We’re excited to be hosting multiple book groups of Winners Take All- The Elite Charade of Changing the World by author Anand Giridharadas over the next few weeks!
People will be meeting in neighborhoods from Hyde Park to Evanston to discuss this book, and we thank Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider from Have You Heard for the great podcast they did that made us aware of this book: Win/Win: Why Billionaire Philanthropists are Bad at School Reform.
Some things you can do to amplify the collective book group experience:
Tweet during or after your book club and tag the author @AnandWrites and share that you are one of @ILRaiseYourHand book club groups discussing the book. Share a common theme or conclusion that came out of your book discussion. Feel free to tag @HaveYouHeardPod too, as they will be happy to hear that their podcast has led to such a broad discussion.
UPDATED: The book has a Twitter handle: @WinnersTakeAll. Please use that as well!
Here are potential questions for your book club....
We wondered and debated:
- Does how much things can change depend on the type of organization or cause that the philanthropist is involved with?
- Should we assess how elite philanthropists approach their attitude toward philanthropy differently by their generation or type of industry they come from (e.g. consulting, government, academia, corporate, etc)?
- Does someone’s attitude toward their ability to solve problems through philanthropy depend on the recipient organization type? Are some charities/causes more able to offer truly-solvable problems?
- Is it possible that elite philanthropists don’t (want to?) avail themselves of enough context or expert advice to be truly world-changing?
- Is philanthropy simply a tax-reducing convenience for some?
- Is there purposeful coalition building that brings together philanthropic elites who want to solve a problem with partners in business, government, foundations, nonprofits and other social sectors who can collectively bring their expertise to bear on problems? (or would elites rather not convene such a messy group and just do it themselves, whether or not it works?)
- Does the old adage “To someone with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail” hold true for philanthropists who only understand building companies or apps to solve a world-level problem?
- What about the primary thesis that if the elite were not engaged in systems that perpetuate inequalities to begin with, there is no need to invent solutions to “solve problems of poverty, inaccessibility, etc?” Is that too harsh an analysis? Are some problems inevitable given limited resources?
- What does a truly just world look like?