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The Paradox of Generosity – Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose

Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson


Generosity is paradoxical. Those who give, receive back in turn. In giving of ourselves for others’ well-being, we enhance our own well-being as well. In letting go of some of what we own, we actually increase our own security and sense of comfort. By giving away our own resources, we move ourselves toward flourishing. This is not only a philosophical or religious teaching. It is a sociological fact. Drawing on data from the Science of Generosity Initiative, including a nationally representative survey of two thousand Americans and in-depth qualitative interviews with forty households, this bo ... More

Keywords: generosity, altruism, well-being, happiness, purpose, health, volunteer work, charitable giving

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780199394906
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199394906.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Christian Smith, author
University of Notre Dame

Hilary Davidson, author
University of Notre Dame