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Dear Beth,

Thanks for writing about Lethal Generosity. I think this should be the Oxford phrase of the year.

We see this in governmental aid as well as in well-meaning individual donors who just want to send a pair of boots to Haiti.

We need to ask, "Who is getting the government contract to give "aid" to these people while making tons of money off of this crisis?"

And we need to ask our donors who want to send aid to somewhere in crisis,

"Is there someone in a local or neighboring community that you could pay, thereby stimulating the local economy, creating jobs, and increasing the prosperity of the region, instead of expensively sending a lot of things you have lying around, flooding the region with cheap, free or useless pieces of "foreign aid"?"

Let's stop thinking like savior supermen for a minute here and realize that regions can do a lot of their own aid, if we do a little research and work to increase their pipeline efforts.


Doug Jacquier

Hi Beth
Great concept, terrible name. I know precise language is going to hell in a handbasket but whichever way you cut it, 'lethal' means deadly. Before the term spreads too far, can you find an alternative, like 'potent' or 'telling' (the latter has that nice link to social media as a double definition).
Doug Jacquier
Connecting Up Australia

PS - A note in passing to undrmine my own case - indigenous Australians use the term 'deadly' to mean something really outstanding and in fact have The Deadlys music awards


Fascinating (although I agree that the name leaves something to be desired). I would love to see a longitudinal study that tracks the longevity and success of "lethally generous" corporations as compared to competitors, something along the lines of Jim Collins' Built to Last.

Are you up for it, Beth? Could be a seminal work if you're willing to spend the next 10 to 20 years on it.

Beth Kanter

@dhutson - what a great idea! Something of that scale would definitely require a sponsor. Have any ideas?

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