The former president provides dozens of effective and communicable examples of giving.
“I wrote this book to encourage you to give whatever you can, because everyone can give something. And there’s so much to be done, down the street and around the world,” he writes. For Clinton (My Life, 2004), giving is the right thing to do; acts of unfettered goodwill promote harmony and trust. Writing in an unhurried style, the author doesn’t chide or prod the reader, but simply provides numerous examples of giving of all kinds, whether it be a multimillion-dollar gift or the simple donation of an old, unused saxophone to a school music program. Bill Gates, Bono and Tiger Woods may grab the headlines, but Clinton is especially concerned with the giver of modest gifts or what little spare time they have. To that effect, Clinton quotes Warren Buffett, who recently gave $30 billion to the Gates Foundation: “My gift is nothing….The people I really admire are the small donors who give up a movie or a restaurant meal to help needier people.” Clinton inspires by pointing the way and introducing a company of givers. If you know how to tie a fishing fly, teach someone else. If you’re appalled by the trash on the sidewalk or your local beach, pick it up—or, better, organize a sustaining drive to keep the area clean. If you own a business, consider hiring someone on welfare or with a disability. Also, says Clinton, think about injecting your giving with a dash of humor—down in his home state, there’s an annual raccoon supper to equip the local football team; Clinton advises using plenty of barbecue sauce on the meat. He goes on to suggest participation in something as profound as Seeds of Peace, which brings together young people of different religious and ethnic groups long at odds with one another.
An important message conveyed with a light touch.