Book Review – Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World

Bill Clinton’s new book Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World is an inspiring book which chronicles extraordinary and innovative efforts of a number of individuals and organizations working towards a single goal – building a better world. Few people and organizations covered in the book are already world famous and few of them you will be hearing for the first time. Covers a plethora of issues ranging from economic inequality, HIV/AIDS, health care for all, education in the developing world, global warming and lots of other issues which need to be addressed to make a better world for the coming generations.

Clinton clearly explains how each of us with the given resources and abilities can make the world a better place to live. Primarily Clinton talks about giving:

  1. Money
  2. Time
  3. Things
  4. Skills

giving-clinton-bookEach of the chapters has many inspiring stories of individuals and organizations who are trying to change the world by giving. One can find the stories of men and women who traded in their corporate careers, and the fulfillment they now experience through giving.

Though the book is full of statistics and frequent references to Clinton Foundation, at the end, it really inspires the reader to consider giving something to make the world a better place to live. With the help of real life accounts of many individuals, the book clearly explains – irrespective of income, available time, skills and where one lives – how one can take part of the initiatives and take new initiatives to make this planet earth a more better place.

I have taken three stories from the book and explained in short about the people and their giving. Hope these stories will give you an idea about what is covered in the book and inspire you to read the book.

  • McKenzie Steiner organized a beach cleanup with her friends in California at the age of six. When Clinton asked her why she did, she said “Sometimes animals die from people littering in the ocean….I felt better for helping animals and people coming to the beach to swim.” At the very age of six McKenzie Steiner found a way to give her time for a good cause. Children often dream things which we adults think are impossible our of various reasons.
  • Dr. Paul Farmer, who grew up in poverty and for the most of his childhood, lived in the family bus in Florida trailer park, even before getting a degree from Harvard Medical School, he vowed to devote his life to give high quality medical care to the poor. He is one of the founders of Partners in Health organization which provides health care for the poor. This story will demonstrate the incredible impact of one person with a fine mind, boundless energy and a passion for justice.
  • The story of an eighty-seven-year-old black woman from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is one of the most inspiring stories in the book. Oseola McCarty was a local washer woman who gave $1,50,000 to the The University of Southern Mississippi to endow a scholarship fund for African-American students in financial need. For more than seventy five years she eked out for a living washing and ironing other people’s clothes. She dropped out of school in the sixth grade and never returned.

There are many more stories to inspire you and to show you that one need not be Bill Gates or Warren Buffet to change the world. Each of us can make those little changes that will help others to live more happily. ‘Giving’ is all about having a more kinder heart and understanding the difficulties of others and sharing one’s fortunes to bring happiness into others’ lives.

Will giving make you happier? If you have already given any of the offerings – time, money, things, skills – you obviously know that it will indeed make a person more happier than possessing any material things.

Overall, I found the book to be an inspiring read. Though the book is full of statistics and initiatives of Clinton Foundation itself, its worth the time spent reading this book. You finish the book with a positive feeling that finally the world is changing and becoming a more better place to live. Most importantly you will start considering how you take part in changing the world in your own little ways.

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