Editor’s note: I ordered the book after reading a review and was stunned by its size on arrival. Still I bravely dove in and found it surprisingly easy to read. It is now the most important book I’ve read on the topic because it broadly describes giving done both very well and very poorly. Vellely describes the causes and effects of each approach to philanthropy over time - from philosophers to religious and government; from monks to robber-barrons to current tech giants. His well-known religious and political (and British) bias comes through and still the journalist and historian in Vellely made this book well worth my time.