It is pretty frustrating to read some of the reviews on here, and the criticism directed towards this book and family elsewhere on the web.
Many Americans, including myself, love America because of the freedom with which we can live our lives here. We are not taxed to nearly the levels of most European countries and have higher home-ownership and a greater degree of meritocratic upward mobility. Everyone is free to buy what they can afford (sometimes more, but that's a different story), love who they want to love, work where they want to work, and live where they want to live.
If there were a wealthy family which you knew nothing about, and through some real estate deal they came into an extra $800,000, you wouldn't criticize them for purchasing a new yacht instead of a new jet... it's their money, so its their choice. SO WHY IS IT that so many people in favor of all the CHOICES that come with living in a democratic free-market nation like this one feel the need to criticize the choice of the Salwen family to mobilize their huge donation in Ghana, rather than in the US?
As a patriotic American, I care that people in my country are suffering from hunger, health problems they can't afford to treat, and foreclosures on their homes. As a doctor who enjoys living in the US and has no plans to move abroad, I make it a priority to do my part to help who I can, which for me sometimes involves seeking out and treaking vulnerable Americans in my community with low or no charge. HOWEVER, as a rational being, I know that any donations I make to charity (which so far, have been a pittance compared to what this family has done), will go much further if executed correctly in many other parts of the world. $800,000 used productively (ie - not just "giving out food and money" but instead creating self-sustaining programs which help folks get educated, grow food in an optimal way, and set up small businesses), can go way further in Ghana than it can in the US, where things are more expensive and the average person is way better off in absolute terms.
For the person who recommended that the Salwens donate money towards reducing the subprime burden in their own Atlanta community instead of picking out some 'random' Ghanian village, I say: (1) I would be delighted if instead of buying a yacht or a plane or keeping their mansion, they helped about 10 needy American families get back on their feet financially with $80,000 of debt forgiveness each; but (2) I am MORE delighted that they chose to make an impact that will help about 10 THOUSAND people get on their feet. People are people - no matter what patriotic way you slice it, helping a thousand Ghanians is more impactful than helping out one American. When you have little prior information about the person you're directing your philanthropy towards, why not donate where your money goes the furthest and can in fact be transformative?
Not that I have the authority to praise or criticize their decision in the first place... it's THEIR MONEY after all.
PS. The book is decently written and readable, not a masterpiece of literature... But I gave it five stars for the IDEA behind it and the hope that it will inspire many. Has definitely inspired me.