Topic: Book Reviews

Book Review: Great Policy Successes, Mallory E. Compton and Paul T. Hart (eds)

Stop Press: Please take the new FP2P reader survey – we really need your feedback to get new ideas and keep on improving! 2 minutes max (honest). Loved the idea of this Open Access book from the moment I saw the subtitle: ‘Or, A Tale About Why It’s Amazing That Governments Get So Little Credit […]

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Audio summary (13m) of FP2P posts on aid and development, w/b 11th November

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Book Review: Branko Milanovic, Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System that Rules the World

I wrote this before interviewing Branko for yesterday’s podcast, but thought I’d put it up anyway as a companion piece Full disclosure, I am a huge fan of Branko Milanovic, both because of his brilliant analysis of inequality (think Elephant Graph), but also because of his style – a formidable old-school Serbian public intellectual, never […]

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Inequality and the future of Capitalism: in Conversation with Branko Milanovic

I recently sat down with inequality guru Branko Milanovic to discuss his path-breaking work on inequality, and his new book, Capitalism Alone (review follows tomorrow). Here are a few highlights of the 25m conversation (but if you can, listen to the full thing). Inequality: I was not a guru [in the early 2000s], just someone […]

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The Randomistas just won the Nobel Economics prize. Here’s why RCTs aren’t a magic bullet.

Lant Pritchett once likened Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) to flared jeans. On the way out and soon we’d be wondering what on earth we’d seen in them. Not so fast. Yesterday, three of the leading ‘Randomistas’ won the Nobel economics prize (before the pedants jump in, strictly speaking it’s the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic […]

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No one is objective about poverty: here’s why that matters

Eric Meade consults to nonprofits, foundations, and NGOs and teaches at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC. His book, Reframing Poverty: New Thinking and Feeling About Humanity’s Greatest Challenge, invites readers to explore how their emotions about poverty shape their responses to it. We do not like to see other humans suffer. […]

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Naomi Hossain on The Politics of Education in Developing Countries: From Schooling to Learning

I recently caught up with the brilliant Naomi Hossain to discuss her latest book, edited with Sam Hickey, on educational reform in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda . Open Access version available here. Do listen to the full 25m chat, but here’s some transcribed highlights for the time-starved. We wanted to look […]

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When democracies die, they die quietly… but what’s the role of Civil Society?

Save the Children’s José Manuel Roche has a book he wants you to read. So, it turns out that nowadays democracy seldom dies through violent coup d’état. More commonly (and insidiously), democracy slides gradually into authoritarianism.  By the same token, democracy survives when democratic leaders fight for it.  This is part of the main thesis […]

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Two new Manuals for Activists, with some useful lessons

I’ve been taking advantage of the summer lull to skim some of the backlog of tomes that have accumulated on my study floor. Some were so bad and/or obscure that they really don’t deserve a mention, but two on activism got my attention. First up, Be the Change by Gina Martin. Full disclosure, I bought […]

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How Change Happens: the podcast

I spoke to Jo Howard from IDS about How Change Happens for their book podcast Between the Lines. Here it is: With podcasts, I always try to provide a blog-length set of excerpts for people who prefer reading to listening, but I honestly couldn’t bear to listen to myself this time. So huge thanks to […]

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Book Review: Civic Activism Unleashed: New Hope or False Dawn for Democracy? by Richard Youngs

This book promised a lot, but only partially delivered. There’s enough substance there to warrant a read, though. The book’s starting point is an upsurge in ‘new activism’ around the world. Robert Putnam’s anomic world of lonely people ‘Bowling Alone’ is looking pretty silly right now. The new activism is very different from the professionalized […]

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Book Review: The Business of Changing the World, by Raj Kumar

I found reading The Business of Changing the World rather disturbing – a bit like being taken hostage by a cult and submitted to polite but persistent brainwashing for several days (I’m a slow reader). The cult in question is what Anand Giridharadas calls ‘MarketWorld’ – an effusive, evangelical belief in the power of markets, […]

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