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Wisconsin Public Radio: The Paradox of Generosity

Author: Joy Cardin and Christian Smith

Empirical evidence suggests that being generous and sacrificing will ultimately bring us more rewards in return. Yet, most Americans don’t practice generosity, according to Joy Cardin’s guest this hour. William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology, Christian Smith explains the “paradox of generosity” and what it means for ourselves and society. Listen Read More

Notre Dame Sociologists Explore Paradox of Generosity

Author: Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson

For most religious believers, it is an article of faith that it is more blessed to give than to receive. For at least two University of Notre Dame sociologists, it is an article of fact as well. In their recently published book, “The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose,” Christian Smith, Notre Dame’s William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology, and sociology doctoral candidate Hilary Davidson provide empirical evidence in support of the biblical admonition. Read More

Faith's Paradox: Lose Your Soul to Find It

Author: Richard Stearns

Here's one of the great paradoxes of the human race: People who have almost no material possessions -- the world's extreme poor -- can be among the wealthiest in life. Read More

Want to Be Happy? Stop Being So Cheap!

Author: Jordan Michael Smith and Christian Smith

Start giving your money and time away: New research shows you’ll be happier for it. Americans who describe themselves as “very happy” volunteer an average of 5.8 hours per month. Those who are “unhappy”? Just 0.6 hours. This is just one of the findings in The Paradox of Generosity, a new book by sociologists Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson Read More

Why It's Not a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Author: Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson

Generosity often conjures images of financial or material giving, but that’s hardly its only form. Volunteering time and talent, even spending time with neighbors and family, is just as generous. It’s a form of giving with no inherent financial obligation, but like financial giving, it carries benefits for the giver, not just the receiver. Is there any more symbiotic form of giving that genuinely enjoying another person’s company? Read More

Are Americans a Stingy Lot of People?

Author: Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson

Building on five years of research, which included a survey of more than 2,000 Americans and select in-depth interviews across the country, Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith and Ph.D. candidate Hilary Davidson take a closer look at the paradox of generosity in their book of the same name, which goes on sale this week. Read More

What Makes us Generous?

Author: Christian Smith

Why are people generous? Why are some humans much more generous than others? What factors tend to promote or inhibit generosity? It turns out that generosity makes a big difference in the quality of human personal and social life, both for the givers and receivers. So the better we understand it, the better we will be able to think about and practice it, toward greater human flourishing. Read More

The Really Big Questions: Why Do We Share?

Author: Dean Olsher

On this episode of The Really Big Questions, host Dean Olsher explores how humans may have been shaped by evolution to naturally share, donate and cooperate. On this episode of The Really Big Questions, host Dean Olsher explores how humans may have been shaped by evolution to naturally share, donate and cooperate. Read More

The Science of "Paying it Forward"

Author: Milena Zvetkova

One morning in December of 2012, at the drive-through window of a Tim Hortons coffee shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a customer paid for her order and then picked up the tab for the stranger in the car behind her in line. Then that customer paid the bill for the following customer in line — and so on, for the next 226 customers, in a three-hour sequence of spontaneous generosity. Read More

Generosity Amid Want

Author: Bina Shah

In Pakistan, poverty is not sanitized; it’s on full display. What helps save the society is a culture of giving, interwoven into the fabric of how people live and worship. The World Giving Index for 2013, compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation from Gallup polling data, reported that 38 percent of all Pakistanis donated money to charity in 2012, and that 51 percent found some way to help a stranger. For those Pakistanis with money to donate, it’s nearly impossible to decide which cause is most deserving; after all, the great mass of the population could be labeled “less fortunate.” It’s also hard to know whom to trust. Read More