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159 of 171 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkably Informative Book., April 15, 2011
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This review is from: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (Hardcover)
Although I am an economist by training and have studied economics for many years, I admit that in reading this book I have learned a great deal about the complexities of both the theory and the practice of anti-poverty policies in developing nations.

Why are people so interested in the issue of global poverty? Well, to list a few of the many aspects about poverty addressed in this book, every year about 9 million children die before they reach their fifth birthday, usually in the poorest countries. In the developed world, a woman has a one-in-5,000 chance of dying while giving birth, but in many sub-Saharan Africa countries the odds are one-in-30. There are at least 25 countries in the world with life expectancies of 55 years or less. If these sorts of situations capture your mind and lead it to ask what can be done, one of the first things you might consider doing is learning more about the conditions and circumstances that lead to these revealing statistics. That's where this book comes in.

So, is this book one you should buy? Presumably that's why you are reading this. Here are a few observations that may help you decide whether to buy this fine book: In the authors' own words, the book "is ultimately about what the lives and choices of the poor tell us about how to fight global poverty." That may not sound too sexy or exciting, but if you have an interest in facts, theories and observations about global poverty, then this is your book. On the other hand, if what you seek are simple theories and, especially, strong advocacy of a few preferred solutions, then you are probably barking up the wrong tree. Don't get me wrong; I like the book just as it is. There is so much information to consider and so many approaches to fighting poverty to contemplate. Just don't expect the authors to take a lot of your time championing pet solutions. Because the problem of poverty is itself rather complex, so are some of its solutions. Jack Webb (the "just the facts, ma'am" star of the "Dragnet" series) might have loved this fact-filled book. At least, he'd love it if he was an economist or someone interested in learning (a lot) about global poverty. Yet there's much more to the book that mere facts. Primarily, there is a pursuit of understanding the circumstances associated with poverty and the efforts to overcome it. That's where this book excels.

It's certainly early to judge, but this book could prove to be a classic in its field. It successfully challenges and encourages the reader to think in new ways about anti-poverty initiatives. Although its authors are probably unknown to the general public, they are well regarded in economics. They both have received a number of prestigious awards, including the John Bates Clark Medal (to Esther Duflo) for the best American economist under age 40. Previous winners of this award include a Who's Who of economists, such as Paul Samuelson, Milton Friedman, James Tobin, Kenneth Arrow, Gary Becker, Martin Feldstein, Lawrence Summers and Steven Levitt.

In short, this is a substantial book with a great deal of important content. There are some graphs, but less than you might expect from two economists. Importantly, it is readable and understandable by the interested lay reader. Frankly, I think it's a book you won't forget. If the issues of global poverty and economic development interest you, this is a book well worth your careful consideration.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 22, 2011 9:47:19 AM PDT
Delta Pinie says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Mar 3, 2012 10:09:24 PM PST
BruceK says:
It would be nice if you would include as examples an idea or two from the book to demonstrate your point, but very nice review. thanks.

Posted on Dec 19, 2013 2:11:38 PM PST
Maxzis says:
Irony: The book is manufactured in a third world country and authored by a wealthy author in a 1st world country..
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