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Publisher's Summary

In the universally acclaimed and award-winning The Bottom Billion, Paul Collier reveals that 50 failed states - home to the poorest one billion people on earth - pose the central challenge of the developing world in the 21st century. The book shines much-needed light on this group of small nations, largely unnoticed by the industrialized West, that are dropping further and further behind the majority of the world's people, often falling into an absolute decline in living standards.
A struggle rages within each of these nations between reformers and corrupt leaders - and the corrupt are winning. Collier analyzes the causes of failure, pointing to a set of traps that ensnare these countries, including civil war, a dependence on the extraction and export of natural resources, and bad governance. Standard solutions do not work, he writes; aid is often ineffective, and globalization can actually make matters worse, driving development to more stable nations.
What the bottom billion need, Collier argues, is a bold new plan supported by the Group of Eight industrialized nations. If failed states are ever to be helped, the G8 will have to adopt preferential trade policies, new laws against corruption, new international charters, and even conduct carefully calibrated military interventions. Collier has spent a lifetime working to end global poverty. In The Bottom Billion, he offers real hope for solving one of the great humanitarian crises facing the world today.
©2008 Paul Collier; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Set to become a classic. Crammed with statistical nuggets and common sense, his book should be compulsory reading." (The Economist)
"If Sachs seems too saintly and Easterly too cynical, then Collier is the authentic old Africa hand: he knows the terrain and has a keen ear.... If you've ever found yourself on one side or the other of those arguments -and who hasn't? - then you simply must read this book." (Niall Ferguson, The New York Times Book Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Andy on 01-31-10

no easy fix

Collier lays out a comprehensive survey of what has caused this situation and the challenges of bringing solutions to it. Many of his research based observations are initially counter intuitive, until you get to hear about the bizarre incentives to good as well as bad behavior. Solid narration.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By xmuxi on 12-08-16

Eye opening inspirational and informative

I wanted to discover the issues facing the poorest, what has worked and what hasn't and I got it.

I only wish there was a prologue that included the events that took place in the 10 years after the book was written. I feel that I have a gap in my knowledge.

Highly recommended to anyone interested in humanitarian aid, policy and what can be done about the poorest of the poor.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Steve on 08-01-14

Thought provoking and inspirational

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes I would recommend this audiobook.

There are some striking observations about poverty and the four 'traps' which leave a section of the worlds population in the 'bottom billion' with little chance of escaping. It explains how the plight of the bottom billion affect us all and consider the factors that maintain the current position then examines why this is the case - e.g. assessment of development aid, why this is so important and yet is only part of the solution; assessment of international government policies and why they tend to hinder rather than help progress. Finally the book has many profound suggestions which could help close the gap for the bottom billion and minimise the prospect of the four traps.

It is well researched with plenty of examples to back up the hypothesis.

What did you like best about this story?

Lots of interesting examples of how the world views the bottom billion, and how certain key players (e.g. Governments, Aid industry, Global businesses) behave in a way that is sometimes counter-intuitive.

What about Gideon Emery’s performance did you like?

Easy to listen to- informative and at a good pace.

Any additional comments?

An inspirational book with great ideas to change the world. Astounding to think this was written in 2007 - change seems to be slow since then with much of what is written here still applicable today.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jeremiah David on 03-23-18

Backed by statistics

One of the best books I've read on development so far. It applies statistics to an area that largely seems to be governed by theory and overall provides a balanced view on effective development strategies.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Jack on 04-15-17

incredible insight into the developing world

This was an amazing insight into new and innovative ways at looking to the future of aid, trade and development of the third world. it also explained the success seen in Brazil, China, India, and much of Africa. The narrator also had a wonderful voice.

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