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Why Nations Fail Audiobook

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

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Publisher's Summary

Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are?

Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra Leone, are mired in poverty and violence?

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). Korea, to take just one of their fascinating examples, is a remarkably homogeneous nation, yet the people of North Korea are among the poorest on earth while their brothers and sisters in South Korea are among the richest. The south forged a society that created incentives, rewarded innovation, and allowed everyone to participate in economic opportunities. The economic success thus spurred was sustained because the government became accountable and responsive to citizens and the great mass of people. Sadly, the people of the north have endured decades of famine, political repression, and very different economic institutions - with no end in sight. The differences between the Koreas is due to the politics that created these completely different institutional trajectories.

Based on 15 years of original research Acemoglu and Robinson marshall extraordinary historical evidence from the Roman Empire, the Mayan city-states, medieval Venice, the Soviet Union, Latin America, England, Europe, the United States, and Africa to build a new theory of political economy with great relevance for the big questions of today, including:

  • China has built an authoritarian growth machine. Will it continue to grow at such high speed and overwhelm the West?
  • Are America’s best days behind it? Are we moving from a virtuous circle in which efforts by elites to aggrandize power are resisted to a vicious one that enriches and empowers a small minority?
  • What is the most effective way to help move billions of people from the rut of poverty to prosperity? More philanthropy from the wealthy nations of the West? Or learning the hard-won lessons of Acemoglu and Robinson’s breakthrough ideas on the interplay between inclusive political and economic institutions?

Why Nations Fail will change the way you look at—and understand—the world.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2012 Daron Acemoglu (P)2012 Random House

What the Critics Say

"Why Nations Fail is a truly awesome book. Acemoglu and Robinson tackle one of the most important problems in the social sciences - a question that has bedeviled leading thinkers for centuries - and offer an answer that is brilliant in its simplicity and power. A wonderfully readable mix of history, political science, and economics, this book will change the way we think about economic development. Why Nations Fail is a must-read book." (Steven Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics)

"You will have three reasons to love this book: It’s about national income differences within the modern world, perhaps the biggest problem facing the world today. It’s peppered with fascinating stories that will make you a spellbinder at cocktail parties - such as why Botswana is prospering and Sierra Leone isn’t. And it’s a great read. Like me, you may succumb to reading it in one go, and then you may come back to it again and again." (Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of the best sellers Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse)

"A compelling and highly readable book. And [the] conclusion is a cheering one: The authoritarian ‘extractive’ institutions like the ones that drive growth in China today are bound to run out of steam. Without the inclusive institutions that first evolved in the West, sustainable growth is impossible, because only a truly free society can foster genuine innovation and the creative destruction that is its corollary." (Niall Ferguson, author of The Ascent of Money)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Csillaxej 04-13-16
    Csillaxej 04-13-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of my favourites"
    Would you listen to Why Nations Fail again? Why?

    Yes, and I already did. Especially the summary and conclusion chapters at the beggining of the book are great, give such a good inishgt. The rest of the book is also very interesting, but there mainly for the cases when you are interested in all the small details. Otherwise the early chapters are the best.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The book gives a very wellr rounded and detailed explanation about the ways of the world today. Easy to follow, sound reasoning.


    Have you listened to any of Dan Woren’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Its ok, although its a "hard material" not being an actual story. He manages to keep the voice acting engaging though. Could certainly be worse :)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom 04-07-16
    Tom 04-07-16 Member Since 2007
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    "I wish this would be read by the masses."

    I've always wondered why countries couldn't seem to get it together. They were never designed to is the answer. We have to look deeper than the title of democracy. That's not where the fight is happening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sphoorti 04-03-16
    sphoorti 04-03-16 Member Since 2016
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    "terrible book"
    What would have made Why Nations Fail better?

    The author seems to have a view theory in mind and applies it all over the world trying to prove the correctness of his theory. The treatment is shallow and unscientific. The booking is very boring. I gained no insights or knowledge from this audio book.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    20sbuyer 03-24-16
    20sbuyer 03-24-16
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    "Great book -- but bad audiobook"

    Really interesting content but too academic for an audiobook. The repetitive terms make it hard to follow. There isn't enough narrative or characters to work in this format.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luis Ro 03-17-16
    Luis Ro 03-17-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Beyond Entertaining Mind Opening"

    Really enjoyed this book, telling the modern history of development and the why behind the industrialization and rapid growth of Western Nations all in an entertainingly fashion, this is almost Paradigm-Shifting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Razvan Purza 02-19-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Good book"

    Excellent points. However the book is very long and could have made all its points in 3/4 of the length.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael WS. Tuscaloosa, AL USA 02-05-16
    Michael WS. Tuscaloosa, AL USA 02-05-16 Member Since 2015
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    "great for understanding foreign pretexts"

    Just an overall great experience to peer into the somewhat objective pasts of lesser known histories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Walter Hopkins New York 11-27-15
    Walter Hopkins New York 11-27-15 Member Since 2015
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    "An important book for economics and public policy"

    I studied economics and public policy in college, and I wish this book had been written back then. The authors show that a political and economic institutions - either inclusive or exclusive - should be the focal point in understanding why it has succeeded or failed. The evidence is compelling, and it made me change some previous held views and crystallized others. Five stars without a doubt.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deven Bhan Madison,SD 10-23-15
    Deven Bhan Madison,SD 10-23-15
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    "Why Nations Fail : Why I gave 5 star to this book"
    Where does Why Nations Fail rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It so far the best book on ecomomics and world history I have read.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This book presents an amazing account of world history vis a vis evolution and growth or decline of societies, countries empires. . The authors have worked hard for many years to collect data and analyze to come up with a credible theory on prosperity or poverty of nations.

    This book remove many of my ideas that used to have. For example I had the misconception that geography,race, work ethic and climate were some of the reasons why some nations are perpetually poor.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blue Tooth Rochester, NY 09-13-15
    Blue Tooth Rochester, NY 09-13-15 Member Since 2011

    technogeek

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If you want to understand what works when trying to make the world a more equitable place, start here."

    What is especially good about this book are the new lenses it employs to help us understand history and the wealth of nations. It doesn't focus on political ideology or economic dogmas. The actions of the left, right, Christian or Muslim are equal. Greed and shortsightedness know no cultural, political or religious boundaries. Timing and maybe luck are important and very little was inevitable.

    It clarifies the battle we face now in our country as our elite use increasing wealth to make our institutions more extractive .

    There's no magic prescription for curing our problems but this book makes it much easier to recognize what will not work and what will make things worse.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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