Barbara Bonner’s book, Inspiring Generosity, is a delightful combination of inspiring quotes about generosity and truly inspiring stories about people who exemplify generosity. The sources of the quotes range from the Bible, the Koran, Camus, Thoreau, and the Buddha to Anne Frank, Winston Churchill, and Gandhi to Audrey Hepburn, Oscar Hammerstein, and Norman Vincent Peale. Each quote reveals a different view of generosity, which combined are both moving and inspirational.
But even more inspiring are fourteen stories of individuals and families who are the epitome of generous. Included are:
- Paul Wagner, who donated a kidney to a stranger;
- Narayanan Krishnan, who left a prime post as a celebrated chef for luxury hotels to devote his life to feeding and tending to the hungry, destitute, and forsaken poor of India; and
- The Salwen family of Atlanta, which based on the generous instincts of 14–year-old Hannah, made a family decision to downsize from their fancy home, selling it and moving to a home at half the cost, while donating the other half of its value ($800,000) to sponsor health, microfinance, and food programs in rural villages in Ghana. Read more about the Salwens in my previous post for The Life You Can Save blog.
These stories describe individuals who share the basic instinct that for their lives to have meaning they must recognize the value of others, even strangers, who need a helping hand to live the lives they deserve. They may not have had the analytical basis that The Life You Can Save Foundation uses to recommend the recipients of charity, but the values embraced by the individuals in these amazing stories are congruent with the values intrinsic in Peter Singer’s writing on charity and philanthropy.