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Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  241 ratings  ·  28 reviews
For philanthropists of the past, charity was often a matter of simply giving money away. For 'philanthrocapitalists' - the new generation of billionaires who are reshaping the way they give - it's like business. Largely trained in the corporate world, these 'social investors' are using big-business-style strategies and expecting results and accountability to match. In Phil ...more
Kindle Edition, 321 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Bloomsbury Press (first published September 30th 2008)
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May 18, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bishop is very naive in some ways- he definitely sees through rose-tinted glasses, believing the super-rich are the potential saviors of the modern world. The book lacks any kind of depth of understanding of the other sides of the "philanthrocapitalist" equation- billionaires don't grow on trees and profits don't just happen- in most cases they are made by the exploitation of other people and/or the environment.
Austin Carroll Keeley
A decent introduction to the giving patterns of the 1%, but this book has several major failings. First, published in 2008 the book cannot take into account the changes in philanthropy due to the financial crisis, nor can it recognize the general population's frustration with the super rich. Second, the book's central thesis- the rich can make a big difference by giving away their money- isn't exactly rocket science. Bishop and Green rely too much on name dropping and a few case studies/intervie ...more
Perhaps because I just finished Zissner's "On Writing Well," I couldn't help but notice that this book needs a good edit. In particular, I almost stopped reading it right near the end when I found I just couldn't take another use of the word "whilst" when "while" would suffice. WHY??? Why would anyone EVER use the word "whilst," let alone OVER AND OVER AGAIN?? I sometimes found it hard to concentrate on the content when all those "whilsts" kept popping up all over the place. Also, there were a n ...more
Ankur Maniar
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is like an encyclopedia of the world of philanthrophy. You cant help but admire the amazing work which is being done by billionaires like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Rockfeller Foundation, Oprah Winfrey, Rockstar Bono and many others. Amongst all the terrible newsflow that we hear these days, this book gives you an insight about the tremendous goodness that prevails in this world. The capitalists, mostly portrayed as evil are the ones who are trying to make a difference by adopting a busine ...more
Kressel Housman
What an inspiring book! I knew a little of the philanthropy and activism of such famous folks as Bill Gates, Bono, Bill Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey, but this book gave real detail. The biggest surprises were that Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest "devils" in the financial crisis, has a solid history of philanthropy. One of its founders was a big supporter of the NAACP! Also interesting was the Robin Hood Foundation, a foundation run by hedge fund managers to fight poverty in NYC. Like with Social ...more
David Sasaki
Jul 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
The "Oscars of philanthropy," the Clinton Global Initiative, took place last week in New York City. Here's a typical on-stage exchange:

After Ben Affleck introduced Hillary Rodham Clinton, she heaped praise on his work as a humanitarian as well as a movie director. Clinton said she enjoyed working with Affleck at the State Department as he was researching “Argo,” which won the Academy Award for best picture in 2012.“I’m hoping that he films Argo 2,” Clinton joked. “I’m now available.”

If plutocrat
Aug 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book with some interesting stories, but really a book by liberals for liberals. The general tone is repeated amazement that capitalism and businessmen could actually help others.

They also misrepresent research showing that conservatives give more to charity. Quoting Arthur Brooks, they note that those who are religious give more to charity. What the authors ignore, however, is Brooks' primary conclusion, that conservatives give more.

At the end of the book, the authors demand that billionaires
Dennis Littrell
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know about saving the world, but they can help a lot

Throughout most of human history the rich have used their money to make more money and, quite frankly, they have often done so at the expense of those without much. This has always been considered the way things are: the rich get richer and the poor get…well, you supply your own line. However in this, the age of the super rich, things are changing; and in this engagingly written book, Matthew Bishop, the New York bureau chief of the Eco
Nov 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm kind of meh on this. The discussion of public-private partnership throughout the book was useful, but the notion that massive accumulation of wealth can undo the harm of, um, massive accumulation of wealth gets only a superficial glance at best.

1. "Generous" cannot be measured by the volume of money someone donates. Generous is a measure of sacrifice, not abundance. Today's ultrarich are not more generous than the rest of the population - they just have a crapload more money.

2. The idea that
Glenn Williams
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The authors have conducted and analyzed lengthy interviews with social entrepreneurs, wealthy individuals, successful business leaders and high profile global figures to substantiate a significant relationship between wealth entrepreneurs and business leaders taking the initiative in creating solutions to solving social problems.

This is a great read for anyone working in the NGO and/or fundraising world who are wanting to understand the relationship between capitalism and funding solutions to so
Reads like the Reaganomics of philanthropic capitalism where it's up to the superrich to drive social good.

Many great points about the merits of applying capitalistic principles to nfp work, but I think loses sight of and offers little in the way of applying culture change at all levels of society.

Also, they seem to have a huge man-crush on Bill Gates. Not that the man isn't crush worthy for his efforts, but the book may have instead be titled:

"How Bill Gates will save the world with money."
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: policy
Honestly I'm not certain how I feel about this book. It's certainly interesting, and the history is good, but now that I'm finished, I'm not sure that I learned anything new from it.

It is enjoyable though, you can tell while reading it that it was authored by a journalist, it kind of feels like a magazine piece if that makes any sense.
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
This book was well written, but too boring for me. It was an assigned book club book for my office, but we all agreed we didn't want to be reading this sort of thing on our down time. I don't think anyone finished it. The half I read was well done, and I liked the inside scoop. If I'm ever heinously bored I'll try and finish it. ...more
Mar 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good overall summary about the changing role of philanthropy today, and excellent research regarding current main players in the field. Probably a must read if this is your field. If not, you can take it or leave it.
Jan 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is chock a block full of interesting data and examples of people or organisations doing 'stuff', but I found it a bit hard going. I know it is non-fiction, but a stronger narrative and possibly leaving some of the research in the drawer could have helped. ...more
Dec 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was nice to read about historical, cultural figures; and the trend towards more business "rigor" in philanthropy. The book is more survey than analysis. ...more
Mar 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very interesting
Jun 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Good as an introductory book, but a bit underwhelming.
Cheryl Ryan
Oct 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great and worth the read.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
Gave up on it 65% of the way through because it got extremely repetitive. Maybe I'll come back to it someday. We'll see. ...more
Feb 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a page-turner, but interesting and informative. I read the 2008 version, which felt a little dated because the book relies heavily on facts and figures.
Jun 03, 2011 is currently reading it
great book.
Dan Graham
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philanthropy
A very fast walkthrough of famous philanthropists, foundations and organizations -- a bit too detail oriented for me.
Brandon Steenson
I really enjoyed this book. It looked at a lot of different facets of the changing realm of NGOs and the philanthropists that support them.
Gregory Stuart
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Social entrepreneurs
Fantastic book!
Mar 13, 2010 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Rudolph Waels
This is a good introduction to philantrocapitalism. Some of the stories were interesting. For instance, Robert Reich saying that Corporate America spends more on lobbying politicians than on philanthropy or a consulting firm saying that the average grant of a foundation is $ 50 000 per project, which means it does not have much impact. Overall you get the impression that this is a very limited solution, but that we are still early in the game. The authors also presents many of the innovative or ...more
Mathew Kirk
Insightful, but glosses a lot of content very quickly.
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Feb 20, 2019
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MATTHEW BISHOP is the US Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief of The Economist, and the co-author, with Michael Green, of several acclaimed books, including "Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World" and "The Road From Ruin". His first e-book, again written with Mr Green, is "In Gold We Trust? The Future of Money in an Age of Uncertainty", which will be published by Amazon and The ...more

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