The Book

A re-framing of an age old idea

On sale January 23rd, 2024, this inspiring book from the Head of TED, Chris Anderson, is both a guide and a blueprint to Infectious Generosity’s potential to become a global movement.

The Infectious Generosity book
Simple, ordinary, unremarkable human kindness now has the potential to ripple outward like never before.

Acts of generosity, no matter how small or life-changing, can impact the lives of millions as they're seen and shared online.

Uncover the inspiration and tools needed to fill the world with generous acts.

The Infectious Generosity book
Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

A joyful road map away from a polarized, selfish society to the hopeful, humane place where we should be.

An inspiring, timely book about ways to bring out the best in people rather than focusing on the worst. We are living in an age of monetized anger, writes Anderson, who’s helped launch more than 100 magazines. If we don’t change course soon, the disease will be terminal. Thankfully, the author offers a remarkably straightforward remedy: Think less about commerce and more about simple, grassroots generosity. As the head of the TED organization, Anderson has lived the idea, bringing interesting and useful ideas to millions of people for free. In this uplifting book, the author examines how social media has become a maze of algorithms designed to glue people to screens in a fog of simmering resentment, unwilling to even talk to strangers, let alone help them. Yet signs of change do exist, and Anderson recounts stories of people acting generously—the hairdresser who started to give free cuts to homeless people or the anonymous donors who distributed substantial grants to help good causes. Video records of these incidents and many similar ones were circulated online; in numerous cases, people who watched them were inspired to become generous themselves, volunteering at or making a donation to a worthy organization. Anderson sees this pattern as proof that social media can be a positive force—and that many people want to be generous. He cites research showing that those who perform real-world generous acts are happier than self-centered people who live online. “Whether our collective future is a good one or not depends largely on whether the majority of people give more to the world than they take from it,” he writes, continuing, “Generosity is a key ingredient for a contented life.”‍

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Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

A joyful road map away from a polarized, selfish society to the hopeful, humane place where we should be.

An inspiring, timely book about ways to bring out the best in people rather than focusing on the worst. We are living in an age of monetized anger, writes Anderson, who’s helped launch more than 100 magazines. If we don’t change course soon, the disease will be terminal. Thankfully, the author offers a remarkably straightforward remedy: Think less about commerce and more about simple, grassroots generosity. As the head of the TED organization, Anderson has lived the idea, bringing interesting and useful ideas to millions of people for free. In this uplifting book, the author examines how social media has become a maze of algorithms designed to glue people to screens in a fog of simmering resentment, unwilling to even talk to strangers, let alone help them. Yet signs of change do exist, and Anderson recounts stories of people acting generously—the hairdresser who started to give free cuts to homeless people or the anonymous donors who distributed substantial grants to help good causes. Video records of these incidents and many similar ones were circulated online; in numerous cases, people who watched them were inspired to become generous themselves, volunteering at or making a donation to a worthy organization. Anderson sees this pattern as proof that social media can be a positive force—and that many people want to be generous. He cites research showing that those who perform real-world generous acts are happier than self-centered people who live online. “Whether our collective future is a good one or not depends largely on whether the majority of people give more to the world than they take from it,” he writes, continuing, “Generosity is a key ingredient for a contented life.”‍

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Infectious generosity has the potential to radically change the world.

Rutger Bregman
Historian and author of Humankind & Utopia for Realists

This book was a much-needed gift to my weary and news-battered heart.

Elizabeth Gilbert
Bestselling author of Eat Pray Love

This book is a masterpiece, and an important one.

Andrew Solomon
Award winning Author, Professor & Activist

A beautiful book - lucid, warm, intelligent, and persuasive

Steven Pinker
Author and Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

Concise and profound.

Alain Du Botton
Author & Founder of The School Of Life
Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

A joyful road map away from a polarized, selfish society to the hopeful, humane place where we should be.

An inspiring, timely book about ways to bring out the best in people rather than focusing on the worst. We are living in an age of monetized anger, writes Anderson, who’s helped launch more than 100 magazines. If we don’t change course soon, the disease will be terminal. Thankfully, the author offers a remarkably straightforward remedy: Think less about commerce and more about simple, grassroots generosity. As the head of the TED organization, Anderson has lived the idea, bringing interesting and useful ideas to millions of people for free. In this uplifting book, the author examines how social media has become a maze of algorithms designed to glue people to screens in a fog of simmering resentment, unwilling to even talk to strangers, let alone help them. Yet signs of change do exist, and Anderson recounts stories of people acting generously—the hairdresser who started to give free cuts to homeless people or the anonymous donors who distributed substantial grants to help good causes. Video records of these incidents and many similar ones were circulated online; in numerous cases, people who watched them were inspired to become generous themselves, volunteering at or making a donation to a worthy organization. Anderson sees this pattern as proof that social media can be a positive force—and that many people want to be generous. He cites research showing that those who perform real-world generous acts are happier than self-centered people who live online. “Whether our collective future is a good one or not depends largely on whether the majority of people give more to the world than they take from it,” he writes, continuing, “Generosity is a key ingredient for a contented life.”‍

Read more
Chevron left icon
Chevron right icon
Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

A joyful road map away from a polarized, selfish society to the hopeful, humane place where we should be.

An inspiring, timely book about ways to bring out the best in people rather than focusing on the worst. We are living in an age of monetized anger, writes Anderson, who’s helped launch more than 100 magazines. If we don’t change course soon, the disease will be terminal. Thankfully, the author offers a remarkably straightforward remedy: Think less about commerce and more about simple, grassroots generosity. As the head of the TED organization, Anderson has lived the idea, bringing interesting and useful ideas to millions of people for free. In this uplifting book, the author examines how social media has become a maze of algorithms designed to glue people to screens in a fog of simmering resentment, unwilling to even talk to strangers, let alone help them. Yet signs of change do exist, and Anderson recounts stories of people acting generously—the hairdresser who started to give free cuts to homeless people or the anonymous donors who distributed substantial grants to help good causes. Video records of these incidents and many similar ones were circulated online; in numerous cases, people who watched them were inspired to become generous themselves, volunteering at or making a donation to a worthy organization. Anderson sees this pattern as proof that social media can be a positive force—and that many people want to be generous. He cites research showing that those who perform real-world generous acts are happier than self-centered people who live online. “Whether our collective future is a good one or not depends largely on whether the majority of people give more to the world than they take from it,” he writes, continuing, “Generosity is a key ingredient for a contented life.”‍

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The people who are generous are the people who will come to enjoy the deepest happiness.
Chris Anderson, Infectious Generosity
Headshot of Chris Anderson
Barry Schwartz
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
William Kamkwamba
Elizabeth Gilbert

Chris Anderson has been Head of Ted for 20 years and has taken the company from a small, exclusive conference to a global phenomenon that reaches millions of people through its iconic TED Talks.

A visionary leader, Time magazine named him one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World."

His tenure at TED has given him a ringside view of the world's most significant thinkers sharing their boldest ideas across every imaginable discipline.

And there's a single theme that stands out in his mind as the essential connecting thread: Generosity.

He's seen first hand the overlooked traits that lie deep inside every human, combining and creating chain reactions and world-changing impact. The Infectious Generosity book tells the story and inspiration.

What's inside

Part one

Why Infectious Generosity's time has come...

The Internet is being reclaimed as an amplifier of kindness. The powerful seeds of generosity inside every human are, for the first time in history, spreading fast and far. Kindness, camera phones and share buttons are changing the world. But how?

Drawing of a person giving a gift to a second person, who is thinking of giving them a gift back.
Part Two

The part you can play...

We can be generous with or without giving money. We can share time, knowledge, attention, skills, and more. And if we do give money, we can hugely amplify its impact.

Learning to cultivate a generous mindset, and the tools we can use to turn our generosity viral opens up endless ways of giving that can turn into something much bigger. What if we put generosity at the center of all things?

Drawing of a rocket being built with boosters named Collaboration, Creativity, Courage, Emotion, and Amplification.
Part Three

What if...

Generosity is intrinsic to us as individuals. What if the same were true of our society as a whole, the infinite village?

Imagine a world embedded with Infectious Generosity. Change-makers, industries, companies, and countries could all be transformed.
The pledge of generosity is a simple commitment for everyone to follow and a marker for progress and accountability every year.

Drawing showing checks being written. The checks are written out to "Creative Enchantment", "My Individual Attention", "Everything I Know", and "My Contact List".

The story of Amy Wolff

How a single person, without any expert or insider knowledge, can spark a powerful campaign of infectious generosity.

Portrait photo of Amy Wolff
The Wolff family in the garden surrounded by affirming messages on signs

In the spring of 2017, Amy Wolff heard about the suicide rates of young people in her town of Newberg, Oregon. The statistics were staggering, and she felt shocked and hopeless.

I was subbornly determined to do something, and not be apathetic and wait for someone else. I had visions of these yard signs that said Don't Give Up.

So she did it.

A sign in a garden saying "Don't give up" in bold lettering

Local social media channels blew up.

Newberg locals wanted signs in their yard too. Before long, it became a global movment, with sign orders coming from all states and 24 countries around the world.

Social post with "You are not alone" sign

Amy's is not the only generous idea that became infectious

Mundano

Street artist, Mundano, painted 200 carroças (trash carts) to bring visibility to the catadores (trash collectors) wheeling them through the streets of São Paulo

A #PimpMyCarroça movement began. 1,000 donors and 800 volunteers provided funds and healthcare for catadores across Brazil.

Sir Captain Tom Moore

At 99 years old, Sir Captain Tom Moore set off to walk 100 laps of his garden to raise money for the England’s National Health Service

His courage went viral and by the time he crossed the finish line the public had donated £32 million #WalkWithTom

BTS Army

Korean band BTS and their fans, known as ‘BTS Army’, collaborate around their shared commitment to alleviate suffering.

After the band’s $1m donation to Black Lives Matter, BTS Army matched it in just 24 hours #MatchAMillion

Gomi Hiroi Samurai

Goto Ikki, Keisuke & Kaz Kobayashi pick up trash. But theatrically and dressed as Samurai.

Thanks to social media fame, there’s now an army of #GomiHiroiSamurai across Japan

Joshua Coombes

Joshua Coombes traveled the world offering haircuts to homeless people to share their underheard stories

His #DoSomethingForNothing philosophy has turned in to 150,000 person social movement

Matthew Burrows

Matthew Burrows enabled artists to support each other by pledging to buy another artist’s work for £200, when their own sales hit £1,000

His #ArtistsSuportPledge campaign has raised £70,000,000 for artists around the world

John Sweeney

John Sweeney reinvented an italian tradition and used social media to inspire coffee lovers to buy an extra one to pass on to a stranger.

#SuspendedCoffee is now promoted by 2,000 cafes in 34 countries

Catherine Barrett

Inspired by a box of tissues and a note reading “Please take if needed”, Dr Catherine Barret had a simple idea to spread kindness during the pandemic.

The #KindnessPandemic Facebook Group now has over half a million people doing exactly that.

Drawing of a person placing a wrapped gift into a wagon marked "The Internet" Out of the back of the wagon are flying many more gifts, sparkles, hearts, and ideas.

When we allow, enable and encourage generosity to flow through the Internet,  everything changes

AI Guru

Meet TIGG, your partner in kind

The Infectious Generosity Guru, aka TIGG combines the ideas and ambitions of Infectious Generosity with the power of AI to help you help others.

Find out more