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A Book Discussion of "The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty"

Asked about the “core takeaway” from her new book The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty, author Nina Munk told the Deseret News: “In the quest to end poverty it is important to understand that theories we develop in academic environments can’t anticipate the chaos of the real world. In trying to put into practice the theories he outlined in The End of Poverty, Jeffrey Sachs discovered that human beings are unpredictable and irrational. It turns out that ending poverty is a lot more complicated than some people think. It sounds obvious, but it’s not.”

Ms. Munk, a Vanity Fair contributing editor, spent six years following the Millennium Villages Project, which has funneled $100 million over ten years into Africa. Her book focuses on two sites in Kenya and Uganda. “After reading Munk’s superb book, nobody will ever again think ending poverty is really that easy,” wrote economist William Easterly.

On February 20th, regular Chronicle of Philanthropy contributors Pablo Eisenberg and Bill Schambra co-moderated a discussion of The Idealist with its author.

Recommended Readings
William Easterly, The Aid Debate is Over, Reason, January 2014.
Angus Deaton, American Hubris, African Nemesis, The Lancet 383.9914 (2014): 297-98.
Erika Fry, Jeffrey Sachs’s Failed Experiment in Africa, Fortune, October 11, 2013.

Pablo Eisenberg, Co-Moderator

Senior Fellow at Georgetown University

Nina Munk, Panelist

Author of The Idealist

William Schambra, Co-Moderator

Director of the Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal

Hudson Experts

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