Saturday, January 5, 2008

Life Changing Reading

I have finished book one of 100. "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins is one of a few books that I've read in my lifetime that I can honestly say is provocative and life-changing. Perkins spent several years as an "Economic Hitman" - one of those people who works for American firms in foreign countries helping the foreign country secure large loans for economic development projects - roads, schools, power plants and the like. The spoils of these loans go to companies just like the one that Perkins worked for and to a select few citizens of the foreign country. It's disgusting. Amazon's readers give it about 3.5 stars and I would give it a 4 or 4.5 of five. It is thought provoking and a little guilt-creating for me as someone who really truly wants to make the world better but doesn't know where to start. Criticisms from Amazon reviewers include allegations of a political bent that perhaps I am too obtuse to detect and that it is vague. I feel that if more details of creating optimistic, likely false economic forecasts to secure World Bank financing were revealed, there would be incredible fallout internationally for the author and the United States as well as several large global corporations and government organizations. It needed to be vague. However, it does tell stories and illustrate some of the arrogance that affects the international image of the United States and its people. I highly recommend that my six loyal blog readers give this one a try.

If, like me, you already aspire to make the world a better place, this will further fuel the fire. If you don't, perhaps it will light the spark. While not on par with William Lederer's "The Ugly American", I highly recommend this book. In fact, reading both in some order will definitely change your life. I guarantee it. "The Ugly American" was suggested to me by my Uncle when I was about 12. I took his advice and checked a well-worn copy out of the library. I've not been the same since.

If you read either one, please let me know what you think.