable contributions of time and money, offering a showcase of various operations around the world as examples. The pace moves quickly; he rarely devotes more than two consecutive paragraphs to the same organizational effort. Still, it reads pretty dry and it's a bit discouraging that nearly every example he holds up has to be qualified with the disclaimer that while most of us aren't capable of operating on that kind of scale, with those kinds of resources, everyone of us can do something. I was kind of hoping for more clear-cut examples of how the rest of us could give without having to establish a foundation. There are a handful of genuinely moving anecdotes that made this rewarding, and the back of the book includes a directory for organizations and books cited throughout each chapter that could be quite handy for any number of reasons. It's not essential reading by any means, but I confess that I do feel like I've run out of excuses for not being more participatory in helping to improve the world.
brsquilt on LibraryThing 4 days ago
Excellent resource - but a tedious read for book club.
Heavyuser on LibraryThing 4 days ago
New book by former president Bill Clinton
LivelyLady on LibraryThing 3 months ago
GIVING is a wonderful collection and listing of the types of giving and the people that give. Examples of this are "Giving of Time" which lists ways to contribute such as joining the Peace Corps or Doctors without Borders. However, the same chapter has anecdotal examples such as the HIV postive patient in Africa who has gone to volunteer at the clinic she to which she had gone.Examples of giving range from a young girl who starts beach clean-ups to Bill and Melissa Gates and their humanitarian efforts. Of course, the author takes every opportunity to talk about the giving and charity work of he and his wife, but it is his book.I enjoyed this book and found some new ideas on ways in which I can give back. One of the most helpful sections of the book is called "Resources". This lists organizations' names, web-sites, e-mail addresses and mail addresses according to the chapter in which they were mentioned. This book will stay on my shelf as a personal reference for me for giving.
toniFMAMTC More than 1 year ago
This is a great book to help with having ideas of which groups to donate to match with the causes important to you and also it helps give the reader ideas if you would like to start something of your own. I felt inspired. There really is something we can all do to make our world better.
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