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40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World Hardcover – October 22, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A son of legendary investor Warren Buffett (who provides the foreword), Howard G. Buffett considers himself a farmer first and foremost. He explains that all farmers get 40 growing seasons in their lifetime, giving them just 40 chances to improve. In 40 chapters—constructed as elegant essays—Buffett describes his quest to make a difference in the world, which began well before his father established philanthropic foundations for his three children. The younger Buffett has focused his foundation on wildlife conservation and world hunger. Here, he recounts his personal and professional experiences in surprisingly candid and colorful fashion. An accomplished photographer, Buffett humanizes his stories with his own pictures: from a young boy in ankle chains whom he encountered in Senegal, to a shy village girl in Sierra Madre, to a subsistence farmer digging zai pits in Mozambique. Buffett invites his son Howard W. Buffett, also a philanthropist, to contribute a few chapters, but unfortunately these miss the mark. Despite this shortcoming, the book successfully blends personal stories with a tough look at the struggle to fight domestic food scarcity and world hunger. Those interested in these issues or global philanthropy are sure to find this a satisfying read. B&w photos throughout. Agent: Jillian Manus, Manus & Associates Literary Agency. (Oct.)

From Booklist

The “forty chances” in the title of this inspiring manifesto on ending world hunger refers to the average number of growing seasons in a farmer’s career and, by way of analogy, the amount of opportunities we have to realize our dreams. Howard G. Buffett, a famed philanthropist and farmer himself, takes this notion as a springboard to describe his vision and recount his efforts so far to address poverty and starvation both at home and in the Third World. Fittingly, the author presents 40 stories about his mission, beginning with his own upbringing under the watchful eye of his father, legendary billionaire Warren Buffett, who taught his children to respect the dollar and those in need. During visits to Africa as a teen, Howard saw this deprivation up close and has since returned there to teach farming methods, although he is as honest here about his failures as his successes. With contributions from his own son, Howard W., Buffett’s work is both an informative guidebook and a catalyst for igniting real changes in the world. --Carl Hays
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (October 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451687869
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451687866
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
*A full summary of this book is available here: An Executive Summary of Howard G. Buffet's '40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World'

The main argument: In the developed world, the vast majority of us enjoy a standard of living unmatched in the history of humankind--and going hungry is the last thing on our minds. Nevertheless, it cannot be said that poverty and hunger have been eradicated in the developed world entirely (in the United States, for example, 1 in 6 are considered food insecure--including 16 million children). Still, the greatest problems with poverty and hunger continue to exist in the developing world. Indeed, despite substantial improvements over the past 30 years, poverty remains a significant issue, and nearly a billion of the world's 7 billion people still face chronic hunger (while about twice that number are malnourished in some way)--and millions starve to death every year.

It is not that many well intentioned people and organizations have not spent a great deal of time and money trying to solve the world's poverty and hunger issues. Indeed, over the past half century the amount of resources that have been poured into these problems is staggering. So, just why do the problems of poverty and hunger stubbornly persist?

Well, at least part of it has to do with the fact that there are several significant obstacles standing in the way--everything from armed conflict, to corrupt governments, to particular cultural practices etc. The humanitarian Howard G. Buffet has been involved in fighting poverty and hunger for upwards of 30 years, and knows these obstacles all too well.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Howard Buffet writes about world hunger from points of view not often aired. His ideas are fresh, his concern is real, and his writing skills make his ideas easy to understand. Each chapter contains a different kind of story. These are written so fluidly that you are engaged from the first sentence. Some of the chapters were contributed by his son, who seems to have inherited the talent.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
FORTY CHANCES by Howard G. Buffett with H. W. Buffett
Simon & Schuster, 2013, 433 pages
ISBN 978-1-4516-8786-6

I was very skeptical about learning anything from this book. Howard G. Buffett’s father is a Billionaire, what could he tell me, I grew up in the real world. I was wrong, I learned a great deal from this book. The title is the key, Forty Chances. Howard is a farmer and the premise of the book is “a farmer can expect 40 chances or growing seasons to get it right.” The object of farming is to feed people not to just get a crop to market. Howard begins with farming and quickly links feeding people to places where people are starving. Starvation is linked solidly to farming failure in those locations often due to conflict. You can’t farm when a war is going on. There are other obstacles to successful farming around the world. In 40 stories (actually 41 stories) Howard details why some places in the world people cannot feed themselves. The complete title to this book is FORTY CHANCES - Finding Hope in a Hungry World. Finding hope is not preached but discovered as the 40 stories unfold. There are many dimensions to the problem of farming in the world from land ownership, seed available to social norms. I must compliment Howard for using these 40 stories to present the problems. They add creditability to the conditions he describes and to the possible solutions he presents. This is not a Billionaire telling how he thinks others should do things; this is a farmer sharing his concern, failures and successes. Thank you Howard I learned a great deal.
Michael Andrew Marsden – The North Idaho Ghost Writer
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is one of the best books I have read. I have a passion for global food security and this book addresses issues that people do not normally discuss. The hardcover was a great option for me as I have already read it twice and plan to lend it out to many people. The idea of 40 chances is explained on a local level, how many times a farmer typically harvests his field, and how many years left the Howard Buffett Foundation has left to complete its goal. The website for this book has many resources worth checking out. They did a variety of interviews around that book release that could be helpful to check out if you are unsure of the content.

This book would be of interest to anyone, not just people interested in agriculture or international development.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume should be read by everyone!! Perhaps if more citizens had been exposed to this book during the 20th century, Our Country may have been wise enough to have have prevented the evolution of a two tiered society, "The Haves & The Have Nots."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book really made me think about hunger and actually caused me to volunteer for a charity dealing with food. Being hungry is not easy, and this book describes the complications of trying to sate the hunger of people around the world. Also some farm info that I found interesting- not being a farmer myself, but rather just someone who is interested in the world around him.
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