72 books like The Givers

By David Callahan,

Here are 72 books that The Givers fans have personally recommended if you like The Givers. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Doug White Author Of Wounded Charity: Lessons Learned from the Wounded Warrior Project Crisis

From my list on the complex worlds of philanthropy and nonprofits.

Why am I passionate about this?

The nonprofit sector is important to society and I often marvel at how many of us – which is to say all of us – have been touched by the generosity of others. With few exceptions, anyone who has graduated from college, who has been admitted to a hospital, who has attended a faith-based service, who has examined art at a gallery, who – literally, and there are no exceptions here – breathes air has benefited from the work of nonprofit organizations and the philanthropists who support them. It is therefore important to me to understand how the system works and how important charities are to society and a functioning democracy. 

Doug's book list on the complex worlds of philanthropy and nonprofits

Doug White Why did Doug love this book?

Our love for humanity – which is how “philanthropy” is defined – is rooted in our sense of morality. 

Adam Smith explains that morality is not driven only by reason, but is built into us because we are social beings. To understand philanthropy, therefore, I think we need a grounding in how and why we want to help others.  This book explores that desire, or need, to empathize. 

Smith says that when we see people happy or sad, we feel happy or sad too, that we derive pleasure when people do things we approve of. Even though The Theory of Moral Sentiments is almost three centuries old, it teaches us much about why nonprofits can be successful in the modern world.

By Adam Smith,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Theory of Moral Sentiments as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The foundation for a general system of morals, this 1749 work is a landmark in the history of moral and political thought. Readers familiar with Adam Smith from The Wealth of Nations will find this earlier book a revelation. Although the author is often misrepresented as a calculating rationalist who advises the pursuit of self-interest in the marketplace, regardless of the human cost, he was also interested in the human capacity for benevolence — as The Theory of Moral Sentiments amply demonstrates.
The greatest prudence, Smith suggests, may lie in following economic self-interest in order to secure the basic necessities.…


Book cover of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential

Doug White Author Of Wounded Charity: Lessons Learned from the Wounded Warrior Project Crisis

From my list on the complex worlds of philanthropy and nonprofits.

Why am I passionate about this?

The nonprofit sector is important to society and I often marvel at how many of us – which is to say all of us – have been touched by the generosity of others. With few exceptions, anyone who has graduated from college, who has been admitted to a hospital, who has attended a faith-based service, who has examined art at a gallery, who – literally, and there are no exceptions here – breathes air has benefited from the work of nonprofit organizations and the philanthropists who support them. It is therefore important to me to understand how the system works and how important charities are to society and a functioning democracy. 

Doug's book list on the complex worlds of philanthropy and nonprofits

Doug White Why did Doug love this book?

In Uncharitable Dan Pallotta challenges the way most people think about charity. 

Many people have been told that the less charities spend on overhead, fundraising, and salaries, the better the charities are. But this is not a healthy way to understand a charity’s impact, and Uncharitable refutes this myth. 

Pallotta describes what he calls an “economic apartheid,” a mindset that denies charities the critical tools that the for-profit sector is allowed to use without restraint: incentives to take risks, counterproductive limits on compensation, and moral objections to the use of donated dollars for anything other than program expenditures. 

I like this book not because Pallotta has a fully fleshed-out roadmap to energize the nonprofit sector, but because he is one of the few to articulate important problems facing the sector.

By Dan Pallotta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Uncharitable as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Uncharitable investigates how for-profit strategies could and should be used by nonprofits.

Uncharitable goes where no other book on the nonprofit sector has dared to tread. Where other texts suggest ways to optimize performance inside the existing charity paradigm, Uncharitable suggests that the paradigm itself is the problem and calls into question our fundamental canons about charity. Dan Pallotta argues that society's nonprofit ethic creates an inequality that denies the nonprofit sector critical tools and permissions that the for-profit sector is allowed to use without restraint. These double standards place the nonprofit sector at an extreme disadvantage. While the for-profit…


Book cover of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World

Doug White Author Of Wounded Charity: Lessons Learned from the Wounded Warrior Project Crisis

From my list on the complex worlds of philanthropy and nonprofits.

Why am I passionate about this?

The nonprofit sector is important to society and I often marvel at how many of us – which is to say all of us – have been touched by the generosity of others. With few exceptions, anyone who has graduated from college, who has been admitted to a hospital, who has attended a faith-based service, who has examined art at a gallery, who – literally, and there are no exceptions here – breathes air has benefited from the work of nonprofit organizations and the philanthropists who support them. It is therefore important to me to understand how the system works and how important charities are to society and a functioning democracy. 

Doug's book list on the complex worlds of philanthropy and nonprofits

Doug White Why did Doug love this book?

After reading Winners Take All, we might be forgiven for being worried about the role philanthropy plays in society.  Anand Giridharadas’s central argument is that donors – defined not as the average annual supporter of a charity, but as those with millions, and more, to give – do not so much change society for the better, but use their wealth to maintain the status quo. 

He says that instead of helping the poor, donations support policies, in the nonprofit arena, that uphold and even increase donors’ own wealth and status. In that regard, he reflects upon Oscar Wilde’s observation that those who do the most harm are those who try to do the most good. 

By Anand Giridharadas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Winners Take All as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*The International Bestseller*

'Superb, hugely enjoyable ... a spirited examination of the hubris and hypocrisy of the super-rich who claim they are helping the world' Aditya Chakrabortty, Guardian

What explains the spreading backlash against the global elite? In this revelatory investigation, Anand Giridharadas takes us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, showing how the elite follow a 'win-win' logic, fighting for equality and justice any way they can - except ways that threaten their position at the top.

But why should our gravest problems be solved by consultancies, technology companies and corporate-sponsored charities instead of public institutions…


Book cover of Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better

Doug White Author Of Wounded Charity: Lessons Learned from the Wounded Warrior Project Crisis

From my list on the complex worlds of philanthropy and nonprofits.

Why am I passionate about this?

The nonprofit sector is important to society and I often marvel at how many of us – which is to say all of us – have been touched by the generosity of others. With few exceptions, anyone who has graduated from college, who has been admitted to a hospital, who has attended a faith-based service, who has examined art at a gallery, who – literally, and there are no exceptions here – breathes air has benefited from the work of nonprofit organizations and the philanthropists who support them. It is therefore important to me to understand how the system works and how important charities are to society and a functioning democracy. 

Doug's book list on the complex worlds of philanthropy and nonprofits

Doug White Why did Doug love this book?

Rob Reich, a professor at Stanford University – in observing that we are living in a second gilded age – directly addresses whether the philosophy of philanthropy is in opposition to democracy. 

He answers, with several qualifications, that it very well could be.  He sets it up in the following way: Is philanthropy – the support of privately funded causes that affect society, often in profound ways – an individual act or a social policy? 

He views the question through that prism, of social policy, and concludes that philanthropy “is not just a matter of private morality,” but is “a matter of public morality.”  Just Giving appeals to me because of its comprehensive approach to an issue – the private support of our nation’s charitable organizations – that, while ubiquitous in society, has received too little attention. 

By Rob Reich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Just Giving as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The troubling ethics and politics of philanthropy

Is philanthropy, by its very nature, a threat to today's democracy? Though we may laud wealthy individuals who give away their money for society's benefit, Just Giving shows how such generosity not only isn't the unassailable good we think it to be but might also undermine democratic values. Big philanthropy is often an exercise of power, the conversion of private assets into public influence. And it is a form of power that is largely unaccountable and lavishly tax-advantaged. Philanthropy currently fails democracy, but Rob Reich argues that it can be redeemed. Just Giving…


Book cover of The Golden Passport: Global Mobility for Millionaires

Kimberly Kay Hoang Author Of Spiderweb Capitalism: How Global Elites Exploit Frontier Markets

From my list on global financial elites.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, and I am interested in global capitalism, financial elites, and all aspects of how people broker capital deals. I am a scholar of anti-heroes who studies all of the ways that people play in the gray. My first book, Dealing in Desire, is an ethnography where I embedded myself in several different hostess bars to study the relationship between sex work and financial deal-making. I grew up in California but have lived most of my adult life in Ho Chi Minh City, Houston, Boston, and Chicago. 

Kimberly's book list on global financial elites

Kimberly Kay Hoang Why did Kimberly love this book?

This is one of my favorite new books that provides an on-the-ground investigation of the global market for citizenship. I learned a tremendous amount about the “market” for passports.

Surak provides a window into the states and brokers who sell them and the billionaire/multimillionaire elites who can afford to buy them. With an incredible six years of fieldwork and hundreds of interviews, she shows the scale of a full-blown industry where buyers, brokers, and sellers all profit from the citizenship trade. 

By Kristin Surak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Golden Passport as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"[A] fascinating study of how people and their capital seek to move around a world that is at once hugely interconnected and driven by inequities...definitive, detailed, and unusually nuanced."
Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, Foreign Affairs

The first comprehensive on-the-ground investigation of the global market for citizenship, examining the wealthy elites who buy passports, the states and brokers who sell them, and the normalization of a once shadowy practice.

Our lives are in countless ways defined by our citizenship. The country we belong to affects our rights, our travel possibilities, and ultimately our chances in life. Obtaining a new citizenship is rarely…


Book cover of Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence

Meir Statman Author Of A Wealth of Well-Being: A Holistic Approach to Behavioral Finance

From my list on combining financial well-being and life well-being.

Why am I passionate about this?

Life well-being has many domains beyond finances, including family, friends, health, work, education, religion, and more. I know that financial well-being is necessary for life well being but it is not sufficient. Our older daughter lives with bipolar illness. Our life well-being was decimated years ago when my daughter’s illness was diagnosed. But we’ve learned to alleviate well-being injuries in one domain from well-being medicine from the same domain and from other domains. Our younger daughter loves her sister and cares for her, and our ample finances domain lets us support our older daughter without constraining our own budget. 

Meir's book list on combining financial well-being and life well-being

Meir Statman Why did Meir love this book?

Rachel Sherman’s book let me peek into the lives of people much richer than me, people whose annual income is in the millions and whose wealth is many multiples of their income.

They enjoy high financial well-being, yet many suffer diminished life well-being because they compare themselves to those even richer. One wealthy woman said that she does not feel wealthy because she knows many wealthier people with drivers and private planes. 

By Rachel Sherman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Uneasy Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A surprising and revealing look at how today's elite view their wealth and place in society

From TV's "real housewives" to The Wolf of Wall Street, our popular culture portrays the wealthy as materialistic and entitled. But what do we really know about those who live on "easy street"? In this penetrating book, Rachel Sherman draws on rare in-depth interviews that she conducted with fifty affluent New Yorkers-from hedge fund financiers and artists to stay-at-home mothers-to examine their lifestyle choices and understanding of privilege. Sherman upends images of wealthy people as invested only in accruing social advantages for themselves and…


Book cover of The Devil of Downtown

Britt Belle Author Of The Earl Was Wrong

From my list on historical romance heroes who were wrong.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love a romance where the hero has his viewpoint changed by the woman he falls in love with. He might become a better family man, or transform his politics, or change his priorities, but it all cases loving her alters him. Additionally, I love a heroine who is exceptional in a distinct way but overlooked or dismissed by others. They can be bluestockings or spinsters, reformers or quiet and shy, but they’re all steadfast and they all derive strength from the hero’s support. In short, the love they find together makes them better people. 

Britt's book list on historical romance heroes who were wrong

Britt Belle Why did Britt love this book?

This is a great book because love makes Mulligan reevaluate what matters most.

Mulligan isn’t a villain exactly, but he does less than admirable things. He believes money is the way to accrue power, and he tries to fix Justine’s problems with bribery. She can’t accept his methods as a way to solve problems, and he is faced with the choice to either rule the criminal world or love the girl.

Obviously, he picks the girl. His story arc is so satisfying because he will do anything for her!

By Joanna Shupe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Devil of Downtown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Nothing makes me happier than a new book from Joanna Shupe!"-Sarah MacLean

The final novel in Joanna Shupe's critically acclaimed Uptown Girl series about a beauitful do-gooder who must decide if she can team up with one of New York's brashest criminals without losing something irreplaceable: her heart.

Manhattan kingpin.

Brilliant mastermind.

Gentleman gangster.

He's built a wall around his heart...

Orphaned and abandoned on the Bowery's mean streets, Jack Mulligan survived on strength, cunning, and ambition. Now he rules his territory better than any politician or copper ever could. He didn't get here by being soft. But in uptown…


Book cover of Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas

Denise Kiernan Author Of We Gather Together: A Nation Divided, a President in Turmoil, and a Historic Campaign to Embrace Gratitude and Grace

From my list on on or by maverick women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Denise Kiernan is a multiple New York Times bestselling author of narrative nonfiction books including The Girls Of Atomic City, The Last Castle, and We Gather Together. Throughout her career as a journalist and an author, she has explored underrepresented stories and characters and the impact they have had on history. These stories of the unsung offer fresh perspectives on historical tales we think we already know. At the heart of many of Kiernan’s nonfiction explorations are women from a variety of different backgrounds and time periods.

Denise's book list on on or by maverick women

Denise Kiernan Why did Denise love this book?

There are many ways to approach history. Donna Lucey brilliantly chose to usher readers into the world of the Gilded Age via the captivating canvases of that era’s most sought-after portraitist, John Singer Sargent. There are always more stories lurking behind Sargent’s luxurious depictions of his subjects, and Lucey gets beneath the paint and the posing to give us her own picture of four very real women whose lives are far more nuanced than any portrait sitting can convey.

By Donna M. Lucey, Donna M. Lucey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sargent's Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With unprecedented access to newly discovered sources, Donna M. Lucey illuminates the lives of four women painted by the society portraitist John Singer Sargent. With uncanny clairvoyance, Sargent's portraits hint at the mysteries, passions and tragedies that unfolded in his subjects' lives. Elsie Palmer carried on a labyrinthine love life in a Rocky Mountain castle; Elizabeth Chanler stepped into a maze of infidelity with her best friend's husband; as the veiled image of Sally Fairchild emerged on the canvas, her sister was lured into an ill-fated life in art; and shrewd Isabella Stewart Gardner collected both art and young men.…


Book cover of Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government

Lindsay M. Chervinsky Author Of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

From my list on American presidents who left their mark on history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by power and how people use it. From the time I was tiny, I’ve loved reading about how people left their fingerprint on history, and boy, do presidents leave their mark. Given these interests, it’s unsurprising that I’ve been my career this far examining how early presidents crafted the executive branch. The president’s oversized role in American life is also at the heart of my podcast work (I cohost The Past, The Promise, The Presidency with the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. Each season we explore a different element of the presidency and its relationship to history). In my future scholarship, I plan to continue this exploration long after George Washington left office. Stay tuned for more, and in the meantime enjoy these great reads!

Lindsay's book list on American presidents who left their mark on history

Lindsay M. Chervinsky Why did Lindsay love this book?

So much of the early presidency took place out of “office hours.” Social events where women were present were considered apolitical and non-partisan, but of course, women had just as many opinions about politics back in the Early Republic as they do today! Instead, these events served as helpful venues for brokering deals, arranging political marriages, and securing appointments for friends and family members. Wives were also essential partners in campaigns and coalition-building once politicians were in office. You can’t understand the early presidents without understanding the broader social context as well.

By Catherine Allgor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Parlor Politics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Catherine Allgor describes the various ways genteel elite women during the first decades of the 19th century used ""social events"" and the ""private sphere"" to establish the national capital and to build the extraofficial structures so sorely needed in the infant federal government.


Book cover of The Remains of the Day

Victor Lodato Author Of Honey

From my list on packing an emotional punch.

Why am I passionate about this?

In addition to writing novels, I’m also a playwright. Whatever form I work in, I’m drawn to character, drama, and emotion. I aspire to write literary page-turners that feel as rich and complicated as real life.  Also, I want the endings of my books to slay readers and break their hearts. Of course, when I say that, I’m not necessarily speaking of sorrow; sometimes your heart breaks from expanding, from a surfeit of feeling. Your heart breaks only to grow larger.

Victor's book list on packing an emotional punch

Victor Lodato Why did Victor love this book?

This novel about an English butler’s lifetime of service and his friendship with the housekeeper, Miss Kenton, is an absolute stunner.

Near the end of the book, when the butler and the housekeeper run into each other again, years after their service to Lord Darlington, the scene is expertly understated. 

This book doesn’t give in to trite sentimentality, but rather, it moves you by its keen understanding of human nature.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Remains of the Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Kazuo Ishiguro's new novel Klara and the Sun is now available to preorder*

The Remains of the Day won the 1989 Booker Prize and cemented Kazuo Ishiguro's place as one of the world's greatest writers. David Lodge, chairman of the judges in 1989, said, it's "a cunningly structured and beautifully paced performance". This is a haunting evocation of lost causes and lost love, and an elegy for England at a time of acute change. Ishiguro's work has been translated into more than forty languages and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Stevens, the long-serving butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on…


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