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Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compasionate Conservatism Who Gives, Who Doesn't, and Why It Matters
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Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compasionate Conservatism Who Gives, Who Doesn't, and Why It Matters

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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  224 ratings  ·  59 reviews
We all know we should give to charity, but who really does? Approximately three-quarters of Americans give their time and money to various charities, churches, and causes; the other quarter of the population does not. Why has America split into two nations: givers and non-givers? Arthur Brooks, a top scholar of economics and public policy, has spent years researching this ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 20th 2006 by Basic Books
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Chantal
The premise of this book is that the notion that liberals are the most virtuous members of society is simply not backed by the facts. Religious conservatives actually are far more charitable than liberals. In addition, government programs reduce voluntary charity both for the givers and the receivers. The author convincingly argues that there is intrinsic value in charitable giving, both monetary and non-monetary, for society as a whole.

To me, this book was FASCINATING. It squared with both my r
...more
Bojan Tunguz
The title of this book refers to the surprising find that the author came across in his research: conservatives are much more generous than liberals. This flies in the face of the conventional wisdom where even president Bush had to brandish his 2000 campaign as "compassionate conservatism". It turns out "compassionate" is redundant: conservatives of all stripes outflank liberalism when it comes to charitable giving and generosity. This is a very stable and robust find, and it turns out that it ...more
Michelle
The Democratic political party wants Americans to believe they are the party that fights for the people, and that Republicans are the cause of all suffering in America. This book is a great tool to prove otherwise. As a liberal democrat, Andrew Brooks set out to prove that Democrats give more money to charity and volunteer more than Republicans, but the amount of data he collected proving the opposite will astound you. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know the truth about who ...more
Dale
One of the most interesting and profound books I've read this year

I'm a high school teacher that founded and sponsored the local Key Club (secular volunteer organization) at my high school for 7 years. My wife has been a professional volunteer coordinator for more than 15 years, in both religious and secular settings. There is nothing in these statistics that contradict our personal experiences.

So, what does Brooks say? "The conventional wisdom runs like this: Liberals are charitable because th
...more
Nicole
Some stats are interesting, though less valuable than the author claims. His conclusions are overdrawn and unsubstantiated. It's interesting to see the role that religion and politics plays on people's generosity, but the author's libertarian agenda spoils his credibility.
Flora
Galvanizing concept, and it inspired me to give more to nonprofits, but the language is a bit polemical, and after a while I feel like he is beating a dead horse.
Paul Dubuc
Given a fair reading, this book will be an eye-opener for some, and an encouragement to others. I hope there's no cause for cynicism or gloating. Keep in mind that this is a broad brush, "big picture" kind of book. Brooks is careful to point out that his study is not predictive of individual behavior, but measures influential factors on a large scale. Subtitled America's Charity Divide: Who Gives, Who Doesn't, and Why It Matters, this is fascinating and well documented study of correlations betw ...more
Bookwyrmgyrl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
The professor who asked me to read this book informed me that I would either love it or hate it. As you can see from the one star I gave it, I hated it. I would have put it down except 1) It was required reading, and 2) I had to finish it to know if it was really all bad, or if there would be some redeeming material. There was not. The book discusses how liberals are more associated with giving and concern for the general well being of others. But the book points out that studies have shown that ...more
Cris
A fairly thorough statistical investigation of what segment of American society is charitable by the definition that A) they give their own money, B) Give by larger margins than the rest of the population and C) volunteer and perform other random acts of kindness more frequently. Annoying as it is that the author constantly repeats his conclusions, this does make the book easier to read. Also, the author is making sure that he is VERY clear about how he is deducing his conclusions by the stilted ...more
Andrew Georgiadis
"America's sunny resistance to the hold of depressing European social theories may have helped provide a defense against the creep of secularism. Whatever the reason, there is no indication that the forces of American secularism are a political or social threat on any European scale, at least not yet. American charities can thank God this is so. (p 127).'

So it goes. Truth be told, I was taken aback and a little surprised by the disingenuous and not-quite-subverted political nature of this "socia
...more
Bill
I caught a snippet of an author interview on NPR one day which piqued my interest.

Arthur Brooks has made a career of studying charitable giving. What he found surprised even himself. There is a vast charity divide in America. On one side of that divide are people who are very giving, not only of their money but their time. On the other side are people who give significantly less or not at all. The surprising thing is who those people are and the common traits that run through each group - their
...more
Skylar Burris
It's not surprising (at least to me) that conservatives (and in particular religious conservatives) contribute more money to charities (both religious AND non-religious), volunteer more time to the service of others, and donate more blood than do liberals (and in particular secular liberals).

It seems to me logical that when one's political philosophy is that the government should provide for people, that one would be less inclined to help people directly oneself.

It also seems logical to me tha
...more
Heather
Great book! Arthur Brooks points out the importance of charity and volunteering in a society. In direct opposition to what many people think, conservatives in America are actually more giving and compassionate than liberals, as shown in several studies that show they are more likely to donate to charity, donate more and are more likely to volunteer. There seems to be a strong correlation between religion, political preferences, welfare, family, and likelihood to donate to charity. Those that rep ...more
Kami
This book is fascinating. Brooks does research to prove that Americans are charitable. His research proves it again and again. Turns out, those who believe people should help people, not the government, those who are religious, not on welfare, and have parents who teach generosity are more generous then their coutnerparts. The stats look at donations by gender, marital status, income level, education, state, political party, political beliefs, whether or not you have children, what country you l ...more
Laralee
Arthur C. Brooks wants the value of giving taught and practiced more widely. Why? Because people who give money, time, and/or blood are happier and wealthier than statistically identical people who do not. Because the economy is benefited in measurable ways by the charity of the citizenry. Because giving voluntarily is better for all involved than the forced redistribution of wealth (i.e. taxes and social programs)


If we want to really be happy and prosperous we will learn to give more, and teach
...more
Gary
Jul 05, 2008 Gary rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Political junkies, faith people, liberal and conservative zealots
Recommended to Gary by: World Magazine
I really enjoyed the findings Brooks had in regard to charitable giving, both money and time, and faith. He showed that people of faith, regardless of conservative or liberal, far out give and give generously to both religious and non-religious causes compared to secular people. He also showed the folks who support government-type intervention, a typical solution of the far left liberal, do not give their time or money to any causes in almost a "Scrooge-like" fashion.

There are greater stats he d
...more
Nikki
I picked up this book from the library even though I knew it wasn't probably going to be one I agreed with. After about 50 pages I was ready to give up but I decided that I should finish it & I'm glad I did. I still don't know if I believe all of the stats, but I also know that numbers can usually be interpreted to give desired results. I did NOT read the gigantic Appendix so maybe that would have been helpful, I don't know.

Anyway, I guess my main take-away is that as someone who gives to ch
...more
Kevin
Oct 11, 2009 Kevin added it
Quote from the book: "Far from being a "necessary evil," fund-raising is a valuable service to a nonnprofit's community in an of itself... nonprofit executives should see the solicitation of donations as the offer of a valuable product - essential to every potential donor's happiness, health, and good fortune."

The data in "Who Really Cares" here may surprise people, or it may not. I really think that most people will "see what they look for" in this book. It is interesting; there are thoughtful
...more
Sue Tincher
This book was an interesting amalgamation of the data out there on who gives to charity. There are four main characteristics of a generous person: religious; not holding the belief that government should equalize income; not being on welfare; in an intact family. In other words, more apt to be a conservative. Brooks bases his conclusions on 10 studies of charitable giving, which are well documented and explained in the appendix. Although the book seems to go over the same numbers and concepts mo ...more
Jared
Oct 28, 2014 Jared rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
This is a wonderful look at the factors that increase charitable giving and acts in America. Being more conservative, more religious, and less reliant on the government (ideologically and actually) result in higher rates of giving financially and through service to both religious and secular causes. What I thought was interesting is that working poor if they make the same amount of money as non-working (i.e., welfare) poor nonetheless give at much higher rates. I also like the overall point that ...more
Megan
Who gives the most money and time to charity? People who are religious, people who hold conservative political views and people who are the working poor. But this is not a book meant to further divide people, but a challenge to those who do not donate to charities. Donating not only helps the needy, but increases the happiness of donors and adds money to the economy.

The thing I found most interesting was the author's explanation for the role of the govenment towards the needy. People who believ
...more
Corey A. Jones
This is a must read for anyone who cares about religion and politics. It reveals the surprising, and rather comforting truth for myself, that those who are religious actually are different from those who aren't. Religious people give a lot more to charity than those who are not religious. It also examines how government policy can hurt charitable giving. Arthur explains how giving is actually good for society. It just flat out makes us better people. It is written by a liberal who has examined t ...more
Emily
Nov 18, 2009 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Emily by: Andy
I absolutely loved this book! It is amazing what Brooks' research shows about generosity and entitlement. His analysis can be somewhat dry, but I believe he makes up for it with clarity--I walked away with a clear understanding of the research. His findings have some serious implications for our society and I believe they need to be taken seriously. His predictions about what an uncontrolled liberal government would do to religious organizations and personal charitable giving are eerily right on ...more
Peter
"This book shows that four forces in modern American life are primarily responsible for making people charitable. These forces are religion, skepticism about the government in economic life, strong families, and personal entrepreneurism." (p11)

"The data indicate that political conservatives are, on average, more personally charitable than liberals. ... The worldview and lifestyle of charitable people are usually more in sync with the right than they are with the left." p11

Brooks uses hard fact
...more
Melissa
A book which is able to dispell stereotypes or at least shine a new light on them is, for me, an engaging read. As another reviewer stated, the work is a bit dry, at times long, however insightful and interesting nonetheless. This study provides an in-depth look at the giving culture of Americans, our affinity toward private charity in comparison to many other developed nations, and the people who embrace this cultural trait. People who offer the American non-profit sector the support it needs w ...more
Darla
Fascinating read...should help to dispel the myth that liberals care & conservatives are heartless grinches. The liberal author expected to find just that, but found exactly the opposite. Yeah, libs are great at giving away other peoples' money, but not so much their own. Even poor conservatives give more time and money than poor liberals...and interestingly, Religion seems to be the single biggest factor affecting the giving mentality. The more secular one is, the less likely he is to give ...more
Azure
It did seem a little biased- emphasizing the virtues of the right-wing and religious. However, I thought Brooks did a great job of identifying the underlying factors that lead people to be more charitable. I love the final chapter where he sums up the importance of this type of research, and identifies ways in which we can individually and collectively encourage more charity in our homes and societies, and explains why it matters so much.
Diane
This book looks at patterns of giving to charity and volunteering across the United States. The author's overall conclusion is that religious people are much more likely to be generous than non-religious people, and that conservative religious people are the most generous of all. The author qualifies these conclusions considerably, but it was a fascinating read on a topic that I knew very little about before reading this book.
Atchisson
Next time when one of the left wing nuts goes into his tired diatribe about the greedy and selfish Republicans, just drop the information from ANY of these meticulously researched and painstakingly detailed chapters. Like so many other important bits of information, the people most in need will refuse to even acknowledge them, and if you try to offer them up, then YOU'RE the Kool-Aid drinker....I seriously dislike liberals.
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