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Doing Good Works Cover

Terrific book! Very motivating and inspirational,, and has already shown me ways of correcting somethings I've done wrong (especially one very important and recently, and I fully agree with your view after a moment of consideration), and also has reinforced so many of my own ways of thinking and actions toward others. Toward the end of the book you and Sean stated "A few readers may even find that our discussions resonate with their personal patterns of thinking." It surely did for me,, more than I ever thought it would,, but it also allowed me to see and learn much more, with a much broader picture.

Just so you know, I haven't read ANY self-help or inspirational books on your list, or otherwise, so I honestly don't know how your book fits in with any of those. Although I can say, your book seems like a perfect well written "down to earth" practical book for anyone from the "average Joe" to the biggest celebrity,, bar none. I plan to read more of the "suggested reading" list, thanks.

After many years of seeing other people and the world in general in a more negative light and a more hum-drum outlook of the future, I now see hope, happiness, purpose, and inspiration. You have already changed my outlook and my world! - Mike from Des Plaines, IL

Excerpts from "Doing Good Works!"

Chapter 1

Do you think it’s possible to change the world? Do you
think you have the ability to change the world? How
about someone you know? Do you think anyone you
know has what it takes? The great educator Horace
Mann once urged everyone to “Be ashamed to die until you
have won some victory for humanity.” Some people find this
idea to be inspirational. Most people I have talked to about
this quote see it as quite intimidating, even overwhelming.
That is probably because they are assuming that the victory
must be a massive victory, something that will be recorded
in history books.

However, Mann doesn’t indicate the scope of the victory.
He merely says “some victory.” What kind of victory can you
win for humanity? Can you invent something to help people
with physical limitations? Can you lead peace efforts between
two warring countries? Any major accomplishment in history
was once nothing more than a dream in the mind of a
human being just like you. However, if neither inventing nor
diplomacy is your speed, how about raising your kids to be
decent, compassionate citizens? How about creating something
that can inspire a few people to live better lives? Serving a
meal to the homeless or taking care of abandoned animals is
a wonderful victory for the forces of good. So is simply being
the best person you can be.

Chapter 2

You and your world are one. Th is is one of the most fundamental
truths, but also one of the most overlooked.
Most people seem to think of the world as something
that happens “out there.” Sorry to break it to you, but
you are the world, and the world is you. You aff ect the world
every day, and it aff ects you every day. We can’t avoid this, so
let’s quit trying. Even if you decided to stay in your home to
avoid the world, your absence would aff ect the world in many
ways. People would come looking for you to fi nd out what
was going on.

You are (at least partially) a product of your world, and it
is (at least partially) a product of you. Th e “nature vs. nurture”
debate does not even begin to interfere with this observation,
because both nature and nurture are part of the world at large.
Th erefore, whether you think you are more a product of your
genetics or your upbringing, those are both parts of this thing
we call “the world.” Your genetic line is part of the world. Your
parents, your friends, your schools, and your experiences are
all parts of the world. The world contributed to making you
who and what you are. Conversely, the world has a bit of you
in it: the job you do, the school you attend, and the people and
animals you interact with are all affected by you.

Chapter 3



You become like those people you allow to surround you.
Pessimists have a tendency to mislabel themselves. They
often say, “I’m not a pessimist. I’m a realist!” However, it is
certainly possible to be unrealistically pessimistic. If you
catch yourself saying or thinking, “Th is always goes wrong,”
or referring to “Murphy’s law” (“Anything that can possibly
go wrong probably will“), then you are starting to slip into
the unrealistically pessimistic category. I don’t know just who
Murphy was, but I don’t remember studying his so-called “law”
alongside the works of Sir Isaac Newton. Yet people quote Murphy
as though his ideas were as reliable as the laws of physics.
Just calling something a “law” does not mean that it is
correct. People quote and misquote a lot of goofy or harmful
statements as though they are true, apparently giving them
credence just because they were written down somewhere
(especially if they were written long ago). Many of the folks
who say, “You can’t believe everything you read” support pessimistic
notions by quoting sarcastic sayings that they read on
posters in gift shops or on signs at offi ce desks. They choose to
believe things that support their dysfunctional perspectives,
even if it means quoting from silly sources. These types of folk
rarely follow their own advice.

Chapter 4



The Web has created an entirely new world of bartering
that is fast, efficient, and usually pretty safe (if the right precautions
are taken). The Web is a great way to get the message out
there when you want to barter. For instance, I have a friend
who needed a cell phone—nothing fancy or even new, just one
that worked. He placed an ad and exchanged a few e-mails. In
no time, he found a guy who had just decided to upgrade his
phone and still had the old one, which was in good condition.
He needed to get his brakes fixed. My buddy had replaced
brakes before, so that was no problem. Within a day or two,
my friend had his phone, his new friend had new brakes, and
they were both happy campers. The barter system is a great
way to enrich your life and to develop win-win thinking.
Practical win-wins don’t have to be based on barter only.
There is nothing wrong with charging money for your goods or
Services. In fact, some customers would prefer the convenience
of just giving you cash rather than time or goods. Money is not
evil. It’s just not the answer to everything. Cash works very well
in certain ways. Many would agree that the key to win-wins
with money is simply to approach the exchange ethically. If
my friend had gotten a really good deal on the cell phone in a
store rather than working on car brakes, he would have been
reasonably happy with that as well.



Chapter 5

Perhaps the same goofball who came up with the idea that
someone always has to lose had something to do with
the ridiculous notion that the pursuit of money forces
you to live a life of selfishness and sin. I don’t want to
get into a religious debate here. You can decide what works
best for you in that arena. Let’s just leave it with the fact that
money is a tool. Money is just like a hammer. It can be used
to build a house for a person without shelter, or it can be used
to bash in a window.

The question is not whether you should be rich or poor. The
question is: “Are you a builder or a basher?” Are you going to
use money to help yourself and others in healthy ways, or are
you going to squander your money on self-indulgence? It is all
about finding a balance. It makes no sense to collect a million
hammers just to let them sit and rot in a barn, never being put
to use. Likewise, it makes no sense to collect a million dollars
just to let them sit and rot in a bank, never being put to use.

Chapter 6


Listening is one of the most important things you can do to
improve your life and the lives of others. Unfortunately,
it is a rare and under-developed skill these days. There
are several reasons why listening is so important. Lack
of communication is usually the greatest problem in relationships,
the workplace, schools, and in global diplomacy. This
may be because most people associate communication only
with sending out clear messages. Receiving and processing
information is fifty percent of communication. It is not enough
to say what you have to say. That kind of thinking is what
leads to people merely shouting over each other. Perhaps this
is the main difference between a discussion and a fight. A
discussion should be an open exchange of ideas in a give-and take
relationship, whereas a fight degenerates into a situation
where everyone is yelling and no one is listening. If you do
not understand someone’s point, or someone confuses you,
it is usually at least partially your fault for not listening or
asking questions.

Chapter 7:
Enjoy Giving and Receiving

Time: Time is a resource. You are here for only so long.
What will you do with your time? Will you squander your time
on mere self-indulgence, or will you balance your time between
productive work and relaxation, helping yourself and helping
others? I don’t know about you, but when I am honest with
myself, I have to admit that I am much more stingy with my
time than I am with my money. I haven’t cut my own grass for
years. It’s not because I’m lazy or unable to do it. It’s because
enjoying my days off is worth $25 to me. Just as different people
have different amounts of money they are willing to contribute,
they also have different amounts of time to contribute.

More Good Stuff

In one minute or less…

Do something to leave every place you visit a little bit
better than the way you found it.

• Pick up a piece of trash and throw it away. If everyone
did this once per day, litter would no longer be much of
a problem.
• Turn off the water when you brush your teeth. This saves
more water than you may think.
• Extinguish and properly dispose of your cigarette butts
if you smoke. Cigarette butts are litter, just like other
• When you choose to do something, make a decision to
do it to the best of your ability. It only takes one moment
to make a decision.
• Tell someone special how you feel about them. This is
more powerful than you may think.
• Hold the door for someone. Chivalry is not dead—it’s
just not doing too well these days. We can bring it back
from the brink. Showing basic manners can restore hope
in humanity for those who observe. 

In five minutes or less…

• Stretch your muscles for five minutes.
• Breathe deeply and relax your mind for five minutes.
• Drop used toys in a “Toys for Tots” bin or other donation
drop site.
• Send a friendly e-mail to someone in another country.
Remember that we all share the same world. If all nations
had citizens who were close friends, many conflicts would
be avoided.
• Set up an emergency code word and a safe word for your
family. A code word is a word that you all use to communicate
that an emergency is in progress and immediate
help is needed. A safe word is created so that children know
that they can trust someone you have sent for them.
• If you find an umbrella that someone has left behind,
carry it with you as a spare to give to someone in the rain
who does not have an umbrella.
• Ask a cultural question of someone from another country.
This shows that you care about other cultures enough to
want to learn about them.
• Always try to be a good guest.
• Don’t go to a party empty-handed.

For $5 or less…

• Pay someone’s bus or train fare. You can just give the
driver extra money and ask him or her to apply it to the
next riders.
• Give a cab driver an extra $5 to put toward the next
person’s fare with a simple message like: “Have a great
• Send a random person a $5 gift card anonymously.
• Buy and use reusable grocery bags.
• Buy an inexpensive but thoughtful present for someone
for no reason.
• Buy a few extra cards for occasions that you know will
come up eventually.
• Buy a few extra “occasion cards” for friends who tend to
forget to send cards.