• 29 Gifts

  • How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life
  • By: Cami Walker
  • Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
  • Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (660 ratings)

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29 Gifts  By  cover art

29 Gifts

By: Cami Walker
Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
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Publisher's Summary

At age 35, Cami Walker was burdened by a battle with multiple sclerosis, a chronic neurological condition that made it difficult for her to walk, work, or enjoy her life. Seeking a remedy for her depression after being hospitalized, she received an uncommon prescription from an African medicine woman: give to others for 29 days.

29 Gifts is the insightful story of the author's life change as she embraces and reflects on the naturally reciprocal process of giving and receiving. Many of Walker's gifts were simple - a phone call, spare change, a Kleenex. Yet the acts were transformative. By day 29, not only had Walker's health and happiness improved, but she had created a worldwide giving movement.

The book also includes personal essays from others whose lives changed for the better by giving, plus pages for the reader to record their own journey. More than a memoir, 29 Gifts offers inspiring lessons on how a simple daily practice of altruism can dramatically alter your outlook on the world.

©2009 Brightside Communications, Inc. (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Walker's a plucky writer, and it's hard not to be inspired by her story." ( Boston Globe)

What listeners say about 29 Gifts

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good book but way ... I mean way to long

Didn't need to be this long . Fell asleep several times . Then wake up and couldn't remember the last thing I heard .... Just way too long

32 people found this helpful

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A Gift

Relatable, grounding, compassionate, real. Well worth the read. Highly recommended. It will change your outlook.

14 people found this helpful

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Generosity, Grace, Gratitude As States Of Being!

I generally don't have much, but compared to the rest of the world? I am definitely a "Have". The only thing is, I suffer from chronic crippling depression, and that can sometimes make life and my outlook really, really bleak.
"29 Gifts" was a truly remarkable book that changed the way I maneuver my way through life and through the world. What starts as Cami's desperate way to change her illness, turns into a full-blown movement. Here you'll witness as she goes through euphoria when things start taking a turn for the better, her confusion when life STILL throws her curve balls and low points, and her complete determination to continue when no matter what, life, her spirit, changes for the absolute best.
Giving is about a mindful communion with other people, and I, as an Oblivious Git Extraordinaire, need that reminder that I'm not alone but am here on a planet filled with people just struggling to get along, people who need a kind word, a flower, a few bucks or a cup of coffee. You'll learn to give with joy, and you'll even learn how to give when you feel scarcity in your life (probably the MOST important time to give if ever there was one!).
What I liked best about the book is when Cami feels too freaked out by life and by scarcity to continue on the silly "giving" thing but does it anyway. What a gift to those of us listening to that struggle, living it.
But the most important thing is: Giving somehow, some way, brings us closer to our gratitude for all that life and the universe have bestowed upon us. Some of us have love, some have family and friends, some have security. Some have none of the above but may have the ability to look within and think: The universe has my back; and I'm worth it.
Keep in mind that the last hour or so is not the book, actually, but is a series of stories of people who are working the gifts into their lives and have seen wondrous results, felt wondrous sensations. Also, there's a website: 29gifts.org if you want to share.
I still have chronic depression, am still on meds, but now I look at the symptoms as ways to find the cure. Loneliness and worthlessness?
Give more, share more, tell people I love them more, and for heaven's sake: Be oh so thankful!!!

10 people found this helpful

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Beautiful and inspirational

Loved every second and felt so inspired by her journey. She makes you feel part of the story - you really connect with her as a person. It was truly beautiful ❤

10 people found this helpful

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Loved it!!!

This is an awe inspiring book. I've joined the purpose and am super excited about it. A must read.

8 people found this helpful

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Not what it could be

I wanted to love this book but I can't.

What I love:
- Her description of her illness and what she believes are the causes.
- The idea that giving is an integral part of what we want our communities to be.
- Being a part of a team, showing that we all need a support network.

The items that make me have an extreme distaste:
- The narrator. I felt the narrator brought a tone of 'I'm better than you' to the text that I would not have read into the lines written on a page.
- Apparent lack of empathy. I wanted more of the 'I was overwhelmed and treated my husband horribly but he didn't deserve that terrible behavior.' I wanted her to feel his pain in losing the wife he thought he had. I wanted her to acknowledge that he has been awesome. I received the tension in the relationship but I didn't feel the compassionate healing that needed to come from true giving.
- An epilogue that is over an hour?

I love the idea of giving. I'm walking away from this book with a better idea of why we give and feel this will be the most valuable part. I'm rather disappointed and won't recommend this book to my friends.

I'm giving an overall of 3 stars because all a reader needs is to try is 29 days of giving without expecting anything in return.

I'm rating the narrator and story 1 star because I feel run over by negative emotions.

I can't finish this book because it lacks sensitivity and compassion, is read without authenticity or vulnerability, and does feel like bragging.

7 people found this helpful

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Not what you think it is.

I really thought this book was about how her life changed through the giving of these gifts. That is why I bought it. WRONG. It is about giving gifts BUT it also goes into her dealings of occultism. If I had known she was going to go there in her book I would have passed it up. The narrator did a good job so no complaints about her.

6 people found this helpful

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Nope

I don't agree with the other reviews. Not much substance and not uplifting, maybe I was expecting more based on the other reviews. As for the narrator, her narration with her normal voice was good, but her accents for the other characters was pretty bad.

5 people found this helpful

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I really wanted to like this book, but couldn't

I thought the concept was great, to give a gift each day, but I could not stick with the author as she whines and then tells all these crazy New Agey stuff. Don't waste you money.

2 people found this helpful

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A bore

I downloaded it 'cause was a daily deal. This book should have been a short story. By the 5th gift I satisfied. We all know where the book is headed. So after the 5th gift I became really really bored.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mikala
  • 11-12-22

My gift for the day

I loved this book, it has awakened my curiosity and heart. i hope thr same happens for others

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  • Danielle King
  • 08-16-21

A good reminder to give back.

An easy listen with a simple message. Would suit anyone who feels that there is something missing in their life or is looking for change.

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  • katrina
  • 10-11-22

Interesting concept behind the memoir

The concept and idea of 29 gifts for self growth and healing is brilliant and described very well in this memoir. However, the Cami Walkers honest intention of wanting to help others by sharing her experiences using 29 gifts must be appreciated and not subject to the twisting of readers who haven't experienced true altruistic intentions. This memoir situated in this offense-seeking culture, risks being interpreted as elitist and somewhat out of touch with the reality of where societies majority sit financially. Cami does express multiple times how the idea of a gift isnt about spending money, yet falls short of realising a healthy sense of self esteem and education is needed first, before thee reader may feel capable of considered a phone call, visit from them, or advice in their field, is worth being considered a gift. This doesn't change Cami Walker's goal of this memoir, a pure and honest intent to share how important the 29 gifts idea is.
By backing up her claims with this memoir, we get an emotionally vulnerable and painfully accurate telling about the far reaching struggles of chronic illness. She gives her readers the gift of a brutally honesty window into her life, and generously discusses areas that most people would be too proud to admit. By normalising and finding ways to be present and independent while living with chronic illness, Cami gives readers the best gift of all, a sense of hope and solidarity.

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  • Charles Pooter
  • 10-13-21

Mary Sue has MS

I should feel bad writing this, discovering that the author has passed on, but I'm a sticker for honesty. Being the same age and having the same disease as Walker should have had something in the book resonate within me, but no. It was a "white saviour" story, where the author is very pleased with herself for the tiniest of offerings she bestows in the "less fortunate". The author was painfully unaware of her elevated position in life, and much as she liked to refer to herself as a "writer", this blissful ignorance bled through everything she did. My favourite cringey passage described her "having a self-centred conversation with herself" during an addicts anonymous meeting. Not only was her prose incredibly clumsy, she acted as if the three dollars she put into the basket to fund the refreshments was amazing generosity and not a fortunate twist that allowed her to (gasp) not have to start from scratch in her give a gift a day goal. She completely ignored the stories her fellow addicts were sharing - but her daily mission had been saved, hooray!
All too often, the reality of incurable illness is more like her Cockney friend Ingrid's mother: a poor woman suffers through domestic violence, only to be handed the further blow of a diagnosis. Not everyone gets to surround themselves with New Age well wishers and get a book contract - they die in anonymity and agony, with no one even giving them a handful of seashells.