Adam Ruins Giving

Sep 23 2015

In the series premiere, Adam tackled the secret history of diamond engagement rings, explained why you should stop giving food pantries your leftover canned goods and much more. Below is the bibliography for the sources he used to dispel your misconceptions.


"But in 1938, DeBeers launched a massive ad campaign, claiming that the only way a real man can show his love is with a hunk of crystallized carbon."

Epstein, Edward Jay. "Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?" The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 01 Feb. 1982. Web.

"In fact, until the late 19th century, apples were exclusively used to make hard cider."

Pollan, Michael. The Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World. New York: Random House, 2001. Print.

"But the real owner of TOMS is a guy named Blake Mycoskie."

"TOMS : One for One." TOMS : One for One. TOMS Shoes, n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2015.

"It’s not common knowledge, but before Blake founded TOMS shoes, he was a reality star who appeared on The Amazing Race and Fox’s Sexiest Bachelor in America Pageant — where he gave away something more powerful than shoes: dat ass."

Costello, Amy. "TOMS Shoes: A Closer Look." Audio blog post. Tiny Spark. Tiny Spark, n.d. Web.

"One study showed that free clothing donations to Africa reduced employment in their garment industry by half." 

Frazer, Garth. "Used-Clothing Donations and Apparel Production in Africa." The Economic Journal 118.532 (2008): 1764-784. Print.

"And here’s the kicker. The shoes TOMS gives away cost them only four dollars to make."

McDonald, Patrick Range. "Is Blake Mycoskie of Toms an Evangelical?" LA Weekly [Los Angeles] 28 July 2011: n. pag. Print.

"And last year Blake sold his stake in TOMS in a deal that valued them at $600 million."

Stock, Kyle. "Bain Capital Buys Toms, Will Still Give Away Shoes." Bloomberg Business. Bloomberg, 21 Aug. 2014. Web.

"Now this wouldn’t be a problem, except that blood expires after just 42 days."

Hernandez, Raymond. "Getting Too Much of a Good Thing." The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Nov. 2001. Web.

"After September 11th prompted patriotic Americans to donate in record numbers, blood banks were forced to trash over 300,000 pints of blood. Those donations were made with the best of intentions, but they didn’t help anyone."

Starr, Douglas. "Bad Blood: The 9/11 Blood-Donation Disaster." The New Republic. The New Republic, 29 July 2002. Web.

"You should know that one in every seven Americans rely on food pantries to help them feed their families." 

United States. USDA. USDA Economic Research Report. By Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Christian Gregory, and Anita Singh. Vol. 173. Washington DC: USDA, 2014. Print.

"You know the first thing the food pantry does with all our old cans? They throw half of them out." 

United States. UW Extension. Nutrition Education Program. Keep or Toss Survey For Foods Donated To Food Pantries Summary of 2013 Survey Results. Print.

"But it is true that nearly half the food we do donate doesn’t meet basic nutritional standards."

Yglesias, Matthew. "Charities Need Your Money, Not Your Random Old Food." Slate. The Slate Group, 7 Dec. 2011. Web.

"90% of what’s collected by coat drives is recycled for scrap."

Lee, Mike. "The Truth About Where Your Donated Clothes End Up." ABC News. ABC. New York, NY, 21 Dec. 2006. ABC News. Web.

"A lot of the people who get free farm animals just sell them."

Sun, Joy. "Should You Donate Differently?" TED@NYC. New York. Lecture.

"You know what relief groups call the deluge of unneeded supplies we send to disaster areas? The second disaster."

Islam, Moin, Katherine Dolan, John Heggestuen, Alex Nordenson, and John Vande Vate. "Who Is Responsible for the “Second Disaster”?" Stanford Social Innovation Review. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Stanford University, 29 July 2013. Web.

"Soda can pull tabs: People all over America collect them for charity, which is weird because they’re totally worthless."

Mikkelson, Barbara. "Keeping Tabs." Pull Tab Redemption Rumor. Urban Legends Reference Pages, 24 Mar. 2012. Web.

For More On This Topic

GiveDirectly, a direct giving organization (see GiveWell's analysis of their charity model)

The podcast TinySpark's episode about Tom's Shoes

Watch Adam explain why donating shoes to Africa and participating in canned-food drives don't really help anyone.