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Dennis Whittle

Entries by Dennis Whittle

The World Bank as Convener First, Lender Second?

(0) Comments | Posted July 27, 2011 | 6:15 PM

"Are you sure we should do this in the World Bank atrium?"

"Yes, sir," I said.  "Why not?"

I tried to act confident, but I was terrified.  It was February 1998, and on the phone was a managing director, second only in power to the president of the World Bank....

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Got to Admit It's Getting Better

(0) Comments | Posted July 26, 2011 | 8:09 PM

"Over the last one hundred years, the physical well being of the world's population has improved far more than in all of the previous natural history of humankind."

Charles Kenny's recent book Getting Better is an antidote to the pessimism many of us feel about the state of the...

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RIP, Aid Watch

(0) Comments | Posted May 24, 2011 | 3:24 PM

On May 19, Bill Easterly and Laura Freschi announced that their blog Aid Watch was ending, after running about two years. I was shocked and (after checking...
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Treating Employees as People

(1) Comments | Posted May 23, 2011 | 4:44 PM

  • Over the period 1998-2008, the stock of the companies voted "best to work for" appreciated nearly seven times as much as the stock of the average company.
  • ...
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What if USPS Really Listened?

(5) Comments | Posted May 2, 2011 | 12:56 PM

Fatal error: Unable to open file
That was the response when I clicked on the Email Us link at the US Postal Service...
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An Expedia for International Aid?

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2011 | 4:46 PM

Will the successful aid agency of the future look more like Expedia -- a platform on which users can make their own choices -- and less like the travel agent of yesterday, experts to whom the public was willing to delegate decisions?
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Happy Is as Happy Does

(0) Comments | Posted April 4, 2011 | 3:06 PM

Artists create and critics analyze; few artists analyze well and few critics create good art.

That was my reaction to Martin Seligman's new book Flourish: A New Understanding of Happiness and Well Being, due in bookstores on April 5. Seligman, the godfather of the positive psychology movement, shows...

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What We Are Doing With Funds Collected for Japan

(0) Comments | Posted March 21, 2011 | 2:02 PM

In the days since the earthquake in Japan, GlobalGiving has experienced an unprecedented outpouring of generosity from individual and corporate donors. While overall giving has not been as swift or as large as the support to Haiti last year, donations through GlobalGiving are more than double what they were in...

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52nd Time Is the Charm

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2011 | 4:07 PM

One afternoon in late March, in their offices in downtown Helsinki, Jaakko Iisalo, a games designer who had been at Rovio since 2006, showed them a screenshot. He...
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Poetry and Development

(0) Comments | Posted January 26, 2011 | 12:25 PM

A small group of us meet occasionally over dinner, ostensibly to talk about new ideas in international development. Mostly we just have a good time; sometimes we forget to talk about development.

My friend April asked one day, "Why don't we read more poetry? What if we started off each...

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Helping Outsiders Become Insiders

(0) Comments | Posted January 18, 2011 | 1:47 PM

Here is a talk I gave at TEDx YSE (Young Social Entrepreneurs) in December 2010. I talk about how I accidentally discovered the pleasure and privilege of helping outsiders become insiders.

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Ben Ramalingam on Aid and Complexity

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2011 | 12:05 PM

The whole system disguises rather than navigates complexity, and it does so at various levels - in developing countries and within the aid system. This maintains a series of...
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Art at a Distance

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2011 | 12:02 PM

"Several hundred people attend our openings over the web."

That is what Megan Lange at Robert Lange Studios (RLS) in Charleston, SC told me recently.  Mari and I...

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The Tyranny of Ideology

(0) Comments | Posted December 21, 2010 | 10:25 AM


Here is one of the best lectures of all time. It should be required listening for anyone interested in better understanding the world -...

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When Aid Works: RIP, Rene Le Berre

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2010 | 2:43 PM

"René Le Berre, a French entomologist who helped inspire an international campaign that saved millions of West Africans from the parasitic disease river blindness, died Dec. 6 in L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer on France's western coast....

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Karin Christiansen on Transparency

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2010 | 1:11 PM

"Transparency" has (re-)emerged as a buzzword in the development sector and is taking center stage in many development initiatives. Having measured the transparency...

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Of Wine and Experts

(1) Comments | Posted December 20, 2010 | 9:55 AM

"I mean, S&P, Moody's, Fitch, these people all rated securities that apparently completely tanked. So there's obviously something in the demand for expertise, the imprimatur, which is not really about the fact...
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Peter Buffett's Advent Calendar

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2010 | 11:30 AM

Someone sent me a link to Peter Buffett's Advent Calendar. It brought a smile to my face. It's quirky and funny and personal. It has links to some great causes you can give to for the holidays, as well as some very nice holiday music. Each "day" brings something...

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Expert Blinders

(0) Comments | Posted December 13, 2010 | 1:01 PM

"The larger lesson is that the brain is a deeply constrained thinking machine, full of cognitive tradeoffs and zero-sum constraints. Those chess professionals and London cabbies can perform seemingly superhuman mental feats, as...

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Don't Follow the Leader

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2010 | 6:27 PM

"In the final chapter, Seeley suggests five lessons we could learn from bees.

• Compose a decision-making group of individuals with shared interests. Here bees have a higher stake than us:...

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