World of Giving


256 pp


Columbia University GSAPP

New Museum

Lars Müller Publishers

In this important exploration of the sentiments of our time, World of Giving explains the motivations for why we give and offers examples of individuals, foundations, governments, multinationals, and NGOs assisting others. Jeffrey Inaba and C-Lab provide an understanding of the process of working toward a greater good by describing actions that build bridges between goodwill and need, intention and realization. The authors show that gifts form the foundation of all kinds of human interaction with each one establishing a unique relationship between giver and receiver. They illustrate that the gift too alters in meaning and value, detailing how it transforms as it circulates through what are at times a complex series of transactions.


In place of the pursuit of personal wealth, World of Giving presents a mindset that is based on generosity and revolves around the gesture of giving. The book argues that giving is a powerful act that gains social momentum, benefiting not just the immediate recipient but typically others as well. Acknowledging that each of us is inclined to give, this illuminating publication reveals how a beneficent deed contributes to an environment of increasing generosity in addition to enhancing the capabilities of its recipient. As a shared value, giving can grow to be a meaningful collective force that affects the world in surprising ways.


World of Giving was produced in collaboration with Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, New Museum and Lars Müller Publishers. 


Copyright 2010, Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York

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Project Team

Authors: Jeffrey Inaba, Katharine Meagher

Editor: Jason Zuzga

Designers: Daniella Spinat, Daniel Koppich

Collaborators: Kumar Atre, Talene Montgomery, Julianne Gola, Hilla Rudanko, Jeremy Alain Siegel, Day Jimenez, Liz Stetson, Cody Campanie, Anabelle Pang, Dana Karwas, Winnie Lam, Shumi Bose, April Lee, Lukas Pauer, Aurelien Gillier, Evan Litvin, Simon Battisti, Mariela Alvarez, Matthew Clarke, Andrew Shimomura, Jesse Seegers, Elizabeth Knotts