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The Fix: How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World in Decline

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  610 ratings  ·  114 reviews
A provocative look at the world's most difficult, seemingly ineradicable problems—and the surprising stories of the countries that solved them.
We all know the bad news. The heady promise of the Arab Spring has given way to repression, civil war, and an epic refugee crisis. Economic growth is sputtering. Income inequality is rising around the world. And the threat of ISIS
ebook, 320 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by Tim Duggan Books
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Nick Jones
I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.

The subtitle of this book is a bit misleading, in that The Fix suggests itself to be How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World in Decline; however, a more accurate subtitle would have been Ten Stories About How Nine Nations and One City Managed to Overcome Specific Challenges. It's an important distinction, because while author Jonathan Tepperman seems extremely sold on the idea that particular nations' (and one particular cit
Daniel Clausen
I read this book (and watched Tepperman's talk for the Council on Foreign Relations) as a counterpoint to Randall L. Schweller's "Age of Entropy" theory. I tend to be more in the mindset of Schweller's age of Entropy these days. That is to say, I tend to be easily persuaded that global trends in politics, information technology, and economics are making the world less governable, more extremist, and problems less-solvable. I also tend to think (but hope otherwise) that the world is devolving.

Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction

The Fix is a collection of case studies detailing how some countries were able to overcome challenges that seemed to be insurmountable. From the poverty stricken favelas of Brazil to the fertile garden of Islamic radicalism that should've, but never really strangled Indonesia, this is a book of good news success stories. Case studies include Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, Rwanda, Singapore, Botswana, South Korea, Mexico, and the United States. Who are the protagonists of this feel-good book? Courage
Tomek Helbin
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is no over-arching theory or grand strategy in these 9 success stories in public policy from around the world, but a strong showcase for the power of ingenious pragmatism. A very good read.
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-politics
In this book, a variety of powerful people, many of whom are unsaintlike, successfully tackle seemingly intractable problems, with the result of the world being a better place. It sometimes (but not always) turns out that the creative thinking, courageous decision-making, etc., that are required to solve difficult problems grow not from the Gandhi-like altruistic concern for the general welfare of the world, or even part of it, but from baser motives, like a desire to win enough popularity for l ...more
Well written, concise, varied. Good amount of history

However the devil's in the details. Marked a number of strawman fallacies in the introduction, data came off as selective at times, the stat about hedge fund income vs kindergarten teachers didn't include numbers, looked up & it ballparks that the top 25 hedge fund managers make ~330M salary. High stakes will fit a power law. At some point in the Singapore corruption chapter it mentions bribing the ambulance for a ride, checked reference, it's
I got this book as part of a giveaway from Goodreads.

This book is a remarkably poorly written compilation of neoliberal half-solutions. In classic journalistic style, Tepperman includes unnecessary biographical information to add fluff to an otherwise sparse argument. I don't disagree with every proposal - he includes basic income and open immigration laws - but digging into one case to validate each proposal is a fool's errand. Some chapters, like the one on Botswana avoiding the resource curse
Warren Benton
Most immigrants are ambitious are hardworking - you'd half to be to uproot yourself and your family and transport them halfway around the world.

Brazil just didn't give out foodstamps but gave families money to keep their kids in school. The president saw how children were being pulled from school and made to work. This continues low education and carries on the cycle. The president wanted to break the cycle by helping make the next generation even more employable.

Similar to Gladwell. Tepperman l
mary odianjo
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
suggested for aspiring leaders and those already leading

This book gives practical examples of how issues such as poverty, insecurity and other governance related problems were tackled with a r e verifiable examples. Canada's successful immigration policy, Brazil's attempt to reduce poverty, Singapore's journey away from corruption, Indonesia's struggle with fundamentalism and the United States' pursuit of alternative to energy sources underscore the point that good policies need leaders who are
Nancy Mills
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Kind of interesting. Definitely allows a more optimistic perspective than the news we are constantly bombarded with about how bad everything is getting.
Not impressed with the very beginning of the book where the author marks himself as biased in the leftward direction, with the usual snarky remarks to the effect of "how could Americans be such stupid cretins as to elect a president like Trump" etc. etc., which totally misses the point that, in our case, whatever strategies our government had bee
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found it to be an easy and interesting read, considering the subjects tackled. Tepperman's optimism is welcome, especially when it includes solutions. He's done the work, traveled for interviews and this book is a great way to report back. ...more
Mbogo J
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
As I was finishing up this book, China quietly slid into a dictatorship(the review is written in March 2018) Donald's White House is hemorrhaging staff and off course Putin does not think he is going to die so he has not bothered to appoint successors or even lay ground for a succession plan. If that is not depressing enough I am sure climate science has another trove of grim data to further pall the mood... Against such a background it is understandable why I was drawn to this book.

Tepperman tr
Donna Hines
What if the answers to fix it all were right in front of you?
Economic growth is a disaster, income inequality is on the rise, and the threat of terrorists along with foreign powers along with extremists groups such as ISIS threatens the norm.
Jonathan Tepperman's The Fix shows a clear cut picture that of the people, their reality, their powerful success stories amid the chaos.
For every problem there is a solution you just have to be brave and courageous enough to locate from within.
Tepperman has
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How do you govern a country impacted by terrorism, economic depression or inequality, or the enemies in the aftermath of s bloody civil war, or a legislative body in gridlock? This collection of innovative solutions to seemingly intractable problems is a paean to pragmatism, negotiation and statesmanship - with timely nods to the eggs which are broken for every omelette. Recommended to anyone who feels like the world is a little bleak at times, and would like their faith in the future restored.
A Mig
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: society-economy
I'm not impressed - oversimplified, anecdotal, and hides most of the downsides for all examples. ...more
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Fix: How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World in Decline by Jonathan Tepperman

“The Fix” is a collection of interesting global case studies of how a few outstanding leaders tackled great societal problems. Journalist and author Jonathan Tepperman take readers on a global journey and identifies ten insurmountable challenges and the solutions found for each case. This well-researched 320-page book includes the following ten chapters: 1. Profits to the People, 2. Let the Right Ones In, 3. Kill
“The failure of others to act is no excuse for one’s own inaction, and that during difficult times, leaders—if they really hope to lead—must be ready to act alone, no matter the consequences.”

I found the book insightful and enjoyed most of the 10 case studies presented - in particular the ones featuring Brazil, Rwanda, Botswana, Indonesia and New York. A lot of it, as highlighted by the book, was circumstantial—born out of crisis—but more importantly underpinning these “successes”, limited as so
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Finally, an optimistic book about our future. Tepperman looked at how countries had fixed some very difficult problems: corruption, reconciliation post civil war and ethnic cleansing, corruption, resource curse, messy partisan government, immigration with racist local opposition, and city government response to terrorism when the federal government is unhelpful. He showed that idealism is dead; pragmatism was what worked every single time.
Rob Wilson
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Americans who are dissatisfied with their politicians should read this!

While the necessities of oversimplification to make a readable book are noted, the ideas and examples are well outlined. The ability to chose global examples fits how we all should analyze these problems. Well done.
Heather Pearson
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a very readable book. The ten examples cited are very different except that they were all deemed unsolveable problems. Ingenuity and dedication can achieve so much. I read this along with my son for his economics class. We had some good discussions before he prepared his paper for submission.. I'm looking forward to his book study for this term. ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting book. It talks about leaders that looked at things differently and had a good result. We certainly need that now as we are basically leaderless.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Optimism in a time of despair. A great read for those looking for solutions and strategies to counter today's great problems. ...more
Glenn Humplik
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at how various countries around the world have handled problems currently plaguing North America. A bit biased towards the positive but still thought provoking.
Matt Hooper
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Over the course of the two decades I've now spent working in this field as a reporter, an editor, and a reader, I've increasingly been struck by how much of the writing concentrates on diagnosing problems. Don't get me wrong, a lot of that analysis is superb -- the handiwork of some very smart people. What they do is vital. But so is taking the next step and asking what we should do about these problems." -- excerpted from pages 218-19 of "The Fix."

"The Fix" is the twentieth book I've read this
Joe Rohaly
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My latest book find from the library started out sounding like a drag. Most books on Political Science seem to be somewhat un-entertaining. Nevertheless I read them to learn. Jonathan Tepperman wrote this book and titled it The Fix, How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World of Decline. Right there the title caught my attention because I don’t believe the world is in decline at all. It is evolving onto a new era, but it is not in decline. In fact, I believe that to be stupid. As bad as the USA is ...more
Peter Vanham
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Who knew that Botswana provided a solution to the “resource curse” or that South Korea provides a template on how to continue economic growth in already well-developed nations? Tepperman in this book helps the reader discover and re-discover countries and leaders, providing a wealth of insights on how to govern effectively along the way.

One thing I particularly liked were the anecdotes of the interviews Tepperman did with the foreign leaders covered in the book; like the one where former Brazili
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Took this from another review because it was exactly how I felt:

The subtitle of this book is a bit misleading, in that The Fix suggests itself to be How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World in Decline; however, a more accurate subtitle would have been Ten Stories About How Nine Nations and One City Managed to Overcome Specific Challenges. It's an important distinction, because while author Jonathan Tepperman seems extremely sold on the idea that particular nations' (and one particular city's) s
This was a very interesting book discussing solutions to major political, economic and social world issues based on concrete case studies. Tepperman's analysis tends to be well documented and he has offered a multitude of case studies from many different periods and geographical areas (but where is Europe?). However, his analysis has its ups and downs. As he himself confesses, he puts far too much emphasis on agency (individual actors who have been pivotal in bringing about change). This means t ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Starts by covering his view of the 10 big challenges in the world today. Interestingly does not include climate change or water. Also does not seem to anticipate or even contemplate a Trump win. Neo liberal orientation.

Canada US New York Mexico Brazil Rwanda Botswana Indonesia South Korea Singapore

The success stories from countries around the world should be very interesting and may even have application and certain other countries though it is almost impossible to see how these individual succe
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it
The Intro led me to believe there was some sort of secret trick to getting the US out of its postindustrial rut ... which, of course, there’s not - if there was one it would have been done already. What followed were stories of economies - mostly “developing” ones that actually sort of developed, including some that aren’t normally talked about much (looking at you, Botswana). Neat.

The problem is this is ultimately a book about survivorship bias: every nation’s lesson for how to thrive is a less
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Jonathan Tepperman is a journalist and author. He is currently the Managing Editor of Foreign Affairs magazine.

Born and raised in Canada, Tepperman started his career in foreign policy in the mid-1990s, working as a speechwriter for a US ambassador. He then spent time as a foreign correspondent before joining Foreign Affairs as a junior editor in 1998. A few years later, he moved to Newsweek, wher

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