Friday, December 5, 2008


"I've done my best in this book to demonstrate that all kinds of giving can make a profoundly positive difference, that everyone has something valuable to give...."

"We brought...activists from around the world to discover what we could do about...: combatting climate change; alleviating extreme poverty; improving governance in poor nations; and promoting religious, ethnic, and racial reconciliation."

Bill Clinton, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World

I'm not usually an admiring aficionado of Bill Clinton, but I like this book, even when you discount the self absorbtion, the tendency to wrap his presidential reign in glory, and the annoying "my dear friend" style of storytelling.

In contrast to philanthrocapitalist manifestos, Bill devotes a long chapter to "What About Government." He not only articulates an important role for government, but also names advocates and community organizing groups like ACORN and CRL that try to make government govern better. His approach is definately not "how the rich will save the world," although he loves to hang around with these folks.

The broad, inclusive approach in Giving offers advice and inspiration for everyone. And Bill's list of priority global challenges is just about right. The specific detail and examples didn't always work for me, but the giving challenge for all of us is important.

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