Tag Archives: Business Unusual

The Giving Pledge

The Giving Pledge

The Giving Pledge is an idea you can believe in. It’s the brainchild of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, and represents what we believe is the pinnacle of capitalism, the end and purpose of which is the improvement of human life.

We are capitalists. We believe that capitalism is well-suited to the production of wealth and that wealth is an indispensable tool for improving human life.

In their bestselling book Sex At Dawn, Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá tell us that our hunter gatherer ancestors were much better sharers than we are. Sharing wasn’t just encouraged, it was mandatory. Hoarding or hiding food was considered deeply shameful and nearly unforgivable. They weren’t more evolved than we are; they just understood that their mutual survival depended on everyone’s adherence to this code. Sharing was simply the best way to distribute the inherent risks of life so that everyone would have a chance to survive.

Sharing is still the most practical approach for organizing human society. Intuitively we already know this, which is why when there’s a natural disaster or a terrorist attack — event for which we hold people blameless — we tend to redistribute our own resources so that other people can survive.


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November 2012:
On Grace & Gratitude

Fall is a time to harvest the fruits of our past experience, and take stock of what we’ve received. It’s a time of grace and gratitude, a necessary pause — metaphorically, at least — between the hyper-productive seasons of our lives, and the dormant, action-less times from which new possibilities are born.

Ex nihilo. Out of nothing. This is the true rhythm of things. Back in the olden days — when we lived off the land, and rose and set with the sun — the cycles of nature, and the sway they held over our lives was so evident that it required no contemplation. The frenzied days of the summer growing season gave way to the quieter, more contemplative days of fall, when we harvested the crops, putting them away for the fallow days of winter, when we were literally carried by our past efforts into the new birth of spring. In those long-ago days, we would have embraced the newfound leisure that fall introduced to our lives. We would have sat at the harvest table and received the bounty of the growing season with the deep sense of gratitude and awe that the moment deserved. We would have rejoiced in each others company and abandoned ourselves to the pleasures of a hearty meal. We would have taking the moment to breathe, and to feel our own origins and continuity within the rhythm of natural things.


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