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Book review: The Myth Gap, by Alex Evans

Alex Evans is campaign director at Avaaz, formerly a Special Advisor and climate negotiator, and – where I first came across him – a blogger at Global Dashboard. He’s someone who has spent his career trying to make a difference at the highest level, and the book was prompted by a rather bitter moment. He […]

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Book review: Thank you for being late, by Thomas L Friedman

When NYT columnist Thomas L Friedman meets someone for breakfast and they get caught up on the way, he thanks them for being late. That unscheduled wait is a perfect time for reflection, and gave Friedman the title for his latest book: Thank you for being late – an optimist’s guide to thriving in the […]

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Book review: Age of Anger, by Pankaj Mishra

The world turned ugly in 2016. That’s an observation I frequently hear. Something broke, and we’re still trying to work out exactly what and why. Age of Anger: A history of the present is an attempt to account for the “simmering reservoirs of cynicism, boredom and discontent” that characterise our modern world. Mishra’s interest is […]

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Book review: Empire of Things, by Frank Trentmann

I’ve read a lot of books on consumerism, some I would recommend and many I wouldn’t. I thought I had a pretty good handle on the subject until I read Empire of Things: How we became a world of consumers, from the fifteenth century to the 21st. Frank Trentmann rightly points out that the historical […]

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Book review: How Change Happens, by Duncan Green

There are so many different people out to change the world – activists and campaigners, politicians, academics, business people, community groups. All of them have their own understanding of change, although the chances are that many will never have given it much thought. How Change Happens seems like a pretty important topic then, and Duncan […]

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Book review: Reinventing Prosperity

A few weeks ago I was at an event where Graeme Maxton and Jorgen Randers presented some of their thinking from their new book. They gave an overview of thirteen ideas to save the world, which included a number of things I’ve covered on the blog, but presented in a perspective I hadn’t heard before. […]

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My books of 2016

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No such thing as a free gift, by Linsey McGoey

Over the years I’ve talked about philanthropy a fair bit on the blog, from billionaire donors at The Giving Pledge, to more everyday generosity through Giving What We Can. I’ve explored the Effective Altruist movement, and the opportunities we all have to make a difference. I believe that the best use of wealth is to […]

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The planet’s four quadrants

Last week I reviewed Paul Collier’s book The Plundered Planet, and I mentioned that he often has useful shorthand ways of explaining things. One of them that appears in the book is the four quadrants. The world has just short of 200 nation states, but Collier suggests you can divide them into four rough quarters: […]

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The Plundered Planet, by Paul Collier

A few years ago I read Paul Collier’s book The Bottom Billion, and when I saw that his follow-up was about sustainability, it went on that long, long list of things to read. A couple of weeks back I spotted The Plundered Planet on my brother’s book shelves. I borrowed it, and have now slightly […]

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