Topic: Book Reviews

Three top books on Innovation: what lessons for development agencies?

So since we are always being told to be more innovative (has anyone ever asked you to be less innovative?) I thought I’d see what some innovation gurus have to say. I could pretend this is part of my New Year’s Resolution to read more books and fewer papers, but I’d be lying– I read […]

Read More »

Why seasonality is back and that's a good thing

A Welsh friend of mine once came back home after a long stint in Nicaragua. A mate picked him up at the airport and on the long drive back to Cardiff, Alun turned to him and asked ‘so, how’s the harvest been this year?’ His friend looked at him as if he’d gone mad. Which […]

Read More »

Science and the Crisis of Uncertainty: Book Review of 'The Blind Spot'

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to read more books and fewer papers – books often push authors deeper, forcing them to identify and develop their underlying assumptions and ideas, whereas papers (whether single or in edited volumes pretending to be books) are often a rehash of their existing thinking, garnished with a dollop of […]

Read More »

Delivering Development: Book Review of a study on 'globalization's shoreline'

In ‘Whose Reality Counts’, Robert Chambers caricatures a typical successful career path in development as ‘tying down, moving inwards and moving upwards’. ‘In rural development, professionals gain direct field experience only early in a career if at all’. After the year in an African village (PhD, living with the people etc), or volunteering in a […]

Read More »

INGOs in Economic Diplomacy – adapting to a new world order

One of the lectures I most enjoy giving is to the LSE course on Economic Diplomacy, (part of its International Political Economy MSc), where most years I trot along and ramble on for half an hour about International NGOs (INGOs) and advocacy. The questions and discussion that follow are invariably fascinating (for me anyway). The […]

Read More »

Poles Apart: why climate change journalism varies so much between countries

My friend James Painter has a new report out, so my colleague John Magrath has kindly reviewed it to avoid any accusations of favouritism….. Why is media coverage of climate change – and other scientific issues – so radically different in countries across the globe? And what are the social and political implications of such […]

Read More »

Will the new World Development Report transform our thinking on gender and inequality?

Some editions of the World Bank’s annual flagship World Development Report come to be seen as intellectual milestones – the WDRs on poverty (1990, 2000); equity (2005) or agriculture (2008). Others sink without trace – who remembers ‘reshaping economic geography’ (2009)? So let’s hope that the publication today of the 2012 WDR, Gender Equality and […]

Read More »

Is inequality the root cause of global crisis? The World Bank's lead research economist thinks so

Back from my week off (Edinburgh Festival – fab) with a load of holiday reading to review. Here’s the first installment – an eccentric new book by Branko Milanovic, inequality guru and lead economist at the World Bank’s research division. The Haves and the Have Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality is […]

Read More »

The Globalization Paradox, a great new book from Dani Rodrik

Dani Rodrik is one of the handful of heterodox heroes, prominent economists who took on the lazy thinking of the Washington Consensus in its prime, and continue to dance productively on its grave. His latest book, The Globalization Paradox: Why Global Markets, States and Democracy Can’t Coexist, feels like a Big Book, one that may […]

Read More »

Poor Economics – a rich new book from Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo

Just finished Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, the latest Big Book on development. Like all good books, it has its own website, full of background papers etc. It’s from the doyennes of the new focus on measurement in general and randomized control trials (RCTs) in particular, Abhijit Banerjee […]

Read More »

Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding. Review of Charles Kenny's new book

Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding—And How We Can Improve the World Even More, published this month, is an exercise in ‘framing’ – trying to shift the way we feel, as well as think, about development and aid. It does it rather well. Two big frames: 1. Lives are getting better everywhere, including in […]

Read More »

Book Review: Small Acts of Resistance

Writing a blog is a mixed blessing when it comes to freebies. You get sent some real turkeys in the shape of papers and books to review. But every now and then an unexpected treat drops into your pigeon hole. One such is ‘Small Acts of Resistance: How Courage, Tenacity and Ingenuity Can Change the […]

Read More »