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  • Redefining Usury

    April 2016

    John Steele Gordon

    How a self-interested banker helped millions of people prosper. In this book review we learn about Jacob Fugger, who lived from 1459 to 1525, and the ways he powerfully nudged the modern world into existence.

  • Peggy Guggenheim: The Shock of the Modern

    April 2016

    Jen Para

    The poor Guggenheim. 

  • Shakespeare’s Savior

    January 2016

    Algis Valiunas

    Henry Folger made it his life’s work to gather up scattered British treasure and bring it to America for conservation. 

  • Books in Brief

    January 2016

    Pat Burke

    In her well-timed work The Prize, which takes an in-depth look at the battles in Newark over Mark Zuckerberg’s gift, veteran journalist Dale Russakoff offers her analysis. 

  • Books in Brief

    October 2015

    Scott Walter

    Do you think the suffering of human beings is more important than the suffering of other animals? Do you think it’s valuable to know the people who run a charity you support? In his new book, controversial bioethics professor Peter Singer argues that these views and behaviors are mistaken.

  • Where Boys Flounder

    October 2015

    Dan Fishman, Matt Bazik

    Today's schools are inhospitable to many young males. Two books show us that this educational decay will mean worse things to come if we don’t restore excellence in the schooling of both sexes.

  • Reinvented in California

    October 2015

    Chris Weinkopf

    Howard Ahmanson's golden touch. 

  • Books in Brief

    October 2015

    Reviews on two recent reads about school reform and data-driven philanthropy: Reign of Error and The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving. 

  • The Other One Percent

    July 2015

    Andrea Scott

    In For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Washington Post associate editor Rajiv Chandrasekaran argue that it is imperative for U.S. citizens to become more engaged with our troops.

  • Something Out of Nothing

    July 2015

    John Steele Gordon

    It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. And invention is the father of philanthropy, because it creates the wealth that enables great generosity. Now a dazzling new book uncovers philanthropy’s grandparentage.

  • Embarrassment of Riches?

    July 2015

    John Steele Gordon

    Robert Dalzell's new book on the "problem of vast individual fortunes" is a little threadbare, argues John Steele Gordon.

  • When Charities Behave Badly

    July 2015

    Suzanne Garment and Leslie Lenkowsky

    Reviewing Ken Stern's harsh critique of American charities, Leslie Lenkowsky and Suzanne Garment defend diversity and freedom in philanthropy.

  • More Than Just Academics

    April 2015

    Andy Smarick

    Some might view the decline of Catholic schools as a Catholic problem. In reality it is an urban education problem that should concern everyone. Catholic schools have power and potential beyond book learning.

  • Save the Pawns

    January 2015

    Tate Watkins

    Morally neutral approaches to poverty do not exist,” William Easterly writes in his latest book, The Tyranny of Experts. “Any approach to development will either respect the rights of the poor or it will violate them.” Too many aid agencies treat people in developing countries like chess pieces. 

  • The Slow Boat to Utopia

    January 2015

    Travis Kavulla

    Ten years in, the ballyhooed Millennium Villages Project is mostly a bust. In Nina Munk’s book The Idealist, Columbia University economist and celebrity academic Jeffrey Sachs, who made a splash with his plan to engineer the end of poverty as we know it, is an ambivalent figure.

  • Four Brothers and the Apocalypse

    October 2014

    Tom Riley

    Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty—a surprising biography of the Koch family that offers a fascinating window into their life and philanthropy. 

  • Benefits of a Gift Gone Wrong

    July 2014

    Jeffrey Cain

    By engaging in six years of hard-fought litigation at stiff personal and financial cost, the Robertson children held Princeton University accountable to the agreement that the school had voluntarily made with their parents.

  • School Magic

    July 2014

    Dustin Petzold

    Since 1998, 139,000 students have had their life courses altered by the Children’s Scholarship Fund, a program created by donors. In her new book Opportunity and Hope, Naomi Schaefer Riley brings us the stories of ten of the students who benefited from this effort.

  • Faithful Giving

    April 2014

    Scott Walter

    The latest social science has good news for philanthropists: Giving profits the giver as well as the receiver. This win-win verdict is actually nothing new. It is a central tenet of the three Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—as a new book by Gary Anderson makes clear.