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The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life
by Marshall Glickman
By Lynne Twist with Teresa Baker
305 pages, $25.95 hardcover
Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, has one of those resumes that make you wonder when she has time to cook dinner, mow the lawn, or watch a movie. In addition to raising three kids, founding or cofounding several charitable organizations, and sitting on the boards of many other prominent nonprofits, during her main career stint as a fund-raiser, she raised $150 million for the Hunger Project.
Twist's take on money is the latest addition to the looking beyond-the-bottom-line bookshelf. While this is a growing genre, the collective voices of its authors are still hard to hear against the powerfully materialistic background noise. And, while some lessons might becoming familiar, it can still be worth hearing them again as important reminders.
Ms. Twist's unique contribution is her abundance of poignant stories, which she's picked up traveling the globe in service of good causes. She had me riveted recounting her private meeting with Mother Teresa, which was interrupted by an ostentatious wealthy couple who nudged the living saint about for their photo op.
Probably the best story of all -- and one that captures the essence of The Soul of Money -- details why Twist returned a $50,000 donation from a large food conglomerate. Initially Twist accepted the check, but she felt uncomfortable: it was clear that the company wasn't really interested in the eradicating hunger, but in repairing their tarnished image after legal trouble and some negative press. After Twist left the CEO's luxury office, she flew to a fund-raiser in a church basement in Harlem. That night she raised only $500 but was inspired by a housekeeper named Gertrude. After hearing Twist's presentation, Gertrude donated $50 in hard-won, crumpled-up, small-denomination bills because she believed in the nonprofit's mission. "Money is like water," Gertrude said. "I want to pass it on in a way that does the most good for the most folks." The next day Twist returned the check from the food company with a note to the CEO explaining why. Five or six years later, after the CEO retired and received a lucrative exit package, "from his own pocket, in affirmation of his commitment, he made a personal contribution to the Hunger Project many times in excess of the $50,000 that had been returned."
The Soul of Money isn't the place to look for specific financial advice, but if you want monetary inspiration, it has plenty to offer.
-- Marshall Glickman
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