The desire to act generously arrives like uninvited guest, unexpectedly, like a lightning bolt, in a mere moment. A gesture, a news story, a quotation in a book, a passing remark can change everything. For many, that moment is enough for generosity to move into their hearts and minds and become central to their lives.
This book will help readers open their hearts to the power of their own innate generosity, their desire to make a difference in the world, to help make someone’s day a little brighter or their world a bit more secure. It will kindle a spark in readers’ hearts that moves them into the sunshine of a more generous life. If one life is more generous, we all prosper. That is one of generosity’s most wonderful qualities: it is utterly contagious.
Inspiring Generosity is an invitation to savor a sampling of the very best inspirations on the subject of generosity. It includes fourteen contemporary stories of “generosity heroes” whose lives have been transformed by the power of generosity. Sprinkled throughout these stories are writings, poems, and quotes from Shakespeare, Hafiz, Emily Dickinson, George Eliot, Wendell Berry, Sharon Olds, Naomi Shibab Nye, Donald Justice, Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa, Maya Angelou, Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., John Steinbeck, James Joyce, Leo Tolstoy, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, Goethe, Seneca, Albert Schweitzer, Anne Frank, and many others.
“I am amazed every day by the stories of people around the world who give of themselves to help others. Inspiring Generosity is a beautiful book.”—President Bill Clinton
“This book is a great act of generosity on Barbara Bonner’s part, opening your hand, your heart, and your life in new and unexpected ways. Read it and you will love it!”—Robert A. F. Thurman, Columbia University
“There is nothing more compelling than a story of generosity, the truest kind of love story there is. How fitting that Barbara Bonner’s Inspiring Generosity embodies the very quality it praises, with eloquent accounts of transformative kindness and wisdom through generosity.”—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness
“This beautiful, inspiring book draws you into the heart of generosity. Giving is the home base of human relationships, and Barbara Bonner helps us come home to the natural impulse deep in every person to make the world a better place. A deeply moving, encouraging, wise, and loving book.”—Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
“The best thing I have read on the path of generosity. Warning: this book might change your life!”—David Loy, author of The World Is Made of Stories
“Barbara has given us a wonderful set of stories and poems that reinforce the connection between generous action and compassion. We have much to learn from these examples and heart connected stanzas.”—Jeffrey C. Walker, Chairman, MDG Health Alliance, author of The Generosity Network
“In poetry and prose Barbara has set a table of generosity for everyone to share. This is a lovely, reflective and helpful anthology. Be generous – give it to your family and friends.”—Edward Skloot, Director, The Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society, Duke University
“This lovely book deftly captures first your mind and then your heart and leads you along a beautiful path illuminated at each step by compelling stories of generosity. Barbara Bonner’s touch is so light as to be like a veil that is slowly lifted. This book is such a gift to all of us in the field of philanthropy and beyond.”—MaryJane Kubler, Philanthropic Advisor
"What a magnificent book! These stories of inspired generosity work upon us to inspire our generosity. This book is itself a bold act of generosity; if we are able to accept her gift, it will transform our lives."—Dale S.Wright, Distinguished Professor of Religion, Occidental College
"Barbara Bonner’s remarkable book reminds me of the ways in which generosity connects me so immediately to the very heart of the world. Her powerful stories peel away the saccharine frosting that ordinarily covers the topic of generosity, and reveals the guts, the ardency, the power of the truly generous act. Truth explodes from every page—a truth I want to, need to, must remember. I want a copy of this book on my desk. I want a copy of it next to my bed. I want to live submerged in this very best way of being human."—Stephen Cope, author of The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling
"This book will help us attain loving compassion all around."—Paul Schervish, Director of the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy