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29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  3,051 ratings  ·  642 reviews
At age thirty-five, Cami Walker was burdened by a battle with multiple sclerosis, a chronic neurological condition that made it difficult for her to walk, work, or enjoy her life. Seeking a remedy for her depression after being hospitalized, she received an uncommon prescription from an African medicine woman: Give to others for 29 days.29 Gifts is the insightful story of ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published October 5th 2009)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  3,051 ratings  ·  642 reviews

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Mar 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
155.232 W I read this at the advice of a good friend, but I wasn't that taken by this simplistic story of turning your life around by doing good for others. And I just didn't like the author. Her 29 gifts were often not really gifts at all or such minor gifts such as "letting" her aunt scrub her apartment, washing the dishes so her husband wouldn't have to, letting him pick the movie at the theater, etc. And although she says they have no money,she seems to be throwing it around,telling us about ...more
Jan 20, 2011 rated it liked it
It's hard for me to give this book a rating. For me, it deserves two different scores.

If I am rating the concept and the inspiration I received from reading it, I would give it a 5. The idea that giving a gift a day for 29 days is really inspired. It helps take the focus off of selfish things and puts it on giving to others. And that can have a profound impact on a person's life. I love this and I have found my own way of thinking has been changed as I have thought how I can implement some of th
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is a tough one for me. I was inspired by the core message, and I am going to accept the 29 gifts challenge. I struggle as most people do with balance,negative self thought etc;. Embracing abundance through giving is a good place to start.
Where the book fell down for me was the author's lifestyle. All the while documenting her and her husband's financial travails, her life style seemed to be one of dining out frequently and spa treatments. I do not begrudge her these experiences. Having batt
Apr 19, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm conflicted. While I think the concept of the 29 gifts is worthwhile, count me among Cami's detractors who believe:

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, spirituality
I loved this book! It is an easy read that examines a philosophy in which feelings of scarcity in one's life can be transformed into abundance. It is very important to read it to the very end as the added stories are inspirational. There is also a website to join others who are also practicing building abundance in their lives.
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My Mother gave me this book for my 40th Birthday. She had no clue the challenges I was facing in my life at the time, I didn't want to trouble her or have her worry, she was a big worrier (hmmm. that's where I get that from).

My Mother passed away this last October as I was not yet finished reading the book. I often would let her know during our phone conversations that I was in the process of reading the book and enjoying it.
I received a phone call from my Aunt on October 26th telling me that my
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
I read this book in preparation for the Nerdy Girls 29 day gift challenge. I really like the idea of intentionally giving a gift every day for 29 days and I was hoping this book would give me ideas and inspire me. I certainly got plenty of good ideas but I left this book more feeling annoyed than inspired.

Over all I found the book to be a big waste of time but Walker did offer up this one beautiful paragraph, "I've come to believe over the last twenty nine days that giving and receiving are two
Feb 20, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heard
I like to listen to audiobooks while I do beadwork. My library doesn't always have stuff I know I want to read, so I find myself listening to books that sound at least marginally interesting- and which sometimes are.

This one, though, was so not my thing. I liked the concept & the blurb, but I didn't like the tone, I didn't like the execution, and I surely didn't find the writing engaging. I was put off by too many things to count. The tone seemed to me to see-saw between deeply self-pitying and
Apr 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I read this book because my community is doing a Community-Wide Read with it, and I like the idea of having a reading experience in common with a bunch of people. Plus, obviously the fact that it was selected is a pretty heavy recommendation from at least some people.

I'd give this a 3.5 if it weren't for the fact that I was rolling my eyes at a lot of the spiritual stuff, and occasionally at the protagonist's behavior.

First off, props to Ms. Walker for dealing so positively, as a general rule, w
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
In 29 Gifts Cami Walker tells of how her life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis one month after her wedding. Quickly losing control over her body and facing a drastically different life than she had planned she sank into a deep depression and prescription drug addiction. When her neighbor, a South African healer prescribed a regime of 29 days of gift giving to heal her, Cami thought the idea was crazy. Desperate to gain control of her life she finally agreed a ...more
Elyse  Walters
Oct 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm inspired into action! While having trouble joining her website (techie problems) --I called a phone number on the "29 Gifts" site and Cami Walker answered the phone. Surprised the heck out of me! I chatted about Cami about her book --and her health, (she hasn't been doing very well for a couple of months). Having MS is a daily challenge.

Lin from Goodreads (and our Woman's group) sent me this book ----so its now my turn to 'gift-give'.

I bought 5 more of Cami's books this morning from Amazon!
John Kaufmann
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: misc
Twenty-nine gifts. One a day for (almost) a month. Sounds like a great idea. But the book, in my mind, wasn't up to it. Or, perhaps, the author wasn't up to it.

The main reason I didn't like the book was that I thought the main character was selfish. When a friend made the suggestion of 29 gifts to her, she said it would all come back to her (or something to that effect). Fine. But it seemed like the main character was looking for a return on her investment so to speak, and was expecting the gift
Nov 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
Wow, what a great little book! In 29 Gifts, Cami Walker retells her inspirational story of how an unlikely prescritpion (stop focusing on your self and give 29 gifts in 29 days) shifts her focus from the MS diagnosis she is living with just one month after being married to what she can offer to the world. The "prescription" comes from a friend and spiritual teacher, an African medicine woman named Mbali Creazzo. When Cami is at her darkest hour and decides she has nothing more to lose, she remem ...more
Apr 23, 2010 rated it liked it
I got interested in this because the author has MS. My sister has MS, so I'd like to learn more about the challenges & feelings the disease can cause. I felt like the author gave a very honest view of her struggle, and so I liked that aspect of the book.

I've noticed in my life in the past that gratitude is a very powerful emotion, and I think that ties in with the experiment the author writes about here. When you focus on the positive things in your life, you'll notice more positive things. In m
Oct 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
Of course I love the (not new at all) concept of giving with an open heart, and looking outward instead of worrying about oneself all the time. This is especially difficult but even more important when one is struggling. However, I found the author whiny and I think there's a lot to be said about not letting your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Pretty much the opposite of this book! ...more
Apr 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book has a really great message, and one I agree with wholeheartedly. However, I could have done with a bit less of the new-agey stuff. Also, I got a little tired of the whiney tone of the author's voice. I know she was going through a very tough time, and her health is a serious matter, but I felt there was too much focus on her struggles and how badly she behaved. ...more
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it
A personal memoir about one women's story to heal herself by giving 29 gifts in 29 days. She was to give mindfully, with no expectations of receiving. The results were pretty miraculous, so much so that she continued the 29 day cycle for over a year. "Healing doesn't happen in a vacuum. It occurs through our interactions with other people." You can join the movement at ...more
Amanda Koehler Caronna
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A positive read -- I found myself smiling often while reading it!
Julie Bestry
[For what it's worth, this was apparently a best-seller a decade ago. I'd never heard of it.]

I have never felt so mean while writing a review. I realize it seems ungenerous to say that I didn't like this book, especially when there's nothing seriously wrong, per se, with it. I also realize that it's ironic that the book is about altruism and I feel (in the interest of warning readers) that I can't just say nice things about this book.

Let's just say it wasn't my cup of eat-pray-love-tea. The conc
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. I have been suffering from a set of illnesses very similar to MS for 2 years now. I have EDS, which causes severe pain and my muscles to pop out of joint often, and Dyautonomia/POTS/NCS, which causes my heart to race, my blood pressure to drop and me to faint. And basically every part of my body that is controlled by my Autonomic Nervous system to be out of whack!! Some days I cannot even walk or I lie in bed shaking and cannot move or speak. It has changed my life completely. ...more
Interesting read and one I’ve recommended to a few folks already. The author, newly married and newly stricken with a debilitating flare up of her newly diagnosed MS, is overwhelmed by all she has to deal with and has, understandably, become pretty “poor me”. But a challenge from a friend to embark on a 29 day challenge to practice gratitude, mindful giving, and learn to graciously receive gives her a much needed change of perspective. I found a lot familiar in her struggles and I appreciated th ...more
Dec 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Nice enough story about giving to others and seeing coincidental good things happening (also known as good karma coming around). I found I liked reading it, even though it felt a bit formulaic for the type of book it was -- there's a guru that sends the author on this mission to do good, the author thinks a lot about themselves throughout, and in the end, after completing the mission, things are better. Ends with examples from others following the same proscribed 29 days of giving. I was surpris ...more
May 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
Cami Walker was diagnosed with MS shortly after her marriage and is learning to cope with her severe symptoms. One of her spiritual advisers suggests she give 29 gifts in 29 days. This sounded like an interesting concept. The author mentions that her spiritual adviser believes that we live in a world of consumption and even though we have many material things, we may still be living in scarcity. I really liked this part. Unfortunately, this message can be understood without having to go through ...more
May 14, 2019 added it
I can’t imagine the agony involved in finding out at a relatively young age about the diagnosis of a debilitating chronic disease. I’m glad that Cami Walker was able to turn her despair into a movement that has helped herself and hundreds of others look outward to help others rather than inward at their own pain.
There were times when I felt she made questionable choices, and I got bored during long descriptions of divinations, etc, but hey, it’s her book and her life so she can write it how she
Jennifer Lewis
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
The very first book I ever read as part of my nifty book club. I am loving the book club... Not so sure about the book. The book was built on a principal I appreciate, getting out of your own way and focusing on other instead of yourself. The author struggles with MS and her story is quite inspiring. Giving a gift to someone every day for twenty-nine days really did improve her life and decrease her symptoms. My hesitation to recommend the book stems from its new age flare.
Jason Prodoehl
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is by an author who is learning to live with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She challenges herself to to the 29 day gift challenge, to give a gift each day for 29 consecutive days. The gifts don't have to cost money, but they are given with intention. This inspired her to start a movement, that has taken off globally, in others wanting to give with intention.

If you're even curious about this phenomenon, go to to learn more, read stories about others doing this, or even to jo
Jenni Clark
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting one to rate. I read it because jen sincero mentions it in her book, You are a Badass (5 stars). On the one hand, the concept and the idea of living with a charitable heart/looking at life from a place of abundance deserves 5 stars. It definitely inspired me to change. On the other hand, I didn't always love the authors voice or story. I applaud her for writing honestly, and I think her intentions were pure. It is difficult to write bluntly and openly about your struggles ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I agree with this when you give it's easier to receive. When you start to see your life with gratitude things get better. Although I don't have M.S. having a chronic illness I could really relate to her struggles especially from the beginning of her story. I appreciated that her gifts weren't always gifts how you think of them in the traditional sense. I also appreciated her exploration of non traditional healing techniques and being spiritually open minded. Good one to listen to. ...more
Feb 17, 2021 rated it liked it
I listened to this book for a few reasons. I liked the idea of consciously putting oneself in a giving state of mind. I was also drawn to this book because the author had MS and I wanted to better understand that journey. The story was simple enough. This is definitely something I’d like to try in my own life.
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It will serve as inspiration for me to think of giving in new ways and will remain a treasure on my bookshelf.
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