Americans are generous with their pocketbooks, but trying to make a difference and actually making a difference are two different things. Where Am I Giving? by New York Times bestselling author Kelsey Timmerman takes you on a journey to meet people who will inspire you to live a purpose-filled, generous life and make the greatest impact you can through your career, time, consumer dollars, and donations.
Starting in his hometown of Muncie, Indiana, and then traveling all over the world (Myanmar, Kenya, India, Nepal, and more), Kelsey explores not only different ways of giving—as a worker, consumer, volunteer, giver, local and global citizen—but also the benefits and effectiveness of these methods. He spends time with monks, students, a refugee, a Marine, a former Hollywood executive, Peace Corps Volunteers, and seasoned aid workers to explore how they give, as well as with the people on the receiving end of their giving. Along the way he struggles to be a more informed giver as he becomes a "voluntourist,” starts his own local non-profit, and searches for a balance between rationality and passion in how he gives.
This book will help you:
- Reveal the amazing opportunities you have to make an impact using your own gifts—and it doesn't have to be money
- Understand the sociology, philosophy, anthropology, and neuroscience of giving
- See how giving can make you more connected and happier
- Examine types of giving, including microlending, volunteering, donating, ethical consumption, mission trips, voluntourism, child sponsorship, etc.
- Dive into a nuanced view of effectiveness of international aid and its intersection with development, politics, and culture
Where Am I Giving? is a fast-paced narrative combining compelling stories collected over 15 years of travel to 90+ countries, mixed with practical advice on how to make giving a part of our everyday lives.
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About the Author
Table of ContentsINTRODUCTION: THE TRASH PICKER, THE SLAVE, AND THE GARMENT MAKER (THE WORLD, 2001–2018) xiii
PART I Why Give (When I Have Problems of My Own)?
CHAPTER 1 Life After College (Nepal, 2001)The mission / The responsibility of privilege 3
CHAPTER 2 One Night in a Slum Showed Me How Poor I Was (Kenya, 2010)Why should we care when we have our own problems? / My problem with missionaries / Giving thoughts and prayers 11
CHAPTER 3 We Aren’t the Heroes (Kenya, 2010)Toxic charity / Fair trade travel 19
CHAPTER 4 Confessions of a Volunteer Addict (Indiana, 2010)Benefits of volunteering / 100-hour rule /Make where you live interesting 25
CHAPTER 5 What Can One Person Do? (Cambodia, 2017)Leaving Hollywood for a dump in Cambodia / The White Savior Industrial Complex 37
CHAPTER 6 Happiness Isn’t Having a Lot; It’s Giving a Lot (Cambodia, 2017)The Hero’s journey / What The Matrix teaches us about happiness and purpose / Four pillars of meaning 47
CHAPTER 7 Giving Is Complicated: Ethnic Cleansing in the Most Generous Nation on Earth (Myanmar, 2017)Change starts with students / Problem with empathy / World Giving Index / Problem with orphanages 63
CHAPTER 8 Seeing Differently to Make a Difference (Myanmar, 2017)A not-so-noble Nobel Peace Prize winner / Problem with karma / Intent matters 75
CHAPTER 9 Giving on Purpose (Myanmar, 2017)Giving alms / Meditating on giving 83
CHAPTER 10 The Gift of Tasting Ice Cream (Myanmar, 2017)A former monk on giving / Solitude / Thoreau’s three chairs 89
PART II What Can I Give?
CHAPTER 11 Science of Do-gooding (Kenya, 2017)Effective altruism / The cost to save a life / Should you give your kidney? / Extreme givers 99
CHAPTER 12 Money for Nothing (Kenya, 2017)Universal basic income / Proximity to need / The poor are better givers 115
CHAPTER 13 No Justice, No Peace (Kenya, 2017)Election chaos / Freedom versus aid / Legacy of colonialism / Human rights / Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 123
CHAPTER 14 Giving Is Immeasurable: Change One, Change 100 (Kenya, 2017)Waging peace on warriors / Stepping-stones in the river of life / Education as a path out of poverty 137
PART III Start Local
CHAPTER 15 Growing Up Gandhi (India, 2017)Mandated giving / The Mother Teresa controversy / Gandhi on giving 149
CHAPTER 16 Start with Your Local (India, 2017)Crossing caste lines / Towers and slums / Untouchables 157
CHAPTER 17 Start Small (India, 2017)Locals challenging societal norms / Creating leaders / The girl effect 169
PART IV The Gift of Travel
CHAPTER 18 Should You Go on a Slum Tour? (India, 2017)Poverty porn? / History of “slumming it” / Impact of slum tours 177
CHAPTER 19 Joy in a Hopeless Place (Kenya, 2017)Safari Doctors / Following the locals’ lead / Go make a difference / Investing in people 185
CHAPTER 20 See Yourself in the Lives of Others (Kenya, 2017)It’s a wonderful life? / Our struggles connect us / Wisdom of traditional societies 197
CHAPTER 21 Travel If You Can – It’s Fatal to Prejudice (Kenya, 2017)How travel makes you a better human / Travel creates philanthropists / Responsible tourism / Reverse culture shock 207
PART V Is Helping Helping?
CHAPTER 22 The Kiva Controversy (Cambodia, 2017)The problem with microlending / Meeting Kiva borrowers / Giving fads 221
CHAPTER 23 Sponsor a Child, Save theWorld? (Zambia, 2017)The realities of child sponsorship / Stories versus stats / Psychic numbing / Aid and dependency 231
CHAPTER 24 Marine Wages War on Poverty Through Locally-Led Change (Kenya, 2010)Fighting terrorism by fighting poverty / Starting with the end in mind 247
CHAPTER 25 The Little Village That Was Supposed to Change the World (Kenya, 2017)UN’s Millennium Development Goals / Can unlimited resources end poverty? / Do we need more or less id? 255
PART VI Our Gifts Connect Us to the World
CHAPTER 26 The Strength in Your Story (US, 2011–2018)The art of listening / The gift of your story 265
CHAPTER 27 The X Factor in the Good Person Equation 271
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 279
APPENDIX A Giving Appendix 281