The Idealist

Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty

Deeply reported over six years, The Idealist chronicles Jeffrey Sachs’ quixotic effort to end extreme poverty. The Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton calls The Idealist “a masterpiece.” Bill Gates says it’s a “valuable – and at times heartbreaking – cautionary tale.” According to Bill Easterly, it is “one of the most readable and evocative accounts of foreign aid ever written.”

Beginning with the launch of Jeff Sachs’ $120 million Millennium Villages Project, Nina shadows the celebrated economist on his trips to Africa and sits in on his meetings with heads-of-state, humanitarian organizations, and development experts. At the same time, she immerses herself in the lives of camel herders and small-hold farmers in two Millennium villages: one in southwest Uganda, the other on the arid borderland between Kenya and Somalia. The Idealist traces Nina’s journey as she comes to understand the real-life issues that challenge Sachs’ formula for ending global poverty.

The Idealist is for sale at your local bookstore and on Amazon. There’s also an audiobook narrated by Susan Nezami. An excerpt is available on Huffington Post. Joe Nocera’s column about The Idealist is available on The New York Times. For schools and reading groups, Penguin Random House offers a free Teacher’s Guide to The Idealist.