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Booklovers of ForumIAS : Good Books Summaries / Good Reads / Quotations / Anecdotes

Let's share insights from some good books that we have read. Helps to get a gist & a bird's eye view.

Tetsuko , AlexanderSupertramp and 4 others like this


Poor Economic

 Or rather say Good quality Economics about Poor- I am writing a review rather than a summary (I tried but felt, I am just writing another book, anything less than that would be an injustice to this book). So there would be lots of 'I's, just ignore that focus on core masala.

  So this book of 400 odd pages, 2 Parts, 10 chapters, 7 graphs, 18 country data set and two writers is about poverty-

         How poor deal with life? Despite so much help why they are not able to come out of that poverty trap?  How they often lead towards unsustainability by ignoring preventive healthcare? How the government or any other NGO's policies are failing just because they are ignoring simple things? Despite schools being in the neighborhood, still, the children are not able to develop core competencies- why is it so difficult for them to continue in the school? Why poor families have so many children? How come poor despite being so poor do self-control, save, and spend so much on weddings.

        The second part focuses on especially on institutions- insurance, micro-lending, savings, governance, entrepreneurs, and lots of RCT case studies. It deals in detail why institutions are not able to make a major impact, why they lack empathy towards the poor.


The good things about the book-

It brings up so many questions, breaks so many misconceptions, introduces us with so many already attempted methods to deal with a particular aspect of poverty. It focuses on how rational poor people are given their situation.

It does not generalise the poverty debate into two ends of the spectrum of black and white- like aid givers and non-aid givers (I personally don't like the latter). It rather shows many shades of grey- based on RCT studies, how a particular thing worked, how a particular thing was not able to work.

I like such discussion personally which rather than engaging in the futile debate of metaphysical questions prefer to focus on ground reality and bring out some relevant things to be done.

"Talking about the problem of the world without talking about some accessible solution is the best way to paralysis rather than progress."  -Poor Economics

Also, you will get to know so many facts- sweet potato increased the world's population when Europeans introduced it into their country from Peru, Witch-hunting incidents were more prevalent during little ice age, Bengali Doctors are not from Bengal  (In 1997-98 my mother used to walk 5 km carrying me to a doctor who had no degree or training at all for practice, it's funny and weird), etc...

Now some random Gyan-

People especially those who come from small towns, the rural area will be able to relate much and get much more how poor thinks (I am not saying them poor please understand, its just some fact I can't write clearly now, but I guess they have seen all these things in real life) like I have seen those Bhopa practitioners (and even how they try to heal people, how they jump so high when the spirit enters into their body) to Bengali doctors, to PHC, to Delhi's professional doctor.

Yes, this crowd coming from villages to the city has seen so much change. :P

I recommend this book to everyone.


Reading time-  at my pace 19 days, So many good ideas might tempt you to reread this.

PS- I never used to write over my novel collections but I started underlining things, scribbling on the margins all those interesting ideas I was able to think or relate in this book.



Naadan_Parinda, AlexanderSupertramp and 2 others like this
@Tetsuko  yeah I remember keeping my novels all sacred no bending, no dog- earing it, underlining it. It was such a stupid thing to do now I do all on it because it's mine and if something provokes a idea scribbling it down it a great idea. I find reading this way much more interactive and engaging and it makes the book more personal.

Tetsuko, Mettle
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