Recommended Books

Future Positive: International Cooperation in the 21st Century by Michael Edwards

“An optimistic assessment of the prospects for a new international order – acting as a counter-blast to global pessimism. The text explains how the international system operates, the pressures it faces and the changes it must undergo, and offers concrete ideas to re-frame international relations, foreign aid and humanitarian intervention, without using jargon or simplistic judgments.”

Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies and Aid by Samantha Nutt

“In 1995, twenty-five-year-old Samantha Nutt, a recent medical-school graduate and a field volunteer for UNICEF, touched down in Baidoa, Somalia, “the City of Death.” What she saw there — gangs of young men roaming the streets armed with rocket launchers; a woman in a clinic line holding a dead baby; an aid agency working in such an unsafe environment that its workers had to travel with armed escorts high on drugs — would spur her on to a lifetime of  passionate advocacy for children and families in war-torn areas around the world. Damned Nations is the brilliant distillation of Dr. Nutt’s observations over the course of fifteen years providing hands-on care in some of the world’s most violent flashpoints, all the while building the world class non-profit War Child North America. Combining original research with her personal story, it is a deeply thoughtful meditation on war as it is being waged around the world against millions of civilians — primarily women and children. Nutt’s boundless energy, dedication, and compassion shine through on every page as she lays out real, lasting solutions to these problems and shows how to move beyond outdated notions of charity towards a more progressive, inclusive, and respectful world view.”

Good Value: Reflections on Money, Morality and an Uncertain World by Stephen Green

“Can one be both an ethical person and an effective businessperson? Stephen Green, an ordained priest and the chairman of HSBC, thinks so. In Good Value, Green retraces the history of the global economy and its financial systems, and shows that while the marketplace has delivered huge advantages to humanity, it has also abandoned over a billion people to extreme poverty, encouraged overconsumption and debt, and ravaged the environment.

How do we reconcile the demands of capitalism with both the common good and our own spiritual and psychological needs as individuals? To answer that, and some of the most vexing questions of our age, Green takes us on a lively and erudite journey through history, looking for lessons in the work of economists and philosophers, businessmen and poets, theologians and novelists, playwrights and political scientists. An essential business book by a man who is uniquely qualified to write it, Good Value is a timely and persuasive analysis of the most pressing financial and moral questions we face.”

Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation by Frans Johansson

“Why do so many world-changing insights come from people with little or no related experience? Charles Darwin was a geologist when he proposed the theory of evolution. And it was an astronomer who finally explained what happened to the dinosaurs.

Frans Johansson’s The Medici Effect shows how breakthrough ideas most often occur when we bring concepts from one field into a new, unfamiliar territory, and offers examples how we can turn the ideas we discover into path-breaking innovations.”

Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation by Tim Brown

“The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed before being realized as new offerings and capabilities.

This book introduces the idea of design thinking‚ the collaborative process by which the designer′s sensibilities and methods are employed to match people′s needs not only with what is technically feasible and a viable business strategy. In short‚ design thinking converts need into demand. It′s a human−centered approach to problem solving that helps people and organizations become more innovative and more creative.

Design thinking is not just applicable to so−called creative industries or people who work in the design field. It′s a methodology that has been used by organizations such as Kaiser Permanente to increase the quality of patient care by re−examining the ways that their nurses manage shift change‚ or Kraft to rethink supply chain management. This is not a book by designers for designers; this is a book for creative leaders seeking to infuse design thinking into every level of an organization‚ product‚ or service to drive new alternatives for business and society.”

King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild

Explores… the exploitation of the Congo Free State by King Leopold II of Belgium between 1885 and 1908.The book aims to increase public awareness of crimes committed by European colonial rulers in Africa. It was refused by nine of the ten U.S. publishing houses to which an outline was submitted, but became an unexpected bestseller and won the prestigious Mark Lynton History Prize for literary style. By 2005, some 400,000 copies were in print in a dozen languages.

Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher

Named one of the Times Literary Supplement’s 100 Most Influential Books Since World War II, Small Is Beautiful presents eminently logical arguments for building our economies around the needs of communities, not corporations.

Ancient Futures: Lessons from Ladakh for a Globalizing World by Helena Norberg-Hodge

This gripping portrait of the western Himalayan land known as “Little Tibet” moves from the author’s first visit to idyllic, nonindustrial Ladakh in 1974 to the present, tracking profound changes as the region was opened to foreign tourists, Western goods and technologies, and pressures for economic growth.

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time by Jefferey Sachs

While many claim it an impossibility, Sachs’s latest work not only asserts that the elimination of extreme poverty is possible, but that it can be accomplished by 2025. In this work he delineates how this can be achieved and what people living in the West can do to contribute.

Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo

Summary – In the past fifty years, more than $1 trillion in development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. Has this assistance improved the lives of Africans? No. In fact, across the continent, the recipients of this aid are not better off as a result of it, but worse—much worse. In Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo describes the state of postwar development policy in Africa today and unflinchingly confronts one of the greatest myths of our time: that billions of dollars in aid sent from wealthy countries to developing African nations has helped to reduce poverty and increase growth.

Whose Reality Counts: Putting the First Last by Robert Chambers

Summary – In this work, Robert Chambers, the forefather of participatory development approaches, calls on all development professionals to adopt new methods to interacting and learning that empower the world’s poor.

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done about It by Paul Collier

Paul Collier states in this book that global poverty is actually falling quite rapidly for about eighty percent of the world. He says that the real crisis lies in a group of about 50 failing states, the bottom billion, whose problems defy traditional approaches to alleviating poverty. In The Bottom Billion, Collier contends that these fifty failed states pose the central challenge of the developing world in the twenty-first century.

The Critical Villager: Beyond Community Participation by Eric Dudley

Considers the difficulties of providing effective development aid to the Third World. The high rate of failure in aid projects is often ascribed to inadequate consideration of local culture and conditions. Eric Dudley considers how community-based technical aid can be made more effective and sustainable. A must read regarding approach to development

The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good by William Easterly

A critical look at the West’s economic policies for the world’s poor.

Freedom from Want: The Remarkable Success Story of BRAC, the Global Grassroots Organization That’s Winning the Fight Against Poverty by Ian Smillie

Freedom From Want traces BRAC’s evolution from a small relief operation indistinguishable from hundreds of others, into what is undoubtedly the largest and most variegated social experiment in the developing world. BRAC’s story shows how social enterprise can trump corruption and how purpose, innovation and clear thinking can overcome the most entrenched injustices that society can offer.

Out of Poverty and Into Something More Comfortable by John Stackhouse

Stackhouse, an award winning Globe and Mail reporter, spent the 1990s traveling to some of the poorest villages in South Asia and Africa where he wrote about the daily struggles of the communities he visited, powerfully describing the people who have gained a voice and control over their own lives as they struggle out of poverty.

Fair Trade Coffee: The Prospects and Pitfalls of Market-Driven Social Justice by Gavin Fridell

Fridell argues that while local level analysis is important, examining the impacts of broader structures on fair trade coffee networks, and vice versa, are of equal if not greater significance in determining its long-term developmental potential. Using fair trade groups in Mexico and Canada as case studies, Fridell examines fair trade coffee at both the global and local level, assessing it as a development project and locating it within political and development theory.

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