Book Review: Goodwill Tour, Paying it Forward; Keith Maginn

Goodwill Tour Book Cover


Goodwill Tour: Paying it Forward, Keith Maginn

Summary from

“In mid-July of 2011, Keith Maginn, and his friend, Emily, set off from Cincinnati, Ohio, on a 3,000-mile road-trip through several southeastern states. The pair stopped in Memphis, New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, Asheville and smaller towns in between. Goodwill Tour: Paying It Forward is a travelogue detailing a philanthropic experiment in this incredible country the two call home.

What makes their trip unique—and Maginn’s book fresh—is that sightseeing wasn’t their sole purpose. Emily and Keith were determined to spread kindness as they worked to make a difference in the lives of others along the way. They gave their own money to hand-picked strangers, who then had to pay the money forward to someone else. 

Goodwill Tour is the narrative of the places Emily and Keith visited and the people they met on their journey. It is an ode to the United States and, even more, a tribute to its people. From Beale Street to Bourbon Street and Graceland to the Biltmore Estate, from feeding the needy in downtown Charleston to brainstorming ideas with a female Buddhist monk to help abused teens and high school dropouts in North Carolina, readers will enjoy riding shotgun on the trip as they relive the experience of these life-altering events, and contemplate how people changed as a result.

Supplemented by quotes from Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, Douglas Brinkley’s The Majic Bus and Try Giving Yourself Away by David Dunn, this book satisfies two longings at once: to have a fun, interesting journey and to motivate readers to have an impact on the people around them. With so much negativity in the news and so many struggling in a beaten-down economy, the public is crying out for a feel-good, transformative book like Goodwill Tour. 

Many have driven around the country for adventure; countless others serve their community. Maginn and his friend set out to accomplish both at once. Their pay-it-forward mission will touch and inspire readers to take the trip that they’ve always dreamed of or to have a positive effect in the life of a loved one, an acquaintance, or even a complete stranger.”

Philanthropy as defined by Webster’s dictionary is “goodwill to fellow members of the human race, especially: active effort to promote human welfare; an act or gift done for humanitarian purposes; an organization distributing or supported by funds set aside for humanitarian purposes” (“Merriam-Webster Dictionary”, 2014) I believe that each of us possesses the ability to be philanthropic however few of us actively seek outlets to that inner ability.  Personally in the last eight or so years of my life I’ve tried to help the animal world by being a foster parent to homeless dogs and puppies, before that when we lived in Maryland I was active with a volunteer Fire-Rescue Department as a trained Emergency Medical Technician and Instructor to new members of the department.  While I did not nor have I given money, I did donate my home (to the animals), time and energy (the fire department), many others have actively sought out means to donate money.  Some do it as a tax deduction, while others do it for the pure joy of seeing others benefit from the gifts given out.

I’ve watched on numerous occasions the television show Secret Millionaire where an independently wealthy individual goes ‘undercover’ in communities that are run down and derelict seeking out opportunities to volunteer and give back to the community, unknown to those they are working with that they are independently wealthy individuals they learn the stories of those they work with and at the end of the week they ‘donate’ money to the people and organizations they’ve worked with – I wonder oftentimes if those millionaires are doing the program to either promote themselves and their businesses, looking for a tax write-off, or just because they want to give back after having been blessed with good fortune.  From the responses of some of those going undercover I can tell there’s been an inherent change in them after doing the community service and giving back – but at the back of my mind I always wonder…

Well Keith and Emily did more than just wonder, they took the leap of faith in both each other and the cities they visited to do what the show Secret Millionaire is trying to accomplish – they went to several cities, volunteered where they could, crashed on friends’ guest bedrooms, couches, and in hotels and found people deserving of a small donation, $200 max.  All around the Southern states they went on this journey and discovered more about themselves, the cities, and the country as a whole by placing themselves in the paths of those they worked with and donated to.  I can’t help but wish I could go on my own journey of philanthropy traveling the country in an RV camping and working when necessary, volunteering with organizations and giving back…this book took me on a virtual journey with Keith and Emily and through their eyes the reader will see the Southern states as they’ve never seen them before!

Five out of Five Stars for Goodwill Tour: Paying it Forward.

**I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review**

Embark on a Virtual Version of this Journey with Keith and Emily through their Blog: Goodwill Tour

Obtain Your Copy of this Wonderful Novella on

Visit the Author’s Website: Keith Maginn

He’s Also on Twitter and Facebook


  1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2014). Retrieved from

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Goodwill Tour, Paying it Forward; Keith Maginn

  1. Pingback: NCReaderGirl 2014 In Review My Way! | ncreadergirl

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Some (Amazing) People I know, Keith Maginn | ncreadergirl

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