Monday, December 17

Sharing Acts Of Kindness: Bloggers Unite

We purchased five books yesterday. And randomly selected five different cities. Within those cities, we chose five random addresses. And today, all five books will be packaged and placed in the mail. Five random acts of kindness.

Like messages in bottles cast out into the sea, we have no idea where they might go from there — or whether they will be read, or if they will be enjoyed, or if they will be shared as we intend — or even what their fate might be.

All we know is that somewhere in the weeks ahead, five people will each receive an anonymous gift, our random acts of kindness. And within each book, they will find an inscription that asks them to pass it along when they are done, from person to person, until the margins are filled with people who shared it.

Five books. Five cities. Five strangers.

Massachusetts. Someone in Boston will receive The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. It’s a story that reminds that reminds us that our lives are often interconnected in ways we never imagined.

Colorado. Someone in Fort Collins will receive The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. Warhol imparts a great deal of pop philosophy and little bits of wisdom on the world.

New York. Someone in Rochester will receive We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. Zamyatin’s book left a watermark on Western culture and the world, inspiring everyone from Aldous Huxley to George Orwell.

Illinois. Someone in Evanston will receive the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. It’s meant less as a statement for Taoism and more as an opportunity to share a charming and thought-provoking little book.

Arkansas. Someone in Fayetteville will receive Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman. His anecdotes add something more than an autobiography.

The inscription.

“You are receiving this book as a random act of kindness. Read it, enjoy it, inscribe it, and pass it along to someone you know so they may do the same.

Knowledge is the one gift that no one can take away. So we hope this book delivers something you are looking for, and if not, then perhaps for the next person you pass it along to. Until one day, this book may find its margins filled with the inscriptions of all those who shared it.”

Pay it forward.

The concept is not new…

“When you [...] meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro' many hands, before it meets with a Knave that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money.” — Benjamin Franklin

… just the choices we make to make the world a better place. And today, those choices have made an impact as bloggers share their “Acts Of Kindness” stories from around the world. Amazing.



Sweet Tea on 12/17/07, 11:00 AM said...

That is fantastic!! I think I may be passing along a book very soon.

Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing your kindness.

Such a great idea!!

Rich on 12/17/07, 11:27 AM said...

Thanks Jane,

We're were just talking about how interesting it would be if one day they came back. :)

Now that would be something.


Anonymous said...


What addresses did you use, and how did you get them? Or did you just send them to the city post office (hope not)?

Rich on 12/17/07, 12:20 PM said...

Hi Lewis,

We randomized by city/surname and then matched them to existing house addresses using various directories. So no, we did not send them to city post offices.

They would have ended up lost. We wanted them to have a better chance than that to get somewhere, especially because we did not include a return.


Valeria Maltoni on 12/17/07, 12:46 PM said...

I used to leave issues of Fast Company magazine left over from events (new and unused) in Starbucks or places where people met, with a note that said "please take it and enjoy" ;-)

The book giving is such a good idea! The random nature of the sharing makes it quite interesting.

Rich on 12/17/07, 3:11 PM said...

Thanks Valeria,

We've always wondered who was leaving complimentary copies of Fast Company at Starbucks ... :) I think that is a splendid example.


CyberCelt on 12/17/07, 3:20 PM said...

Great idea and one that took some work to do. I would never of been that creative.

God bless.

Rich on 12/17/07, 4:17 PM said...


What a wonderful thing to say, though you might have been. And thank yo.

Bless you too.


bjorne Lapointe on 12/17/07, 10:23 PM said...

its nice knowing there are still nice people out there. =)

Rich on 12/17/07, 11:17 PM said...

Thanks bjorne.


Ark of Hope For Children on 12/18/07, 11:50 AM said...

What a cool idea! Now what book and which addreess? hmmmmmmm

We linked to your post from ours at

Be blessed!


Rich on 12/19/07, 8:48 AM said...

Hey Blair,

Thanks so much for the contact and link. I'll be in touch soon. We'd love to lend an assist here and there.

I'd love to see your dream become a reality.

All my best,


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