Topic: Book Reviews

Geek Heresy, by Kentaro Toyama: book review

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

[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 […]

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

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 […]

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A Novel Idea: Would Fiction be a better induction to a new job than boring briefings?

A mysterious, anonymised, scarlet pimpernel character called J. flits around the aid world, writing a blog (Tales from the Hood – now defunct, but collected into a book, Letters Left Unsent) and fiction. He asked me for a plug for the latest novel, Honor Among Thieves. Here’s the plot blurb: ‘Mary-Anne has left East Africa […]

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Blueprint for Revolution, a fantastically readable and useful handbook for activists

This review also went up on the Guardian Development Professionals Network site I recently summarized a New York Times piece on non-violent activism, discussing the ideas of the Serbian protestors who overthrew Slobodan Milosevic, and then went on to train protest movements around the world. I’ve now read the new book by one of the leaders, […]

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I’m looking for an innovative publisher for my next book (on How Change Happens) – any suggestions?

As regular FP2Pistas should have clocked by now, I am writing a book on ‘How Change Happens’. Should have a final manuscript by later this year, to publish in 2016. But in a desperate courageous attempt to be funky and innovative, we want to do things a bit differently this time: 1. It won’t be […]

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Civil Society and the dangers of Monoculture: smart new primer from Mike Edwards

Mike Edwards has just written a 3rd edition of his book ‘Civil Society’. It’s a 130 page primer, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy reading. I found some of the conceptual stuff on different understandings of civil society pretty hard going, but was repaid with some really interesting and innovative systems thinking, leading to what […]

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Working With The Grain: an important new book on rethinking approaches to governance

Even though it’s relatively short (223 pages), Working With the Grain (WWTG) took me two months to finish, but I’m glad I did. It adds to a growing and significant body of literature on ‘doing development differently’/’thinking and working politically’ – Matt Andrews, Adrian Leftwich, David Booth, Diana Cammack, Sue Unsworth etc. (Like Matt and […]

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Local First: an excellent (and practical) counterweight to the more top-down versions of ‘doing development differently’

I’ve been both engaged and excited by a lot of the recent networking on ‘thinking and working politically’/’doing development differently’, which emphasizes the importance of understanding and working with the grain of local context, and a project cycle which replaces ‘The Plan’ with a messy process of trying, failing, learning and adapting (and trying again). […]

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The new World Development Report (on mind, society and behavior): lots to like, but a big fail on power, politics and religion

This probably doesn’t need saying, but the World Development Report is a big deal. The World Bank’s annual flagships have a track record of shaping debates on particular issues, and raising them up the endlessly churning development agenda. So it pays to pay attention. This year’s WDR, published this month, is on ‘Mind, Society and […]

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How the Other Half Farms: Important new book on Gender in Agriculture

This guest post is from Dennis Avilés (right), Oxfam’s Sustainable Agriculture and Gender Advisor Trying to explain why half of the world’s farmers are systematically underperforming can be elusive. However, the recently published “Gender in Agriculture. Closing the knowledge gap” by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has just done that. The book is a […]

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