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Book reviews

‘A Better World is Possible: The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and social progress’ by Georgina Ferry

Paul Ramsbottom 4 September 2018 For Subscribers

Reviewed by Paul Ramsbottom It remains relatively rare for histories of foundations to be written. This is a shame. When (as with this book) they are well told, they tend to be colourful stories that …


‘Money Well Spent: A strategic plan for smart philanthropy’ second edition by Paul Brest and Hal Harvey

Michael Alberg-Seberich 4 September 2018 For Subscribers

Reviewed by Michael Alberg-Seberich How do you review the second edition of a book that has become a standard on many foundation managers’ and philanthropists’ desks? The first edition of Money Well Spent was published …


‘How Great Philanthropists Failed and You Can Succeed at Protecting Your Legacy’ by Martin Morse Wooster

Michael Alberg-Seberich 29 May 2018 For Subscribers

Reviewed by Michael Alberg-Seberich This is the fourth edition of a book that in the past had the title The Great Philanthropists and the Problem of ‘Donor Intent’. No doubt, donor intent is a crucial …

‘The ImpactAssets Handbook for Investors: Generating social and environmental value through capital investing’ Edited by Jed Emerson

Philo Alto 29 May 2018 For Subscribers

Reviewed by Philo Alto Jed Emerson’s third book provides both a practitioner’s toolkit to impact investing and builds a compelling case for why investors should align their capital with their values and purpose for the …

‘Philanthropy in Practice – Pragmatism and the impact of philanthropic action’ by Ekkehard Thümler

Michael Alberg-Seberich 6 March 2018 For Subscribers

Reviewed by Michael Alberg-Seberich This book is like a Matterhorn expedition in the world of philanthropy. As in mountaineering, you need to be prepared for a steep ascent when the author, German scholar, Ekkehard Thümler, …

‘The Philanthropic Mind’ by Chuck English and Mo Lidsky – Reviewed by Michael Alberg-Seberich

Michael Alberg-Seberich 5 December 2017

This book is an express introduction to private philanthropy in Canada – a country that, so far, has not been on the radar in most works on private giving. Fundraising and marketing adviser Chuck English …

‘Smart risks: how small grants are helping to solve some of the world’s biggest problems’ – edited by Jennifer Lentfer and Tanya Cothran

John Harvey 5 December 2017

Reviewed by John Harvey Smart risks: how small grants are helping to solve some of the world’s biggest problems has an unusual origin story. One of its editors, a passionate writer herself, put out a …

Giving with a thousand hands: the changing face of Indian philanthropy by Pushpa Sundar – reviewed by Alison Bukhari

Alison Bukhari 5 September 2017 For Subscribers

This book leaves the reader both emboldened and overwhelmed at the same time. It lays out an ambitious and visionary call to action and yet makes the reader all too aware of the fundamental systemic and cultural hurdles that stand in the way of …

Experimental conversations: perspectives on randomized trials in development economics – edited by Timothy Ogden 

Caroline Fiennes 5 September 2017 For Subscribers

Reviewed by Caroline Fiennes. Much rubbish is spoken about randomized controlled trials (RCTs). And many of the views ascribed to the ‘randomistas’ who run them are not in fact held by them. For instance, it is often said that RCTs are …

‘The Routledge Companion to Philanthropy’ – Edited by Tobias Jung, Susan D Phillips and Jenny Harrow

Juliet Valdinger 30 May 2017 For Subscribers

Reviewed by Juliet Valdinger. This book is an incredible compendium of essays covering a wide field of knowledge in what some feel is a nascent sector (which it is not). As ‘philanthropy is becoming transnational, …