Saturday, February 20, 2010

Books That Inspired the Project

Of course, in addition to the books that I'll be reading over the coming 40 days (discussed yesterday), there are a number of books that helped inspire and cultivate this project idea in its infancy. They basically fall in two categories.

Project Books
The first category includes what I have taken to calling "project books," which are autobiographical accounts of people who set themselves some specific goal and then go about trying to make it happen. Accounts like the ones below helped me get in a mindset for a project like this in the first place, even before I had an actual idea for what my particular project would be.
Philanthropy Books
In addition, I've also read a number of books that have stressed the importance of philanthropy, which have of course also set the seeds of this project in my mind:
  • Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World by Craig Kielburger & Marc Kielburger: This was a great book, really exploring the stories of two brothers who devote themselves to charitable work, and in fact a whole movement of the upcoming generation who is choosing to turn its back on the materialism that is at the heart of so much of modern American life.
  • The 5 Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me About Life and Wealth by Richard Paul Evans: I read this book right as I was getting ready to marry Amber and begin my life as a family man, and it had a profound effect on my views about money and success. The fifth lesson is "Give Back." In fact, many books on finance and success emphasize the importance of this. In addition to Amber's influence, it was this book that made me decide to begin giving a portion of my salary to charity, even when I felt I didn't have the excess to spare.
  • The Blessed Life: The Simple Secret of Achieving Guaranteed Financial Results by Robert Morris: This is a Christian-based book, which I bought from our church after watching a compelling video series based on it during the Christmas season of 2009. While I certainly think the "Guaranteed" in the title is a bit disingenuous (especially since the author says repeatedly that financial rewards are not guaranteed, even while implying strongly that they are guaranteed - you can't have it both ways, Reverend Morris!), I was intrigued at the strong argument he makes for how important giving, and specifically tithing, is. It's laced throughout the Bible, in places that I would never have expected. I'll discuss some of the thoughts on "tithing" that came out of this book later on.