Why Give a Damn:

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by hard problems, here is a list of resources to help you increase your understanding of the world and then take action.

The author of this post, Paul Polak, has brought 22+ million farmers out of poverty. His work is dedicated to designing products for the Other 90% (the 2.6 billion customers who live on less than $2/day).

Following is a list of the ten books that have been most helpful in increasing my understanding of the world.

  1. Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, by E. F. Schumacher (Blond & Briggs, 1973)
  2. The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, by William Easterly (Penguin Press, 2006)
  3. Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962, by Frank Dikotter (Walker & Company, 2011)
  4. Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948, by Madeleine Albright (Harper, 2012)
  5. Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way, by Jon Krakauer (Anchor, 2011)
  6. Hell’s Cartel: IG Farben and the Making of Hitler’s War Machine, by Diarmuid Jeffreys (Metropolitan Books, 2008)
  7. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang (Simon & Schuster, 1991)
  8. Mao: The Unknown Story, by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday (Knopf, 2005)
  9. Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, by Arthur Herman (Random House, 2012)
  10. The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits, by C.K. Prahalad (Wharton School Publishing, 2004)

What are some books that have had an impact on your understanding of the world?

Paul Polak

Author Paul Polak

Dr. Polak is Founder and CEO of Windhorse International, a for-profit social venture leading a revolution in how companies design, price, market and distribute products to benefit the 2.6 billion customers who live on less than $2 a day. He is an author of The Business Solution To Poverty and Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers.

More by Paul Polak