One family’s journey to downsize their lives and give half of their profits to worthy charities transports them across the globe and well out of their comfort zone.
It all started when fourteen-year old Hannah Salwen had a “eureka” moment. Seeing a homeless man in her neighborhood at the precise second a glistening Mercedes coupe pulled up, she said “You know, Dad, if that man had a less nice car, that man there could have a meal.”
Until that day, the Salwens had been caught up like so many of us in the classic American dream—providing a good life for their children, accumulating more and more stuff, doing their part but not really feeling it. So when Hannah was stopped in her tracks by this glaring disparity, her parents knew they had to act on her urge to do something. As a family, they made the extraordinary decision to sell their Atlanta mansion, downsize to a house half its size, and give half of the sale price to a worthy charity. What began as an outlandish scheme became a remarkable journey that transported them across the globe and well out of their comfort zone. In the end they learned that they had the power to change a little corner of the world—and they found themselves changing, too.
"We often say that young people must not let themselves be infected by the cynicism of their elders. Hannah inoculated her family with the vision to dream a different world and the courage to help create it."
—Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu and the Rev. Mpho Tutu
"The Salwens set a new standard for families and individuals seeking to inject meaning into their lives. What does your family stand for? Read this book - it will change your life."
—Daniel H. Pink, author of A WHOLE NEW MIND and DRIVE
"Crazy, impetuous and utterly inspiring.... The Salwens offer an example of a family that came together to make a difference - for themselves as much as the people they were trying to help."
—Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times
"Mixing humor, inspiration, and self-reflection, THE POWER OF HALF will give you a whole new perspective on your life. You can't help but recommit to the values you want to share with your children. And you'll be reminded that your kids have much to teach you, too."
—Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor (with Randy Pausch) of THE LAST LECTURE and author of THE GIRLS FROM AMES
"Give it up for the Salwen family.... You feel lighter reading this book, as if the heavy weight of house and car and appliances, the need to collect these things to feel safe as a family, are lifted and replaced by something that makes much more sense."
—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
"Hannah inspires every one of her readers to ask, 'What can I do to help?' An adventure with a conscience. Brava!"
—Susanne B. Beck, executive director, National Coalition of Girls' Schools
The Salwens' "book, soaring in idealism and yet grounded in realism, can show Americans of any means how best to give back."
—Lisa Bonos, The Washington Post,
"Hannah, you rock!"
—Ann Curry, The Today Show
"Americans are the world's most generous people, but, as THE POWER OF HALF shows, the Salwen family is lifting hearts in a new way. Who knew Siddartha lived in the suburbs, Mother Teresa wore volleyball kneepads, and the Buddha could emerge from his dream at a traffic light: When the heart is full, give half."
—Michael Capuzzo, author, CLOSE TO SHORE and THE MURDER ROOM
"THE POWER OF HALF is a story of generosity become realized - a family's unpretentious, morally introspective life becomes a fulfillment of an old ethical and spiritual imperative: that in giving we receive."
—Dr. Robert Coles,
"THE POWER OF HALF proves so much about leadership. Most importantly, that leadership comes in all ages, as long as there is a decision made to let it out and foster it. Hannah and her family inspire me."
—Alicia Mandel, VP, Organizational Development, Apollo Group and former Director, Olympic University, USOC
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