Tag: Poverty

Hans Rosling’s Important Truths about Population Growth and the Developing World

Garrett Hardin‘s Living Within Limits had a huge influence on how I thought about population.

In the book, he convincingly demonstrates the folly of allowing human population to grow unchecked over a long enough timeframe. Even a small rate of compound would add up to large figures. Hardin’s argument can be summed up fairly simply: An exponentially expanding population in a world with defined limits creates a problem. (An example of where scale has an effect on values.)

Hardin was clear to acknowledge that he wasn’t sure where the limits actually were. As supporters of Thomas Malthus have found out over the years, agricultural and other technology can and has outpaced population growth. But it was a certainty that some limits can not be overcome as long as we’re a single planet species — things like natural beauty, energy consumption, water consumption, fertilizer, living space, and other things mostly have limits. (Again, where those limits are is up for debate, and a certain Mr. Musk would like to make us multi-planetary as well.)

Hardin also gave us the terminology of a longage, as opposed to a shortage. Our terminology refers to a population without enough to eat as having a shortage of food. Hardin claimed it was equally correct to say there was a longage of people relative to the available resources.

Mostly, this was all I knew on the topic. Enter Hans Rosling to continue that education.

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Hans Rosling is a Swedish academic and scientist who came to popular fame as a TED speaker. Among his talks are discussions on poverty, HIV, and the developing world. A few minutes tell you that man has a way with statistics and data presentation. (One of his talks is titled Let My Dataset Change Your Mindset.)

Rosling’s favorite twin topics are ones of population growth and the truth about what’s happening in developing countries — a truth the developed world doesn’t know much about. Are the world’s poorer nations like India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Mozambique going to go on exploding world population forever? What does this mean for the world? What are they living like now, what is their future? How does that affect the future of the developed world?

In the wonderful hour-long video above, Rosling blows up some misconceptions and misunderstandings, and convincingly makes the following points:

  • Population growth should hit a limit around 11 billion within the next hundred years, as the world equalizes in health outcomes.
  • In developed countries, a ratio near 2 parents to 2 children mostly exists and developing nations are getting closer and closer as their childhood health outcomes continue to improve. (And they have improved drastically.)
  • Stated another way, as a result of equalizing health outcomes, low child mortality, and family planning, family sizes go down, and population growth slows in a predictable way.
  • Current population trends are strong enough that by 2100, only ~10% of the world population will be in Western nations (North America, Western Europe) — Africa will quadruple in population and Asia will increase about 25%. It will be a very different world.
  • After an explosion of births in the second half of the 20th century, the number of children worldwide has already leveled off at around 2 billion, and should stay there at least through the century, barring a major development. Population growth from here will mostly be determined by more 30-85 year olds existing in the future than now. (In other words, births are nicely leveling off, but population growth must continue for a while anyways as the current crop of children grow up and have 2 children each. We currently have a very young world.) Watch from minute 22:00 or so for this counter-intuitive conclusion.
  • There are three or four income “groups,” roughly defined, across the planet — most of you reading this are in the $100/day or more income bracket. We’re extremely fortunate. Then, a major swath in the $10/day bracket. And then the world’s poorest, around $1/day. There’s also a big group with less than that. (Of course, there are also the super rich in the $1000/day+ bracket — it works in a power-law like fashion). One problem for those of us at the top is that when we look down, we see the people living one order of magnitude down ($10/day) and two orders of magnitude down ($1/day) as the same. The difference between the two groups is at least as big as the difference between you and someone who makes 10x as much money as you. (And probably larger.)
  • An interesting way for “rich” Westerners to think about the above, which Rosling demonstrates in a genius way: The absolute poorest in the world, nearly a billion people, would love a good pair of shoes with which to walk. The people living around two orders of magnitude down from us (~$1/day) are struggling to afford a bicycle. Those living one order of magnitude down (~$10/day) are working to afford one car for the family. The richest billion fly in airplanes, and the super-wealthy fly in their own airplanes. It’s an interesting way to conceive of the stratas of the world and where we all stand.

Of course, one of Rosling’s more interesting points is that, when polled, most Westerners are fairly clueless about all of this.

For example, over 50% of Brits think that the average Bangladeshi mother births around 5 children — the actual answer is 2.5 (and declining). When they were asked what percentages of adults in the world are now literate, about half the Brits thought it was 40% or less — the actual answer is over 80% (and rising). (Not to pick on Brits — I doubt most Westerners would have done any better.)

He concludes with a discussion on energy: As billions are lifted out of poverty by improvements in health, education, and infrastructure, as is happening and seems likely to continue, their energy use goes up dramatically. Think about the stratas we discussed above: Bicycles to a car to airplanes to private jets. As hundreds of millions look to improve their lot, and are now able to do so, human power is replaced by machine power, which takes great amounts of energy. With 80% of it currently coming from fossil fuels, what will we do?

Rosling doesn’t really provide an answer and we too must quitclaim this problem, but simply admonishing Westerners to “chill out with your energy use” is probably not going to be effective. We’ll probably have to solve it with great engineering — and, in some, ways, we already are.

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Returning to the question of population growth and limits, it’s hard to say where we’ll end up with all this. Hard to say. Technology will have to solve many of the largest problems: Energy, emissions, water, and food. Not to mention the survival of the species we co-habitate with. Cheap solar energy will go a long way towards alleviating some strains. (Hurry up, Elon!)

But in the end, it’s a subject worth spending some time learning about. We can’t think about the problems unless we understand their parameters, or as some smart wag once said: “A problem well-defined is half-solved.” 

Hans Rosling explains population growth and climate change

In this short video, Swedish academic Han Rosling uses lego bricks to show us the world through the dynamics of population growth, child mortality and carbon dioxide emissions. The challenge, he argues, is for the world to get everyone out of extreme poverty and get the richest people to use less fossil fuels so that everyone can share their energy levels.

Five Key Lessons in the Fight Against Poverty

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

I finally got around to reading Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty.

The book brings to light some of the complexities of poor people’s lives by exploring the difficult decisions they face, which are often about things we take for granted, like access to enough food and clean water, or vaccinations.

Further complicating matters, these decisions are often made in an environment of no information, misinformation, and without any margin for error.

The richer you are, the more “right” decisions are made for you. The poor have no piped water, and therefore do not benefit from the chlorine that the city government puts into the water supply. If they want clean drinking water, they have to purify it themselves. They cannot afford ready-made fortified breakfast cereals and therefore have to make sure that they and their children get enough nutrients. They have no automatic way to save, such as a retirement plan or contribution to Social Security, so they have to find a way to make sure that they save. These decisions are difficult for everyone because they require some thinking now or some other small cost today, and the benefits are usually reaped in the distant future. As such, procrastination very easily gets in the way. For the poor, this is compounded by the fact that their lives are already much more demanding than ours …

Five Key Lessons in the Fight Against Poverty

Although we have no magic bullets to eradicate poverty, no one-shot cure-all, we do know a number of things about how to improve the lives of the poor. In particular, five key lessons emerge.

First, the poor often lack critical pieces of information and believe things that are not true. They are unsure about the benefits of immunizing children; they think there is little value in what is learned during the first few years of education; they don’t know which is the easiest way to get infected with HIV. When their firmly held beliefs turn out to be incorrect, they end up making the wrong decision, sometimes with drastic consequences. Even when they know that they don’t know, the resulting uncertainty can be damaging.

Second, the poor bear responsibility for too many aspects of their lives. The richer you are, the more the “right” decisions are made for you. …

Third, there are good reasons some markets are missing for the poor, or that the poor face unfavorable prices in them. The poor get a negative interest rate from their savings accounts (if they are lucky enough to have an account) and pay exorbitant rates on their loans (if they can get one) because handling even a small quantity of money entails a fixed cost.

Fourth, poor countries are not doomed to failure because they are poor, or because they have had an unfortunate history. It is true that things often do not work in these countries: programmes intended to help the poor end up in the wrong hands, teachers teach desultorily or not at all, roads weakened by theft of materials collapse under the weight of overburdened trucks, and so forth. But many of these failures have less to do with some grand conspiracy of the elites to maintain their hold on the economy and more to do with some avoidable flaw in the design of policies, and the ubiquitous three is: ignorance, ideology, and inertia.

Finally, expectations about what people are able or unable to do all too often end up turning into self-fulfilling prophecies. Children give up on school when their teachers (and sometimes their parents) signal to them that they are not smart enough to master the curriculum; fruit sellers don’t make the effort to repay their debt because they expect that they will fall back into debt very quickly; nurses stop coming to work because nobody expects them to be there; politicians whom no one expects to perform have no incentive to try improving people’s lives. Changing expectations is not easy, but it is not impossible.

Despite these lessons, we are far from knowing everything.

The book is, in a sense, just an invitation to look more closely. If we resist the kind of lazy, formulaic thinking that reduces every problem to the same set of general principles; if we listen to poor people themselves and force ourselves to understand the logic of their choices; if we accept the possibility of error and subject every idea, including the most apparently commonsensical ones, to rigorous empirical testing, then we will be able not only to construct a toolbox of effective policies but also to better understand why the poor live the way they do. Armed with this patient understanding, we can identify the poverty traps where they really are and know which tools we need to give the poor to help them get out of them.

What Does Bill Gates Read for Fun?

Bill Gates

You like to read? So does Bill Gates. And he reads a lot.

Here’s a brief look at what he reads on topics such as education, energy, finance, and development.

Education

Work Hard, Be Nice “Jay did a great job writing this book. The book gives a great sense of how hard it was to get KIPP going and how intense the focus on good teaching is.”

Liberating Learning “…an important book that focuses on how technology will change K-12 education in the United States. ”

Education Economics “…This may be more critical now than ever before, because growth in education spending is leveling off and budgets are even being cut.”

Stretching the School Dollar “I wish there were ten more books like Stretching the School Dollar. It’s a very readable examination of what’s wrong with how we spend money on public education in the United States today, and how to fix it.”

Big History “…Big History represents a new kind of history, one that skillfully interweaves historical knowledge and cutting-edge science. In an age of global warming, when the fate of the earth hangs in the balance, scientific advances permit us to see the universe as never before, grasping the timescales that allow us to understand the history of mankind in the context of its ecological impact on the planet. Cynthia Brown’s lucid, accessible narrative is the first popularization of this innovative new field of study, as thrilling as it is ambitious.”

Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns “According to recent studies in neuroscience, the way we learn doesn’t always match up with the way we are taught. If we hope to stay competitive-academically, economically, and technologically-we need to rethink our understanding of intelligence, reevaluate our educational system, and reinvigorate our commitment to learning. In other words, we need “disruptive innovation.””

Energy

Energy Myths and Realities Smil “…examines the various predictions that have been made in the past and are still being made about energy use. Most of these predictions are overly optimistic about how quickly things can change and about the effectiveness of particular approaches. Although Smil remains hopeful in the long run, he clearly thinks we will do a better job if we are realistic about the challenges we face.

My favorite Smil book, Creating the Twentieth Century (and its companion, Transforming the Twentieth Century) chronicles the inventions of the last 150 years. It is quite positive because it focuses on innovation and how innovation has advanced society.”

Energy Transitions “…Vaclav Smil has written another important book on energy which is quite amazing. Although there are a lot of important books about energy, as an author Smil is in a class by himself in terms of breadth and depth.”

Sustainable Energy “…The noted climate researcher Ken Caldeira suggested I read Sustainable Energy – without the hot air by David MacKay. I’m grateful for his recommendation.”

Energies: An Illustrated Guide to the Biosphere and Civilization “…In this highly original book, ecologist Vaclav Smil presents a comprehensive and integrated survey of all the forms of energy that shape our world, from the sun to the human body, from bread to microchips. ”

Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties “…In “Energy at the Crossroads”, Vaclav Smil considers the twenty-first century’s crucial question: how to reconcile the modern world’s unceasing demand for energy with the absolute necessity to preserve the integrity of the biosphere.”

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America “…In his brilliant, essential new book, Friedman takes a fresh and provocative look at two of the biggest challenges we face today: America’s surprising loss of focus and national purpose since 9/11; and the global environmental crisis, which is affecting everything from food to fuel to forests. In this groundbreaking account of where we stand now, he shows us how the solutions to these two big problems are linked–how we can restore the world and revive America at the same time.”

The Earth’s Biosphere: Evolution, Dynamics and Change “…Vaclav Smil tells the story of the Earth’s biosphere from its origins to its near- and long-term future. He explains the workings of its parts and what is known about their interactions. With essay-like flair, he examines the biosphere’s physics, chemistry, biology, geology, oceanography, energy, climatology, and ecology, as well as the changes caused by human activity. He provides both the basics of the story and surprising asides illustrating critical but often neglected aspects of biospheric complexity.”

Development

Getting Better: Why Global Development is Succeeding “…After years of doom and gloom on the subject of foreign aid, it is refreshing to find so thoughtful and contrarian an approach to the topic. Charles Kenny shines a light on the real successes of aid, and he shows us the benefits that additional smart investment can bring.”

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves “…Although I strongly disagree with what Mr. Ridley says in these pages about some of the critical issues facing the world today, his wider narrative is based on two ideas that are very important and powerful. The first is that the key to rising prosperity over the course of human history has been the exchange of goods. … The second key idea in the book is, of course, “rational optimism.””

Why America is Not a New Rome “…After reading so many articles and speeches predicting what will happen to America because of some supposed similarities to the Roman Empire, Smil felt it was important to explain that there is no predictive power in these comparisons. Smil is a great student of history, including Roman history and the dynamics of its Empire over time. Even though I took five years of Latin and enjoyed being able to understand some of the quotes in the book, my understanding of the Roman Empire was greatly expanded by reading this book. ”

Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food “…This is an important book for anyone who wants to learn about the science of seeds and the challenges faced by farmers. It’s only 167 pages, and includes personal stories that give you a sense of the authors as people and how strongly they feel about farming, food and the environment. I think anyone who reads this book will be convinced of the authors’ sincerity and intelligence – even if, like me, you never try any of the cool-sounding recipes. ”

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed “…As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Moving from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe. Environmental damage, climate change, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of these societies, but other societies found solutions and persisted. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.

Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapse is destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?”

Enriching the Earth: Fritz Habery, Carol Bosch and the Transformation of World Food Production “… Smil begins with a discussion of nitrogen’s unique status in the biosphere, its role in crop production, and traditional means of supplying the nutrient. He then looks at various attempts to expand natural nitrogen flows through mineral and synthetic fertilizers. The core of the book is a detailed narrative of the discovery of ammonia synthesis by Fritz Haber—a discovery scientists had sought for over one hundred years—and its commercialization by Carl Bosch and the chemical company BASF. Smil also examines the emergence of the large-scale nitrogen fertilizer industry and analyzes the extent of global dependence on the Haber-Bosch process and its biospheric consequences. Finally, it looks at the role of nitrogen in civilization and, in a sad coda, describes the lives of Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch after the discovery of ammonia synthesis.

Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years “…Fundamental change occurs most often in one of two ways: as a “fatal discontinuity,” a sudden catastrophic event that is potentially world changing, or as a persistent, gradual trend. Global catastrophes include volcanic eruptions, viral pandemics, wars, and large-scale terrorist attacks; trends are demographic, environmental, economic, and political shifts that unfold over time. In this provocative book, scientist Vaclav Smil takes a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look at the catastrophes and trends the next fifty years may bring. This is not a book of forecasts or scenarios but one that reminds us to pay attention to, and plan for, the consequences of apparently unpredictable events and the ultimate direction of long-term trends.”

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time “…. In the end, he leaves readers with an understanding, not of how daunting the world’s problems are, but how solvable they are-and why making the effort is a matter both of moral obligation and strategic self-interest.”

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies “…is a brilliant work answering the question of why the peoples of certain continents succeeded in invading other continents and conquering or displacing their peoples.”

The Man Who Fed the World: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug and His Battle to End World Hunger “…How could a child of the Iowa prairie, who attended a one-teacher, one-room school; who flunked the university entrance exam; and whose highest ambition was to be a high school science teacher and athletic coach, ultimately achieve the distinction as one of the one hundred most influential persons of the twentieth century? And receive the Nobel Peace Prize for averting hunger and famine? And eventually be hailed as the man who saved hundreds of millions of lives from starvation—more than any other person in history? What is it that made Norman Borlaug different? What drove him? What can we—especially our youth—learn from his life?”

Health

Polio: An American Story—Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for history in 2006 “… It is a fascinating account of the search for a vaccine to stop the polio epidemics that swept the U.S. in the first half of the 20th century, and the remarkable efforts that led to its successful eradication from the U.S. and most other countries. Reading Oshinsky’s book a few years ago broadened my appreciation of the challenges associated with global health issues and influenced the decision that Melinda and I made to make polio eradication the top priority of the foundation, as well as my own personal priority.”

Jim Grant – UNICEF Visionary “…By creating a global constituency for children, getting people to focus on specific goals, and creating effective program delivery and measurement systems, Jim Grant literally saved millions of children’s lives.”

Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries “…In the late 1980s the World Bank initiated a process designed both to generate analytic background on priorities for control of specific diseases and to use this information as input for comparative cost-effectiveness estimates for interventions addressing the full range of conditions important in developing countries. The purpose of the comparative cost-effectiveness work was to provide one input into decision-making within the health sectors of highly resource-constrained low- and middle-income countries. This process resulted in the 1993 publication of Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries”

Global Burden of Disease and Risk Factors “…examines the comparative importance of diseases, injuries, and risk factors; it incorporates a range of new data sources to develop consistent estimates of incidence, prevalence, severity and duration, and mortality for 136 major diseases and injuries.”

House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox “…A story of courage and risk-taking, House on Fire tells how smallpox, a disease that killed, blinded, and scarred millions over centuries of human history, was completely eradicated in a spectacular triumph of medicine and public health. Part autobiography, part mystery, the story is told by a man who was one of the architects of a radical vaccination scheme that became a key strategy in ending the horrible disease when it was finally contained in India.”

Mountains Beyond Mountains “…This compelling and inspiring book shows how one person can work wonders. In Mountains Beyond Mountains, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Tracy Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man who loves the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it.”

Smallpox the Death of a Disease: The Inside Story of Eradicating a Worldwide Killer “…This spellbinding book is Dr. Henderson’s personal story of how he led the World Health Organization’s campaign to eradicate smallpox—the only disease in history to have been deliberately eliminated. Some have called this feat “the greatest scientific and humanitarian achievement of the past century.””

Tropical Infectious Diseases: Principles, Pathogens and Practice “…Presents cutting-edge discussions of the full range of tropical infectious diseases.”

Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver  “…Vaccine juxtaposes the stories of brilliant scientists with the industry’s struggle to produce safe, effective, and profitable vaccines. It focuses on the role of military and medical authority in the introduction of vaccines and looks at why some parents have resisted this authority. Political and social intrigue have often accompanied vaccination—from the divisive introduction of smallpox inoculation in colonial Boston to the 9,000 lawsuits recently filed by parents convinced that vaccines caused their children’s autism. With narrative grace and investigative journalism, Arthur Allen reveals a history illuminated by hope and shrouded by controversy, and he sheds new light on changing notions of health, risk, and the common good.”

Personal

In Fed We Trust  “…The author does a very good job of explaining how things looked to Bernanke as the situation progressed, and how novel the steps that the Fed took really were. The author does a good job of not using hindsight to evaluate all of the moves, while being clear about where things could have been done better.”

Life is What You Make It  “…Peter writes about the values he absorbed growing up as the son of Warren Buffett and his -late mother, Susan Buffett, and the path he has pursued to identify and pursue his passions in life. ”

SuperFreakonomics: “…I recommend this book to anyone who reads nonfiction. It is very well written and full of great insights.”

A Separate Peace: “…Gene was a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas was a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happened between them at school one summer during the early years of World War II is the subject of A Separate Peace. A great bestseller for over thirty years–one of the most starkly moving parables ever written of the dark forces that brood over the tortured world of adolescence.”

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School: “…In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule – what scientists know for sure about how our brains work – and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives.Medina’s fascinating stories and sense of humour breathe life into brain science. You’ll learn why Michael Jordan was no good at baseball. You’ll peer over a surgeon’s shoulder as he proves that we have a Jennifer Aniston neuron. You’ll meet a boy who has an amazing memory for music but can’t tie his own shoes.”

Broken Genius: The Rise and Fall of William Shockley, Creator of the Electronic Age “…Broken Genius is the first biography of William Shockley, founding father of Silicon Valley – one of the most significant and reviled scientists of the 20th century. Shockley won a Nobel Prize for inventing the transistor, upon which almost everything that makes the modern world is based. Little has affected history as much as this device, developed along with John Bardeen and Walter Brattain at AT&T’s Bell Telephone Laboratories in the mid-1940s.”

Creating the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact “…This book is a systematic interdisciplinary account of the history of this outpouring of European and American intellect and of its truly epochal consequences. It takes a close look at four fundamental classes of these epoch-making innovations: formation, diffusion, and standardization of electric systems; invention and rapid adoption of internal combustion engines; the unprecedented pace of new chemical syntheses and material substitutions; and the birth of a new information age. These chapters are followed by an evaluation of the lasting impact these advances had on the 20th century, that is, the creation of high-energy societies engaged in mass production aimed at improving standards of living.”

Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance “…Drawing on the parallels from many countries and centuries, Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihm, a professor of economic history and a New York Times Magazine writer, show that financial cataclysms are as old and as ubiquitous as capitalism itself. The last two decades alone have witnessed comparable crises in countries as diverse as Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, Pakistan, and Argentina. All of these crises-not to mention the more sweeping cataclysms such as the Great Depression-have much in common with the current downturn. Bringing lessons of earlier episodes to bear on our present predicament, Roubini and Mihm show how we can recognize and grapple with the inherent instability of the global financial system, understand its pressure points, learn from previous episodes of “irrational exuberance,” pinpoint the course of global contagion, and plan for our immediate future. ”

Einstein: His Life and Universe “…Based on the newly released personal letters of Albert Einstein, Walter Isaacson explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk — a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate — became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos, the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom and the universe. His success came from questioning conventional wisdom and marveling at mysteries that struck others as mundane. This led him to embrace a morality and politics based on respect for free minds, free spirits, and free individuals.”

Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results “…In the first half of the twenty-first century, giving to family and community foundations alone will be ten times in today’s dollars what it was throughout the entire twentieth century. Yet despite tremendous innovation in the social sector, philanthropy’s natural state is under-performance. Not since Andrew Carnegie wrote The Gospel of Wealth has a book been written that provides practical guidance for donors to get the most impact from their giving.”

Open: An Autobiography “…With its breakneck tempo and raw candor, Open will be read and cherished for years. A treat for ardent fans, it will also captivate readers who know nothing about tennis. Like Agassi’s game, it sets a new standard for grace, style, speed, and power.”

Physics for Dummies “…Steven Holzner, Ph.D. earned his B.S. at MIT and his Ph.D. at Cornell, where he taught Physics 101 and 102 for over 10 years. He livens things up with cool physics facts, real-world examples, and simple experiments that will heighten your enthusiasm for physics and science. The book ends with some out-of-this world physics that will set your mind in motion.”

Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines “…Learn the science behind the headlines—the tools of terrorists, the dangers of nuclear power, and the reality of global warming. We live in complicated, dangerous times. They are also hyper-technical times. As citizens who will elect future presidents of the most powerful and influential country in the world, we need to know—truly understand, not just rely on television’s talking heads—if Iran’s nascent nuclear capability is a genuine threat to the West, if biochemical weapons are likely to be developed by terrorists, if there are viable alternatives to fossil fuels that should be nurtured and supported by the government, if nuclear power should be encouraged, and if global warming is actually happening. This book is written in everyday, nontechnical language on the science behind the concerns that our nation faces in the immediate future.”

Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger “…For the first time ever, the wit and wisdom of Charlie Munger is available in a single volume: all his talks, lectures and public commentary. And, it has been written and compiled with both Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett’s encouragement and cooperation. So pull up your favorite reading chair and enjoy the unique humor, wit and insight that Charlie Munger brings to the world of business, investing and life itself.”

Showing Up for Life “…A heartfelt, deeply personal book, Showing Up for Life shines a bright light on the values and principles that Bill Gates Sr. has learned over a lifetime of “showing up”—lessons that he learned growing up during the Great Depression, and that he instilled in his children and continues to practice on the world stage as the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

The Catcher in the Rye “…The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.”

The Feynman Lectures On Physics “…The whole thing was basically an experiment,” Richard Feynman said late in his career, looking back on the origins of his lectures. The experiment turned out to be hugely successful, spawning a book that has remained a definitive introduction to physics for decades. Ranging from the most basic principles of Newtonian physics through such formidable theories as general relativity and quantum mechanics, Feynman’s lectures stand as a monument of clear exposition and deep insight. Timeless and collectible, the lectures are essential reading, not just for students of physics but for anyone seeking an introduction to the field from the inimitable Feynman.”

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century  “…When scholars write the history of the world twenty years from now, and they come to the chapter “Y2K to March 2004,” what will they say was the most crucial development? The attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the Iraq war? Or the convergence of technology and events that allowed India, China, and so many other countries to become part of the global supply chain for services and manufacturing, creating an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world’s two biggest nations, giving them a huge new stake in the success of globalization? And with this “flattening” of the globe, which requires us to run faster in order to stay in place, has the world gotten too small and too fast for human beings and their political systems to adjust in a stable manner?”

Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System — and Themselves “…Through unprecedented access to the players involved, Too Big to Fail re-creates all the drama and turmoil, revealing neverdisclosed details and elucidating how decisions made on Wall Street over the past decade sowed the seeds of the debacle. This true story is not just a look at banks that were “too big to fail,” it is a real-life thriller with a cast of bold-faced names who themselves thought they were too big to fail.”

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