Preface

Before you set out on a journey, it is always a good idea to have some idea of where you have come from and where you are going.

We three authors come from sharing the joy of writing a previous book, The Cycle of the Gift: Family Wealth and Wisdom (Bloomberg, 2013). That book was directed primarily to givers within families with wealth, inviting them to a process of self-reflection and self-understanding. One of its clearest messages was that all of us within the world of family wealth—wealth creators, spouses, siblings, and advisers—need to attend much more closely to the recipients of these gifts, to their dreams, their development, and their resilience.

The reception of The Cycle of the Gift only added to the pleasure we felt in writing it. One participant in a meeting we convened in New England expressed what we had hoped would come from that book better than we ever could: “I received a copy of it as a gift from my adviser,” he said. “I read it, and I immediately gave a copy to my mother.” He went on: “Once she had read it, she sent copies to my three siblings. Reading it prompted a wonderful family meeting, such as we had never had before.” Besides gratifying our all-too-human authorial egos, this response showed the cycle of the gift in action. It captured our dream that our book would bring families together to give and receive true gifts of spirit and not just transfers.

Still, while emphasizing the need to understand recipients, The Cycle of the Gift was addressed ...

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