Giving It All Away… and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously by David Green

Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously by David Green

David Green believes that generosity and building a legacy based on giving can lead to getting back what you really want: a family that stays together, prays together, and shares life joyfully.

Green tells the story of caring for the small things and starting Hobby Lobby in their garage. He shares the difference between the worlds of “having and hoarding” and a world of “giving and generosity,” the principle of working for God and not for men, and that now is not too soon to consider what you want your legacy to be.

As proof of how living by those principles can change your life, Green shares that when Hobby Lobby came close to bankruptcy in 1986 and when the Supreme Court challenged the Hobby Lobby’s right to life beliefs in 2014, the company emerged with its integrity intact.

Green sees the life of giving as a life of adventure. But it’s a life that pays the best rewards personally, offers a powerful legacy to your family, and changes those you touch.

Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living GenerouslyGiving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously by David Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was informative and inspiring, a great book to start out with in the New Year. I love hearing about how companies are born and the personal experiences behind them. David Green did a great job writing about how the ups and downs of life shaped him and it’s a quick, easy read. The main points included the beginnings of Hobby Lobby, the infamous lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, how to approach getting affairs in order in a more pragmatic sense, and his spiritual journey. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes biographies, is an early entrepreneur, wants to learn more about someone else’s experience with philanthropy, or is seeking insight into how to live a life that brings joy to other people through giving.

The basic premise of the book is giving it all away and getting it all back again in material and non-material ways and I appreciated the examples that were sprinkled throughout. I would have liked to have read more about the emotional connection behind them. I wasn’t keen over the way it was written in non-chronological form. It wasn’t a linear timeline of events and frequently referenced back to progressive court hearings, meetings, and childhood/early business nostalgia, which I found mildly distracting. As a result, I felt it lacked a bit of focus and orderly progression.

As far as content goes, I enjoyed learning about his walk with God, the details of the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision, and the discussions about leaving a legacy, family vision, generational handoff, family trusts, along with bits about legal structure and consideration of tax code implications. I really enjoyed reading about his childhood memories, early business days when they sold frames out of his garage, and approach to entrepreneurship.

I would have liked to have seen more celebration of spiritual and personal growth instead what I felt were references to past accomplishments, poor decision-making, and failures as an almost acute on chronic discord with God which I thought was sort of difficult for me to understand and relate to. However I understand everyone’s journey and perspective is different. It’s not always easy to reflect personal circumstances and reactions in writing and I did appreciate the candidness he brought into the discussions in the first place.


“Many are the plans of a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” -Proverbs 19:21

“Achievement comes to someone when he is able to do great things for himself. Success comes when he develops leaders to do great things for him. But a legacy is created only when a person puts his organization into the position to do great things without him.” -John C. Maxwell, The Twenty-one Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

“A legacy of true value is a legacy made of more than money. It’s a legacy conceived in wisdom, nurtured by principle, and sustained by character.” -David Green

“…he could finally give himself to emotions that he had held in check all during his early life.” -David Green

“For it is in giving that we receive.” -St. Francis

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.” -C.S. Lewis

“… benefits of hardship.” -David Green

“Why is it that I always get a whole person when all I want is a pair of hands?” -Henry Ford

“They will care about our business only to the extent that we care about their overall welfare.” -David Green

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” -John Bunyan

“We give with joy in our hearts. We give out of our humble circumstances. We give out of our wealth.” -David Green

“It’s not how much we give but how much we put into giving.” -Mother Teresa

“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.” -The Teacher, The Book of Proverbs

“We want to be part of a new generation of givers.” -David Green

“The wealth we create is like a bonfire. If controlled, it can warm our families. If allowed to spread wildly, it can devastate.” -David Green

“Stewarship responsibility.” -David Green

“I try to approach every day with hands that are open, not grasping.” -David Green

“Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“… too many people think life is basically an oversized game of Monopoly, where the way to win is to accumulate as many properties as you can, either by purchasing outright or by clever trading with your opponents. Then you keep adding houses and hotels, extracting rent from others, until you eventually drive them to bankruptcy. You sit back, rub your hands together, and start counting your stacks of cash. No, life is more like Uno or Crazy Eights, where the point is to run out of cards first. You want to deploy every card you have, knowing that each card left in your hand at the end counts against you. Don’t get stuck at the time of your funeral with leftover cards.” -David Green

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<span class="uppercase">Hello, I'm Erica </span>
Hello, I’m Erica

Recipe developer, book reviewer, and artist. Expect delicious recipes both traditional and new, book reviews of all sorts of genres, a variety of creative expression, life musings, and much more!


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