The author admits he doesn't have answers to the big question about how to get aid to the poor more effectively, but then puts out some ideas. He proposes a distinction between Planners and Searchers and tries to support an argument that Planners, who work from the top down, all too often fail and Searchers, who work on the ground, should be empowered more to find local solutions. Trouble is, he talks like a Planner and draws immense amounts of information from his extensive experience working for the World Bank (who are of course Planners). He shows again and again how top-down approaches fail, and occasionally how on-the-ground approaches succeed, but his examples don't always make a coherent argument. For example, the global elimination of smallpox is touted as a great success, but surely that started as a 'utopian' idea from the Planners. His message of foreign aid needing to be more transparent and accountable and the poor needing to have more say, is definitely supported, but the devil, as they say, is in the detail. Overall, essential reading for anyone who wants to understand international aid better.
Adelaide, South Australia