• It is more difficult to give money away

    intelligently than to earn it in the first place.

    -Andrew Carnegie

  • Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap

    but by the seeds that you plant.

    -Robert Louis Stevenson

  • He who gives when asked

    has waited too long.


  • If you think you are too small to be effective,

    you have never been in bed with a mosquito.

    -Betty Reese

  • No one has ever

    become poor by giving.

    -Anne Frank

  • Noblesse oblige, or, superior advantages

    bind you to larger generosity.

    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • If you are feeling helpless,

    help someone.

    -Aung San Suu Kyi

  • The fragrance always remains

    in the hand that gives the rose.

    -Heda Bejar

  • The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.

    He also accepteth from a grouch.

    -Catherine Hall

  • Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

    nothing is going to get better. It's not.

    -Dr. Seuss

  • Kindness is the

    practice of generosity.

    -Sharon Salzberg

  • The habit of giving

    only enhances the desire to give.

    -Walt Whitman

  • You have not lived until you have done something

    for someone who can never repay you.”

    -John Bunyan

  • We make a living by what we get;

    but we make a life by what we give.

    -Winston Churchill

  •  If you can’t feed a hundred people,

    then just feed one.

    -Mother Teresa

  • The true measure of a man is how he treats

    someone who can do him absolutely no good.

    -Samuel Johnson

  • Give all thou canst, high Heaven rejects the lore

    Of nicely-calculated less or more.

    -William Wordsworth


With the great current interest in the study of generosity, any bibliography on the subject is out of date as soon as it is written. While not attempting to be encyclopedic, this bibliography consists of the principal writings that guided my research and that I recommend to the interested reader for further exploration.

Generosity, Spirituality, and Religion

Aitken, Robert “Giving Full Circle: A Meditation on the Ideal of Circular Giving, Founded in an Ancient Hawaiian Land-Sharing Custom.” Tricycle, Summer 2003.
Armstrong, Karen Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. New York. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.
Bhikkhu Bodhi, ed. “Dana: The Practice of Giving.” The Wheel, no. 367/369. Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1990.
Bhikkhu Thanissaro “The Economy of Gifts: An American Monk Looks at Traditional Buddhist Economy.” Tricycle, Winter 1996.
Boccio, Frank Jude “Kind and Generous.” Yoga Journal, December 2009, 19–20.
Brussat, Frederic and Mary Ann “The Spiritual Practice of Generosity: A Collection of Inspirational Thoughts.” Spirituality and Practice.
Dass, Ram and Paul Gorman How Can I Help?; Stories and Reflections on Service. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
Findly, Ellison Banks Dana: Giving and Getting In Pali Buddhism. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 2003.
Fronsdal, Gil “The Joy of Giving: Cultivating Generosity Through a Generous Spirit.” Tricycle, Winter 2011, 69.
Gehlek Rimpoché “Generosity (and Greed) Introduction.” Tricycle, Spring 2010.
Goldstein, Joseph “The Evolution of Happiness.” Tricycle, Fall 2005.
Hanson, Rick “Gratitude.” The Wise Brain Bulletin, December 21, 1987, 1:2.
Levine, Noah “Generosity (and Greed) Introduction.” Tricycle, Spring 2010.
Lief, Judith “The Power of Receiving.” Tricycle, Summer 2003.
Sheng Yen “Rich Generosity: On Transferring Merit.” Tricycle, Spring 2009.
Olendzki, Andrew “Dana: The Practice of Giving.” Tricycle, Summer 2003.
• “The Wisdom of Giving: A Q&A with Andrew Olendzki.” Tricycle, Summer 2003.
Rose, Marcia “The Gift That Cannot Be Given: An Interview with Marcia Rose.” Tricycle, Summer 2003.
Salzberg, Sharon “Generosity’s Perfection.” Buddhist Global Relief.
• The Kindness Handbook: A Practical Companion. Boulder: Sounds True, 2008.
• The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love and Compassion. Boulder: Sounds True, 2005.
• A Heart as Wide as The World. Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1999.
• Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness. Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1995.
Scharf, Greg “The Practice of Generosity: Planting Seeds for Future Happiness.” Insight Newsletter, Fall/Winter 2012/2013, 1–3.
Tarrant, John “The Erotic Life of Emptiness: We Are the World Unfolding.” Tricycle, Spring 2010.
Templeton, John Pure Unlimited Love: An Eternal Creative Force and Blessing Taught by All Religions. Radnor, PA: Templeton Foundation Press, 2000.
Tisdale, Sallie Jiko “As If There Is Nothing to Lose: Giving Comes From Gratitude.” Tricycle, Spring 2010.
Tricycle Teachings: Generosity. PDF e-book.
Unno, Taitetsu “Three Grapefruits: One Small Act of Giving Can Have Enormous Repercussions in an Interconnected World.” Tricycle, Summer 2003.
Wright, Dale S “The Bodhisattva’s Gift.” Tricycle, Winter 2011, 70–71.
• The Six Perfections: Buddhism and the Cultivation of Character. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Generosity and Philanthropy

Anik, Lalin, Lara B. Aknin, Michael I. Norton, and Elizabeth W. Dunn “Feeling Good About Giving: The Benefits (and Costs) of Self-Interested Charitable Behavior.” Harvard Business School. Working Knowledge, September 10, 2009.
Arrillaga-Andreessen, Laura Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World. San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2012.
Bekkers, Rene, and Pamela Wiepking “Understanding Philanthropy: A Review of 50 Years of Theory and Research.” Working paper.
• “Generosity and Philanthropy: A Literature Review.” Notre Dame Program in the Science of Generosity. Paper delivered November 8, 2009.
Bennett, Roger “Factors Underlying the Inclination to Donate to Particular Types of Charity.” International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing 8 (2006): 12–29.
Blanchard, Ken, and S. Truett Cathy The Generosity Factor. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.
Boles, Nicole Bouchard How to Be an Everyday Philanthropist. New York: Workman Publishing, 2009.
Bornstein, David How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
Bornstein, David, and Susan Davis Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Bronfman, Charles, and Jeffrey Solomon The Art of Giving: Where the Soul Meets a Business Plan. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010.
Brandt, Richard A Theory of the Good and the Right. New York: Prometheus Books, 1998.
Colapinto, John “Looking Good: The New Boom in Celebrity Philanthropy.” The New Yorker, March 26, 2012, 56–64.
Collett, Jessica L., and Christopher A. Morrissey “The Social Psychology of Generosity; The State of Current Interdisciplinary Research.” The Science of Generosity Project, Notre Dame University, October 2007.
Clinton, Bill Giving: How Each of Us Can Change The World. New York: Knopf, 2007.
Cullity, Garrett The Moral Demands of Affluence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Damon, William, and Susan Verducci, eds Taking Philanthropy Seriously: Beyond Noble Intentions to Responsible Giving. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2006.
Ehrenreich, Barbara Quoted in “Freakonomics Quorum: The Economics of Street Charity,” by Stephen J. Dubiner (blog). August 9, 2007.
Fleishman, Joel I., and Thomas J. Tierney GIVE $MART: Philanthropy that Gets Results. New York: Public Affairs, 2011.
Gary, Tracy, and Melissa Kohner Inspired Philanthropy: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a Giving Plan. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002.
Grant, Adam Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. New York: Viking, 2013.
Gup, Ted “The Weirdness of Walking to Raise Money.” Op Ed, New York Times, June 19, 2011.
Havens, John J “The Reality of the $41 Trillion Wealth Transfer.” Center on Wealth and Philanthropy. Boston College, 2007.
Hawn, Carleen “The Gospel According to Adam Smith.” Ode (June 2008): 39–47.
Hooker, Brad Ideal Code, Real World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Hyde, Lewis The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World. Edinburgh: Canongate Books, 1983.
Inaba, Jeffrey, and Katharine Meagher World of Giving. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Muller Publishers, 2010.
Jamal, Azim, and Harvey McKinnon The Power of Giving: How Giving Back Enriches Us All: Creating Abundance at Home, at Work, and in Your Community. New York: Jeremy B. Tarcher/Penguin, 2005.
Karoff, Peter, with Jane Maddox The World We Want. Lanham, MD: Altamira Press, 2007.
Kessel, Brent It’s Not About the Money. New York: Harper Collins, 2008.
Kristof, Nicholas D “Our Basic Human Pleasures: Food, Sex, Giving.” Op Ed, New York Times, January 16, 2010.
Kristof, Nicholas D., and Sheryl WuDunn Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Krotz, Joanna L The Guide to Intelligent Giving: Make a Difference in the World—and In Your Own Life (Town & Country). New York: Hearst Books, 2009.
LeMay, Kathy The Generosity Plan: Sharing Your Time, Treasure and Talent to Shape the World. New York: Atria, 2009.
McCrea, Jennifer and Jeffrey Walker  The Generosity Network: New Transformational Tools for Successful Fund-Raising.  New York: Random House, 2013
Mortenson, Greg  Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace With Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. New York: Viking, 2009.
Mortenson, Greg, and David Oliver Relin Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time. New York: Penguin Books, 2006.
Novogratz, Jacqueline The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World. New York: Rodale, 2009.
Ostrower, Francie Why the Wealthy Give: The Culture of Elite Philanthropy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.
Parker-Pope, Tara “Is Generosity Better Than Sex?” New York Times Magazine, December 11, 2011, 26.
Rabbi Rami “The Flip Side of Getting.” Ode 8, no. 6 (December 2011): 31–32.
Reeves, Hope “The 83-Year-Old Money Tree.” New York Times Magazine, September 18, 2011, 34.
Rico, Diana “It’s Good to Give.” Ode 8, no. 6 (December 2011): 22–28.
Rosenberg, Claude, and Tim Stone “A New Take on Tithing.” In Richistan by Robert Frank. New York: Random House, 2007. Data from Federal Reserve Board, Elite Traveler/Prince & Associates.
Ryan, M. J. The Giving Heart: Unlocking the Transformative Power of Generosity in Your Life. Berkeley: Conari Press, 2000.
Salamon, Julie Rambam’s Ladder. New York: Workman Publishing Company, 2003.
Schervish, Paul G., Platon E. Coutsoukis, and Ethan Lewis Gospels of Wealth: How the Rich Portray Their Lives. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994.
Shinabarger, Jeff More or Less: Choosing a Life of Excessive Generosity. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2013.
Singer, Peter The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty. New York: Random House, 2009.
Stassinopoulos, Agapi Unbinding the Heart; A Dose of Greek Wisdom, Generosity and Unconditional Love. New York: Hay House, Inc., 2013
Titmus, Richard M The Gift Relationship: From Human Blood to Social Policy. New York: The New Press, 1997.
Tomasello, Michael, MD Why We Cooperate. (Based on the 2008 Tanner Lectures on Human Values, Stanford University.) Cambridge, MA.: The M.I.T. Press, 2009.
Vardey, Lucinda, and John Dalla Costa Being Generous: The Art of Right Living. Toronto: Vintage Canada Editions, 2008.
Weisman, Carol Raising Charitable Children. St. Louis: F. E. Robbins & Sons Press, 2008.
Zeiler, Freddi A Kid’s Guide to Giving. Norwalk, CT: Innovativekids, 2006

The Science of Generosity

Barraza, Jorge A., and Paul J. Zak “Empathy Towards Strangers Triggers Oxytocin Release and Subsequent Generosity.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1167 (2009): 182–189. Digital version.
Barraza, Jorge A., M. E. McCullough, and P.J. Zak “Oxytocin Infusion Increases Charitable Donations Regardless of Monetary Resources.” Hormones and Behavior 60 (2011): 148–151. Digital version.
Darwin, Charles The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. London: Murray, 1871.
Flescher, Andrew Michael, and Daniel L. Worthen The Altruistic Species: Scientific, P­hilosophical, and Religious Perspectives on Human Benevolence. West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Foundation Press, 2007.
Franklin, Robert “Giving to Charity Affects the Brain, Study Finds.” Charity News Stories. February 19, 2007.
Harris, Alex H., and Carl E. Thoreson “Volunteering Is Associated with Delayed Mortality in Older People: Analysis of the Longitudinal Study of Aging.” Journal of Health Psychology 10, no. 6 (2005): 739–52.
“Inner Workings of the Magnanimous Mind.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Press release, April 4, 2007.
Lehrer, Johan “Kin and Kind: A Fight About the Genetics of Altruism.” The New Yorker, March 5, 2012, 36–42.
Lyubomiroky, Sonja The How of Happiness. New York: The Penguin Press, 2008.
McClelland, David C., and Carol Kirchnit “The Effect of Motivational Arousal Through Films on Salivary Imunoglobin A.” Psychology of Health 2, no. 1 (1988): 31–52.
Piliavin, Irving M., J. Rodin, and Jane Allyn Pilliavin “Good Samaritanism: An Underground Phenomenon?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 32 (1969): 429–38.
Post, Stephen, Jill Neimark, and Otis Moss Jr Why Good Things Happen to Good People: How to Live a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by the Simple Act of Giving. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.
Post, Stephen G The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion and Hope Can Get Us Through Hard Times. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011.
Skog, Susan “10 Ways Giving Back Helps You.” Holistic Living (blog). April 10, 2009.
Stimson, Daniel “Inner Workings of the Magnanimous Mind.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. April 4, 2007.
Suttie, Jill “7 Ways Sharing Can Make You Happy.” Your Olive Branch. October 19, 2010.
Van der Linden, Sander “The Helper’s High: Why It Feels So Good To Give.” Ode 8, no. 6 (December 2011): 26–27.
“Why Do We Help Others?” Flourish, the Quarterly Newsletter of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies. Summer 2011.
Zak, Paul J., Angela A. Stanton, and Sheila Ahmadi “Oxytocin Increases Generosity in Humans.” 2007. Public Library of Science. Digital version.
Zak, Paul.J., Robert Kurzban, Sheila Ahmadi, Ronald S. Swerdloff, et al 2009. “Testosterone administration decreases generosity in the ultimatum game.” Public Library of Science. Digital version.

Inspiring Stories of Generosity

Colby, Anne, and William Damon Some Do Care: Contemporary Lives of Moral Commitment. New York: The Free Press, 1992.
Dichter, Sasha “The Generosity Experiment.” TED video. November 2010.
Dickson, Mike “Reflections on the Generous Life.” Ode 8, no. 6 (December 2011): 30–31.
Disney, Abby “Taking the Leap.” Speech delivered at the New York Women’s Foundation, 2007.
Editors of Conari Press Random Acts of Kindness Then and Now; the 20th Anniversary of a Simple Idea that Changes Lives.  San Francisco: Conari Press, 2013.
“For Philanthropy Courses, Students Become Givers.” Boston Globe. June 25, 2009.
Gup, Ted A Secret Gift: How One Man’s Kindness—and a Trove of Letters—Revealed The Hidden History of The Great Depression. New York: Penguin, 2010.
Hamilton, Adam Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009.
Krishnan, Narayanan “A Companion to the Forgotten.” CNN Heroes video. 2010.
Maag, Christopher “Kindness of a Stranger That Still Resonates: Beneficiaries of Anonymous Gifts During the Depression Are Revealed.” New York Times. November 8, 2010.
MacFarquhar, Larissa “The Kindest Cut.” The New Yorker, July 27, 2009, 37–51.
Macomber, Debbie One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity. New York: Howard Books, 2009.
Macy, Joanna, and Norbert Gahbler Pass It On: Five Stories That Can Change the World. Berkeley: Parallax Press, 2010.
Malloch, Theodore Being Generous. West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Press, 2009.
Mogil, Christopher, and Anne Slepian, with Peter Woodrow We Gave Away a Fortune. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1992.
“Olivia Wilde ‘House’ Star Electrified over Powering African Hospitals.” USA Today. October 13, 2009.
Preston, Caroline “Some Donors of Modest Means Give Until It Hurts—and Love It.” Chronicle of Philanthropy. September 23, 2010, 23.
Ram Dass and Parul Gorman  How Can I Help? Stories and Reflections on Service.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011.
Salwen, Kevin, and Hannah The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back. Boston: Mariner Books, 2010.
Smith, Wendy Give a Little: How Your Small Donations Can Transform the World. New York: Hyperion, 2009.
Walker, Cami 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life. Philadelphia: Perseus Books, 2009.