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Book reviews

Mr Five Per Cent: The many lives of Calouste Gulbenkian, the world’s richest man

David Cutler 3 September 2019 For Subscribers

Reviewed by David Cutler, Baring Foundation ‘Any man who dies rich, dies disgraced’ wrote Andrew Carnegie. So what are we to make of Calouste Gulbenkian who died in 1955 worth roughly £5 billion in today’s …


Under the Big Tree: Extraordinary stories from the movement to end neglected tropical diseases

Dr Daniel Cooper 3 September 2019 For Subscribers

Reviewed by Dr Daniel Cooper, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, Australia Under the Big Tree combines medical science, deeply human stories and a call to arms. The term ‘neglected tropical diseases’ encompasses a broad …


The Tyranny of Metrics

Michael Alberg-Seberich 4 June 2019 For Subscribers

Reviewed by Michael Alberg-Seberich, Wider Sense, Germany How many letters does the word philanthropy have? Twelve, exactly. How many vowels and consonants? Three and nine. What does that say about the actual impact of philanthropy? …

The Purpose of Capital: Elements of impact, financial flows, and natural being

Philo Alto 4 June 2019 For Subscribers

Reviewed by Philo Alto, Asia Value Advisors Today’s global economic progress is increasingly being overshadowed by worsening inequality, socio-economic and ideological fractures, and the dangers of climate change. In response, there has been a growing …

Just Giving: Why philanthropy is failing democracy and how it can do better

Eva Rehse 5 March 2019

Reviewed by Eva Rehse, Global Greengrants Fund, Europe The latest book by Rob Reich, co-director of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, is the most recent in a series of examinations on the …

Rich Russians: From oligarchs to bourgeoisie

Maria Chertok 5 March 2019

Reviewed by Maria Chertok, CAF Russia This unique book is the result of over a decade of research into the phenomenon of the Russian new rich, including dozens of interviews with members of what Schimpfössl …

The Givers: Wealth, power and philanthropy in a new gilded age

Ingrid Srinath 4 December 2018 For Subscribers

Reviewed by Ingrid Srinath, Ashoka University, India What are the consequences of surging philanthropic resources and ambition when public spending is falling and disillusion with democracy is growing? It’s interesting to contrast the US perspective …

Winners Take All: The elite charade of changing the world

Eva Rehse 4 December 2018 For Subscribers

Reviewed by Eva Rehse, Global Greengrants Fund, Europe ‘The master’s tools,’ Audre Lorde famously wrote, ‘will never dismantle the master’s house.’ Anand Giridharadas’ new book is a reflection on what this means for the change-makers …

‘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 …