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The Age of Sustainable Development

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  627 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Jeffrey D. Sachs is one of the world's most perceptive and original analysts of global development. In this major new work he presents a compelling and practical framework for how global citizens can use a holistic way forward to address the seemingly intractable worldwide problems of persistent extreme poverty, environmental degradation, and political-economic injustice: ...more
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Columbia University Press (first published January 20th 2015)
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Santiago Ortiz
This is an essential book for any citizen that wants to understand present and future challenges for humanity. We live in an extremely critical moment, whatever happens in the next 20 years, whatever we as a species decide to do, will probably decide our survival.

This book should be obligatory for last year school students.
Adriaan Jansen
One of the strongest points of this great book is its panoramic overview and holistic approach to sustainable development. At the same time, this is also one of its main weaknesses: Trying to cover so much in just one book inevitably leads to lack of detail. The result: This book is a great but occasionally too basic introduction to sustainable development.

But I am getting ahead of myself. First, some of what I think are the main points of the book.

Our planet faces several existential threats t
Aug 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Sustainable development refers to efforts to set and achieve global mutually reinforcing goals in the areas of economic development, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. The UN has emerged as the primary forum for setting such goals and coordinating action among governments, private foundations, and global businesses to make concrete progress. Real progress has been made in the eight areas prioritized as Millennium Development Goals: (1) Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty, (2) A ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Age of Sustainable Development is the most comprehensive overview of humanity's greatest challenge - how mankind can exist in harmony with Earth's natural systems while solving the many severe problems facing humanity today, as defined by the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Despite the immense challenge of achieving such goals in spite of a grossly unsustainable status quo, UN advisor and super-economist Jeffrey Sachs is dogmatically optimistic that humanity is capable of savi ...more
Jeffrey Sachs basically expands on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by explaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address what he calls extreme poverty, environmental degradation, and political-economic injustice worldwide.

He provides valuable information throughout the book and some insightful solutions to address these issues, such as adaptation by communities to prepare for current and future social, economic, and environmental issues. However, as was the case with the MDG
I met the author today.

this book address the global and humanitarian issues of today's world and showing pass ways and diagnoses of problems, this book whiteout simplification and correctly embracing complexity of the world, is also optimistic about the future and have hope in fate of humanity.

but I met him today at a full Q&A after his lecture and I dare say, he was rather worried about the future and claimed age of Trumps might mislead us our roadmaps and goals of sustainable development such
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so informative, easy to digest and has an awesome amount of graphical content in it to supplement the reading. Definitely recommend reading. I would also highly recommend taking the supplemental online course (offered on coursera). There’s a great website and app interface, and the course is run by Jeffrey Sachs himself!!
The Age of Sustainable Development, by Jeffery D. Sachs, is an ambitious book on the process of encouraging sustainable development as a tool to combat poverty, environmental degradation and rampant health issues, to name a few. This book encompasses many fields, including governance, health, development and environmental studies in Sachs quest to promote the field of sustainable development.

For disclosures sake, Sachs is a key economic research analyst for current UN Secretary General Ban Ki-m
David Larrabee
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Starting with the positive: The book is a good introduction to the economic issues faced by countries that are having a hard time developing. Mixed into the economics is some history, some of the effects of climate change, and an introduction to the United Nations efforts to alleviate poverty and stimulate development. The books takes us to the point where the Sustainable development goals are being considered by the United Nations.

Some negatives: 1) The book gets the physics of the greenhouse e
Kingsley Oteng
Released coincidentally with the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of Resolution 70/1. One of the most defining books of our age? It’s a brisk and light read; energy politics through the eyes of a functional government expert. Here are many otherwise unremarkable threads of discussion tied loosely around notions of sustainable development as a social-political construct and less a presentation of an economic development roadmap: i.e. development is loosely tackled in three broad sw ...more
Pat Rolston
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Outstanding information and very readable format encompassing a very wide breadth of information and disciplines. This comprehensive review of the planets health as a function of metrics that essentially capture all phases of one's quality of life from education to deforestation, biodiversity, and social mobility as examples. The author is an outstanding writer supported by superior graphics illustrating each subject area with the result being an entertaining education regarding absolutely criti ...more
Marlene  H
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you want a thorough introduction to the causes of world poverty and underdevelopment this is it, More surprisingly perhaps, it is also the place to find an optimistic view of how that poverty can be overcome in a way that enables further economic progress for everyone, Progress achieved in a way that respects planetary boundaries and starts to reverse the climate damage we have already instigated.

It's not rocket science. It's pretty straightforward. We know how to do it. With people like Pro
Daniel Aguilar
What an important book! I greatly enjoyed the way Mr. Sachs ties together ideas from multiple disciplines: economics, politics, natural and human sciences, cultural studies... both providing factual background and envisioning solutions for the great challenges of humanity. A good friend who recommended this book to me said: "This book should be obligatory for last year school students". I couldn't agree more. Highly recommended to everyone, no exceptions. ...more
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I approached The Age of Sustainable Development with a fair amount of skepticism but Sachs won me over with his lucid writing and comprehensive view of the daunting challenges ahead. Thankfully, Sachs is not a doomer but approaches what we must do with a realistic analysis of what it will take to avert global catastrophe. Difficult, yes; impossible, no. We have no choice but to try.
Levent Kurnaz
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A must read for the SDGs accepted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015. Jeff is slightly off on the scientific parts, but you can learn the science elsewhere, however you cannot find a more concise explanation of the basics of the Sustainable Development Goals elsewhere...
Valerie Ziegler
Feb 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Loved the book, but the content is very similar to the MOOC that was offered with the same name.
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked the book. The author presented wide range of problems the current society is facing. Among the core ones are Extreme Poverty, Social Inclusion and Sustainable Economic Growth.

The book has two distinguishable parts. The first part focuses more on the problems and explanation of what is percevied as the problem as well as what was and wasn't done in the last decades (Millenium Development Goals - Fighting Extreme Poverty in Developing countries). The second part is about the potential app
Tamires Gonçalves
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is great! Jeffrey D. Sachs is a great teacher and also one of the greatest economists worldwide! This book talks about how the world would become a better place for everyone. Our planet is not sustainable, there is growing income inequality, social exclusion and jobless for youth+ Environmental Crises. Sustainable Development is the Holistic Integration of Economic, Social, and Environmental Objectives in an Approach to Scientific Analysis, Governance, Problem Solving, and Human Action ...more
Julian Dunn
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this book as part of a Columbia University / Coursera online course. Excellent survey of all aspects of sustainable development, including energy, climate change, food safety, health, urban development, and more. My only compliant -- not that it's really Sachs's fault -- is that, despite his apparently boundless optimism for humanity's ability to save itself from certain doom, the facts show through. No more clear is this in the election of a US Senate, House of Representatives, and Preside ...more
Anxhela Coba
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, important, empowering. Sachs lays down pure facts with stats and data visualizations portraying our changing world in the context of historical and present-day social, cultural and economical development. He's insights and ideas shared within The Age of Sustainable Development are undeniably inspiring, intelligent and impactful. This book is for everyone and everyone should read this book. ...more
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This serves as an essential book to understand the broad urgency, challenges, and progress on sustainable development. Prof. Sachs' experiences being a practitioner for a long time in the field makes it more compelling. For anyone seeking to understand the issue, this definitely could be a go-to starter. However.. realizing that this is a largely very political issue, it sure provides a balanced view having read other books on similar topic. ...more
Emily Greene
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't recommend this book more highly if you're interested in understanding the interconnections between the economy, education, health, equality, and the environment on a global scale. Sachs is a fantastic teacher - his arguments are science-based and he is honest about the enormous challenges ahead, while also presenting potential solutions and process to address them. ...more
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Overall, the book is quite thorough in looking at sustainable development from an economist's point of view. However, noted that the millennial project directed by the author was a failure, prompting the optimists to consider the practicality and reality when it comes to a so-called sustainable development. ...more
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a textbook for one of my classes, and I found it incredibly compelling. Sachs lays out Sustainable Development in an easy-to-read way. Although a lot of the figures on climate change and other issues seem grim, Sachs mixes reality with hope that we can do the hard work of changing our reality. Although I didn’t finish the entire textbook, I would recommend this book!
Deniz Hacıalioğlu
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of all time. A guide book to understand the world and to change it for a better future founded upon principles of an economy which is socially inclusive, environmentally sustainable and well governed. A must read for everyone who is on the track to achieve humanity's to do list, global goals. ...more
Brad Janocha
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Perfect primer to sustainability and international development. We've seen a lot of lows in the five years since the SDGs were ratified. But there has also been progress. Sachs didn't pull his punches in this book, but he did manage to leave me hopeful. We must keep fighting for sustainable development. ...more
Tim Sweeney
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Each of Jeffrey Sachs' books that cover sustainability, the environment, economics, agriculture, government, the working class, the poor, the extreme poor and ways to improve life for all is more comprehensive with a wider range and scope, even better written, more collaborative between disciplines and thus more optimistic in having the information and tools to better succeed. A broad, overall plan is a good thing in a complex world with the ability to adapt and be flexible. ...more
Thao Nguyen
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book makes “changing the world” directional and attainable. Some parts are repetitive but overall it is extremely well structured. This sets an excellent foundation for deeper research in development.
David Vazquez
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s really amazing, emotional at times. Eye-opening to this age’s most urgent global problems and some solutions that have worked before. Sometimes grim, sometimes uplifting, but definitely vital for us to know its content.
Nelson Orfiano
I appreciate this book however, it somewhat needs a political will, it is everybody's concern because we are preparing our next generation to a better world. As a college professor, its good to teach that this millennial children as they are the next teachers of the next generations. ...more
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Jeffrey David Sachs, is an American economist, public policy analyst, and former director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, where he holds the title of University Professor, the highest rank Columbia bestows on its faculty. He is known as one of the world's leading experts on economic development and the fight against poverty.

Sachs is the Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development

News & Interviews

  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
13 likes · 7 comments
“We have entered a new era. Global society is interconnected as never before. [...] I suggest that we have arrived in the Age of Sustainable Development.” 1 likes
“measures like GDP per person give only a rough reflection of the overall level of wellbeing of an individual or a nation. But for sustainable development we are interested in raising human wellbeing, not just in raising income, still less in a mad race for more riches for people who are already rich. Therefore, it is important to ask how we can best measure wellbeing (or life satisfaction) beyond GDP per capita.” 0 likes
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