I said I would write a post regarding one favorite book a month.  Today I start that list with the first non-Bible book I clearly remember – The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (if you buy through my link, I get no money – this is just a link).


This book has the ultimate story –





a tree that gives.


Crazy, right?


A tree keeps giving all of itself to a boy as he grows up until all that is left of the tree is a stump.  Apples, branches, and the main part of the tree is given to make the boy who happy.  At the end the tree even gives it’s stump to the boy – who is now an old man – as a place to sit.  The tree is happy because it thinks it is bringing happiness to the boy.


I wish I could say that the The Giving Tree was an example we should all follow, but it seems so wrong.  We usually look at people who constantly give as unhealthy today – that there is something wrong with them.  To see someone who has given all that they have to something is seen with pity.  But maybe that is the reason we should follow the tree’s example.


One of the current trends in leadership and business right now is the idea of showing people that you are worth buying by providing value in another area and eventually they will buy your product.  Overall, I think it is a solid method to do business.  It throws aways the notion that people should just buy your product because it is good.  This is an offshoot of a much older concept called servant leadership.  The basic premise is leading by – you guessed it – serving.


The Giving Tree is a sad book with a conclusion that can be difficult to swallow.  It is not a happy ending.  It is not really a sad ending.  It is a “this is how life is” ending that echoes contentment.


It is a bit humorous that the book I have just written is titled Becoming Oaks.  Trees have played a big part in how I view life, whether it is an apple tree or an oak tree.  In my book, I concentrate on how to allow the trials of life help form you into a great oak.  If you become a great oak, be one that gives, like the giving tree.