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

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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


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. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011


A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

A thoughtful program for eradicating poverty from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted.

“America’s poverty is not for lack of resources,” writes Desmond. “We lack something else.” That something else is compassion, in part, but it’s also the lack of a social system that insists that everyone pull their weight—and that includes the corporations and wealthy individuals who, the IRS estimates, get away without paying upward of $1 trillion per year. Desmond, who grew up in modest circumstances and suffered poverty in young adulthood, points to the deleterious effects of being poor—among countless others, the precarity of health care and housing (with no meaningful controls on rent), lack of transportation, the constant threat of losing one’s job due to illness, and the need to care for dependent children. It does not help, Desmond adds, that so few working people are represented by unions or that Black Americans, even those who have followed the “three rules” (graduate from high school, get a full-time job, wait until marriage to have children), are far likelier to be poor than their White compatriots. Furthermore, so many full-time jobs are being recast as contracted, fire-at-will gigs, “not a break from the norm as much as an extension of it, a continuation of corporations finding new ways to limit their obligations to workers.” By Desmond’s reckoning, besides amending these conditions, it would not take a miracle to eliminate poverty: about $177 billion, which would help end hunger and homelessness and “make immense headway in driving down the many agonizing correlates of poverty, like violence, sickness, and despair.” These are matters requiring systemic reform, which will in turn require Americans to elect officials who will enact that reform. And all of us, the author urges, must become “poverty abolitionists…refusing to live as unwitting enemies of the poor.” Fortune 500 CEOs won’t like Desmond’s message for rewriting the social contract—which is precisely the point.

A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593239919

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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