Book Reviews

The Politics of Results & Evidence. Most read post from this summer (ICYMI)

Duncan Green - September 23, 2015

OK, Oxfam’s IT whizzes finally seem to have fixed a really frustrating problem – several thousand people who had signed up for email alerts about new FP2P posts haven’t been receiving them for the last 3 months. Many of them assumed Oxfam had finally got round to sacking me and/or I’d got fed up with blogging/gone under a bus. Sorry to disappoint – I’ve been …

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How are disasters linked to inequality? Review of ‘The Disaster Profiteers’

Duncan Green - September 18, 2015

[The IT guys tell me they’ve finally found a fix on the email notification problem. If you get an email about this post for the first time in months, please either leave a comment, or vote in the poll to the right, to tell us it’s working] Debbie Hillier, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Policy Adviser  reviews The Disaster Profiteers: How natural disasters make the rich richer and …

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Aid and Development: A Brief Introduction. Book review of handy new bluffer’s guide

Duncan Green - September 15, 2015

One of the best things about Aid and Development: A Brief Introduction, by Myles Wickstead, is the user-friendly format: a 90 page basic introduction to the aid system from World War Two to the SDGs, followed by a 65 page compendium of 20 ‘key words and concepts’ from aid effectiveness to the UN system. Another plus is the author: Myles is a charming UK government …

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Embracing Complexity – a good new book on systems thinking (and action)

Duncan Green - August 26, 2015

Jean Boulton is a regular both here on the blog and in the corridors of Oxfam. She’s a onetime theoretical physicist turned consultant, and one of her passions is complexity and systems thinking, and their implications for how organizations, including development agencies, go about their work. Now she’s teamed up with fellow lapsed physicist Peter Allen, and Cliff Bowman (a ‘theorist and practitioner of strategy’, …

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The Politics of Results and Evidence in International Development: important new book

Duncan Green - August 5, 2015

The results/value for money steamroller grinds on, with aid donors demanding more attention to measurement of impact. At first sight that’s a good thing – who could be against achieving results and knowing whether you’ve achieved them, right? Step forward Ros Eyben, Chris Roche, Irene Guijt and Cathy Shutt, who take a more sceptical look in a new book, The Politics of Results and Evidence …

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The Origins of Political Order: Review of Francis Fukuyama’s impressive history of the state

Duncan Green - July 29, 2015

Ricardo Fuentes has been raving about this book for months, so I packed it in my holiday luggage. Actually it’s two books – The Origins of Political Order takes us from pre-history up to the French Revolution/American Revolution, and the subsequent Political Order and Political Decay brings us up to the present day. They each weigh in at around 500 pages, so hope you won’t mind …

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Geek Heresy, by Kentaro Toyama: book review

Duncan Green - July 10, 2015

Guest post by Gawain Kripke, Oxfam America’s Director of Policy  I love my smart phone. It’s awesome and it makes me more awesome. I honestly think that my life is much better with it than without. It makes me a better worker – able to review documents, communicate with colleagues, keep projects moving smoothly even when I’m out of the office.   It makes me a better …

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Latest high level broadside on inequality – “In It Together…” from the OECD

Duncan Green - June 5, 2015

Guest post from Oxfam inequality researcher Daria Ukhova Last month, the OECD published a new flagship report on inequality In It Together: Why Less Inequality Benefits All, continuing a series and building on the findings of the previous reports Growing Unequal? (2008) and Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising (2011). At Oxfam since the launch of our Even It Up campaign, we have been …

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Book Review of ‘Advocacy in Conflict’ – a big attack on politics and impact of global campaigns

Duncan Green - May 8, 2015

[Oops. This was supposed to go up next Thursday when the book is published, but I hit the wrong button and posted it by mistake – blame the UK elections for keeping me up all night…..] If you work in advocacy, especially the international sort, this is a necessary but painful read – it’s hard finding yourself the brunt of a 300 page sustained critique, …

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Could the UN’s new Progress of the World’s Women provide the foundations for feminist economic policy?

Duncan Green - April 28, 2015

Yesterday I went to the London launch of UN Women’s new flagship report, Progress of the World’s Women 2015-16, in the slightly incongruous setting of the Institution of Civil Engineers – walls adorned with portraits of bewigged old patriarchs  from a (happily) bygone era (right). The report is excellent. These big multilateral publications are usually a work of synthesis, bringing together existing research rather than …

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