Authoritative, all-encompassing, and richly detailed; a highly valuable partnership playbook.



A business consultant touts cross-sector partnerships as the best way to meet major challenges.

In the Introduction to this intriguing debut book, the author relates the story of the unexpected symbiotic relationship between global food conglomerate PepsiCo and a poor farmer in India whom the company depended on to supply potatoes. As Schmida writes, “We can start to see why increasing productivity and the incomes of farmers in the company’s supply chains is important to PepsiCo.” This dramatic example sets the tone for a work that explores why partnerships are vital to attempting to solve the world’s “wicked problems,” which have “economic, social, and environmental dimensions that interact with one another in ways that are ever-changing and unpredictable.” The volume first describes the nature of cross-sector partnerships, how they work, and their importance. It then delves very thoroughly into the nuts and bolts of building and managing such alliances. One of the more compelling aspects of the book is the way the author integrates stories into the realm of global partnerships. Virtually every chapter begins with a captivating anecdote, each from a different part of the world, that illustrates and supports the content of that section. This technique is effective because cross-sector partnerships are by their very nature intricate. For example, a project to introduce “affordable broadband internet to rural communities” in Sri Lanka is a springboard for exploring a partnership framework called LABS (Learn, Align, Build, Scale/Sustain). In describing the Sri Lanka project, Schmida is able to fully explain the individual components of LABS, relate them directly to the project’s phases, and demonstrate the practical application of a conceptual framework.

Throughout the engaging text, the author continues to utilize a well-honed, case study approach—setting up a difficulty, discussing its complexity, showing why the problem could not be solved without the help of partners, and looking at the collaborators. Schmida does a superb job of covering all aspects of partnerships: examining types, identifying high-potential ones, forging and managing a collaboration (including a seven-step process), securing commitments, effectively structuring an alliance, negotiating, and writing agreements. He also deftly addresses how to get things done with partners, citing and dissecting “the six attributes of successful partnership implementation” as well as how to track and measure results of the collaborative efforts. Not surprisingly, partnerships often tackle projects that begin with a pilot and grow exponentially. A chapter entitled “Moving Up or Moving On” discusses conditions surrounding the scaling of projects as well as sustaining a partnership’s results and, if need be, responsibly ending an alliance. In a concluding chapter, Schmida offers his expert counsel on the personal qualities required of individuals who want to excel at building and managing partnerships. In addition, he clearly portrays the specific roles individuals need to play in a partnership: networker, champion, project overseer, organizational sage, relationship manager, and, if benefactor agencies are involved, donor navigator.

Authoritative, all-encompassing, and richly detailed; a highly valuable partnership playbook. (charts, appendices)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9790080-8-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Rivertowns Books

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.


“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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