This book comes highly recommended by Margaret Atwood and Zadie Smith. It has a subtitle: how he creative spirit transforms the World.
Chapter 1 looks at folk tales about gift giving. Traditionally, gift-giving is circular. In the Kula community of New Guinea two types of gifts are passed around in different directions. For the women there is a string of red shells, while the men have a bangle made from a large white shell. Gifts are never kept because then they lose their power. The giver is the one that accrues benefit. In the Maori society the circle includes the forest; when the forest yields food than a little of what it yields is given back. This, Lewis Hyde says, is the start of ecology. Man is part, rather than lord, of his environment.