Thursday

Five Things You Didn't Know About Ben & Jerry's


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Brad Edmondson' new book, Ice Cream Social, traces the rise, fall, and re-rise of the iconic ice-cream company that is Ben & Jerry's. Of course, everyone knows about the company's mission and commitment to social causes, but here are five things that only true insiders know about the company:

1. Ice Cream Wasn't Their First Choice
Ben & Jerry's founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield's original idea was one where they would deliver fresh bagels, cream cheese, lox, and the New York Times to people's doors. But upon learning how much the equipment would cost, they scrapped the idea.

2.  These Guys Weren't Exactly Experts, Either.
Their incredible range of creative flavors suggests that the founders were experts in the field of ice cream-making. They actually knew nothing about making the confection at all and learned everything from a $5 correspondence course.

3. Worse Yet, Ben Has No Sense of Smell
He can also barely taste due to his anosmia, a condition in which a person has a dysfunctional olfactory system. In order to compensate for this condition, Ben has said would add larger and larger chunks of various add-ins in order to satisfy his need for texture. This would eventually go on to play a major role in the formation of Ben & Jerry's signature ice cream style that incorporates larger chunks.

4. It Hasn't Been All Peace and Love All the Time
They also faced backlash over their SNL-inspired "Schweddy Balls" flavor. The flavor "Black and Tan," named after the drink, also came under fire due to the fact that it also could refer to a paramilitary force of former British WWI vets known for their attacks on civilians during the Irish War of Independence. In recent events, a scoop shop near Harvard faced accusations of racism when it debuted a special-edition flavor dubbed "Lin-sanity," which consisted of vanilla ice cream with lychee honey and fortune cookie pieces.

5. The Job Has Its Perks
The lowest wage a Ben & Jerry's employee can make is just under $16 dollars an hour, which is just about double the federal wage, according to the Huffington Post. There was once a rule in place that no company employee, include top executives, could make more than five times than what the lowest paid employee could make. That rule is, however, no longer in place. But all employees do get to take home three pints of ice cream every day.

Monday

Five Common Things We Throw Away That Can Serve Other Purposes

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We humans generate a lot of waste, but as author Tom Szaky shows us in his latest book -- a lot of the things we throw away have much practical usage left in them in ways we hadn't even considered before.

Here are just five examples of things that people throw away that serve an even greater need when repurposed creatively:

1. Old newspapers: If you don't have a bird or aren't housebreaking a puppy, these are just headed for the recycle bin, no? Not necessarily. If you line your kitchen garbage container with old newspaper, it will absorb the liquids that are spilled into it and also masks odors. No more smelly, messy, wet accidents.

2. Take Out Containers. Those Chinese food take-out containers? There's a real design-oriented reason they are shaped the way they are. If you undo the fasteners, the container opens out into a plate -- with your food already conveniently placed in the center.

3. Old Calendars. Old calendars make for great gift wrapping. Personalize the wrapping by making sure the actual birth date (or anniversary or what have you) is circled on the wrapping itself (or scribble down something the way people do for an upcoming event on a calendar).

4. Silica Gel Packs. You find them in everything these days and most people throw them away, but you can actually use them to banish condensation from window sills or even your car windshield. Actually, you can do quite a lot with these little guys.

5. Food Scraps. You can actually regrow a whole bunch of different foods just from scraps alone. Here are just sixteen examples.

Tuesday

Five Myths About Fitness

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Ken Blanchard and Tim Kearin's latest book is about fitness that is sustainable and permanent, not a fad diet or rapid-loss system that takes its toll on the body and inevitably stops working.

Most people don't stick to their fitness goals due in some small part to the various myths floating around (like old wive's tales) that endorse incorrect (and often damaging) prescriptions. Here are just five of them:

1. No Pain, No Gain.
This phrase was popularized by an exercise machine manufacturing company but it has been adopted as a mantra by countless people. The point is to differentiate between muscle soreness and actual pain. Soreness is common and is a sign of exertion through exercise, but it wears off. Pain, on the other hand, means you've done damage somewhere and if you continue, you're most likely going to do permanent damage -- so stop!

2. Stretch Before Exercising.
Long the standard ritual before embarking on any sort of exercise, numerous researchers have found no scientific evidence to back up the notion that stretching before a workout reduces injuries or lessens muscle soreness. Psychologically speaking, it seems to work only because we are under the impression when we are stretching that we are "easing in" to the workout. That said, there's no harm in stretching either.

3. You Continue Burning Calories Even After You Stop Exercising.
This statement is for the most part just not true. "Afterburn" calories can top out at just 20-30 within a day extra. If you exercise intensely enough to reach the top of your VO2 maximum (the maximum amount of oxygen you can take in during exercise) and continue at that incredibly high level for 45 minutes or longer, you'll burn up to an extra 190 calories even after you stop exercising. Keep in mind, however, that's 45 minutes of sheer exhaustion for basically the calorie count of a tuna sandwich.

4. Running on a Treadmill Is Better for Your Knees.
For years people have believed that running on hard surfaces impacts your knees significantly more than, say, running on the beach -- so a treadmill seems like a solid alternative. But it's not. The real damage on the knees is from the act of running itself much more than the surface you're running on. Any time you lift your leg off the ground and pound it down again puts strain on the knees. This is why cycles and elliptical machines are recommended for people with bad knees.

5. Swimming Is a Total Body Workout Like Running, But Safer.
It is to some extent, but not as much as many would think. Part of the exertion (and calorie-burning benefits) from many types of exercise stem from carrying your own body weight as you move. While swimming does increase your heart rate and tone muscles, the water is helping to support your body weight, so you're not getting as rigorous a workout as you may think.

Monday

Five Lessons on Peer-to-Peer leadership from Peer-to-Peer Computer Networks


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In her latest book, Mila Baker explains how the best leadership networks function like peer networks in technological circles where there is no central power structure but rather an equipotent number of nodes that function together as a team of leaders.

But there are plenty of other lessons to be learned from peer networks; here are just five:

1. P2P networks are not restrained by geographical proximity or boundaries.
P2P networks can function in various environments including ones so small that the only people in it are the individuals in one particular building, all the way to global networks in several continents -- as a result of which, such networks are always "on" and "live."

Lesson for Business: As even small companies go global, the inefficacy of having a central command in one place that others have to follow regardless of where they are located grows more impractical. A global leadership network is not a failing but rather a strength because it ensures accountability at all times in all places rather than only during business hours at HQ.


2. P2P networks are self-sustaining.
On the Internet, peer to peer networks handle a very high volume of file sharing traffic by distributing the load across many computers. Because they do not rely exclusively on central servers, P2P networks both scale better and are more resilient than client-server networks in case of failures or traffic bottlenecks.

Lesson for Business: Traditional leadership networks generate bottlenecks where everything has to go through a select conduit. With more more people reporting to less, a logjam is inevitable. Such logjams are circumvented when there are more conduits in a more expansive network.


3. P2P networks rarely crash.
Because the work and transfer of data is handled through so many nodes, nothing happens if one or more of those nodes crash or break as there are still others who can shoulder the work and keep the network running.

Lesson for Business: This is an obvious one. When all work is orchestrated or approved by a select number or hierarchy, any disruption of that hierarchy means that the whole organization falters or breaks down. Having a network of leaders means that if one or more are unable to perform for any reason, others can still step in and keep things running.


 4. P2P networks can be configured in different ways to suit particular purposes.
Not all P2P networks are the same. Technically, many P2P networks (including the original Napster) are not pure peer networks but rather hybrid designs as they utilize some nodes for some functions such as search. Depending on the network's needs, certain nodes can serve particular purposes at one time and serve more general connection purposes at another.

Lesson for Business: The whole idea of a single person having a single role is not just inefficient but outdated. One of the great strengths of a peer network is an aligned group that can do a variety of things -- and, most importantly, have the collective brainpower to be able to advise one another on different matters and therefore have more skills across more disciplines.


5. P2P networks do not restrict the free-flow of information.
There are some networks that have tiers of access, but the most popular peer networks have open access where each person decides what information or material they wish to share but that information, once posted, is accessible to everyone on the network.

Lesson for Business: The sharing of information is one of the most crucial aspects of business communications but that can often be negatively impacted by selective sharing where not everyone has access to the same information resulting in misunderstandings and false assumptions. A transparent approach that makes all information available to everyone ensures a more informed, coordinated, and empowered group.










Five Ethical Quandaries (and How to Think Through Them)

 
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In his latest book, author Mark Pastin guides us through the process of ethical decision-making and how to do the "right" thing in our personal and professional lives. Mark argues that we each have an innate ethics sense to help resolve the thorniest ethical issues. Of course, resolution is not always about making the choice that feels best, but does best for all.

Here are five trickier ethical situations along with Mark's advice as to how to think through them:

Ethical Quandary #1: An Offer You Can't Refuse
Just after your current employer has promoted you and given you a substantial raise, you receive an attractive job offer from a direct competitor. When you got your promotion, you told your boss that you were “in it for the long haul,” but now you're not so sure and feel tempted. You wonder if you should tell your boss about the offer.

How to Think This Through
You have to decide if you owe loyalty to your employer and your boss. Even though your current company promoted you, that promotion was based on earned merit, not projected future loyalty. To make an ethically sound decision, look at the situation in the eyes of the other affected parties. If you were in their shoes, what would you expect? And, more importantly, is this expectation reasonable?


Ethical Quandary #2: My Back Yard
A developer wants to build a casino immediately adjacent to your neighborhood. You recognize that the casino will benefit most of the community -- except for those who live adjacent to it. You wonder if it is right to oppose the casino based on your interests and the interests of a few others in the neighborhood.

How to Think This Through
While you are correct to consider the benefits to all concerned, there is more to the story. You also need to consider the benefits and entitlements of having a system of property use that protects property holders. So it comes down to whether the benefits to the community outweigh the benefits of protecting the rights of property holders. Be sure to factor in your own bias as someone directly affected by the casino.


Ethical Quandary #3: No Pain
You are a doctor and one of your patients who opposes euthanasia on religious grounds, asks you to do "whatever is necessary" to stop his pain. The level of drugs needed to stop the pain will almost certainly kill the patient in short order. The patient recognizes this but still wants the pain stopped.

How to Think This Through
The patient's religious beliefs prohibit euthanasia and yet you are being asked to participate in actions having the same outcome as euthanasia. Consider your own ethical rules on how to practice medicine. You are being asked to challenge your own conscience in order to relieve the patient's conscience. This is not just between you and the patient, but between you and your conscience.


Ethical Quandary #4: Bell Curve Blues
A scientific experiment you conducted on genetic inheritance seems to inadvertently show that people of certain races are less intelligent than people of other races. You personally did not hold such opinions prior to the research and you are not entirely happy with these findings as they challenge your personal beliefs. You wonder whether you should publish this research. You know that many will distort your conclusions to support their own racist beliefs.

How to Think This Through
While a scientist is required to respect the scientific method, this does not mean that you are obliged to publish everything the data supports. While you have to face the facts, you do not have to publicize them especially if they are open to misinterpretation. You have to decide whether the benefits of sharing this research publicly outweigh the likely fall out from it.

Ethical Quandary #5: Speed Kills
The company you work for is deciding whether to build a super fast car for street use. With some tricky maneuvering, the company has managed to find a loophole to make what is essentially a professional race car street legal. There is a demand for the car and your company desperately needs the boost this signature product would give it. But you wonder if it is right to produce a car whose purpose appears to be little more than for racing on public streets and highways.

How to Think This Through
Consider the interests of the parties to this situation. While the interests of your company are clear enough, you have to consider the interests of those who might be affected if the car is built and sold. It is not only the drivers of super-fast cars that are injured by them, and by creating a car that encourages unsafe speeds, you're almost guaranteeing future accidents. On the other hand, if your company does not build the car, won't some other company make an equally fast car?  Does this make a difference?

Wednesday

Five Things You Didn't Know About Leonardo da Vinci

 
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In his latest book, Fritjof Capra discusses how the legendary thinker and artist Leonardo da Vinci recognized patterns and systems in art and science, and how that recognition taught him to anticipate and create things the likes of what had never been seen before.

But da Vinci himself was a unique character, and the facts about his life and practices are every bit as fascinating as his creations. Here are five things you probably didn't know about this true Renaissance man:

1. His name is not Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo was born to parents who were not legally married and so did not have an “official” surname (in keeping with the laws of the time). "Vinci" was the name of the town where he was born in Italy. Leonardo da Vinci simply means “Leonardo of Vinci.”

2. There's a reason his sketchbooks are as full as they are. 
Many people have commented on how richly and fully illustrated Leonardo’s notebooks are, with each page seemingly crammed with numerous studies and sketches. The reason for this may have been financial more than anything else, however. Paper was very expensive in Leonardo's time and so it would have been in his best financial interests to thoroughly use every spare portion of a page whenever possible.

3. His diet was radical for its time. Leonardo was a vegetarian and also drank no milk, which was very rare for his time since meat was considered a staple part of the diet of even peasants and the poor. Even more surprising, Leonardo practiced vegetarianism purely for humanitarian reasons. He also had a wonderful habit of buying caged birds just so that he could set them free.

4. No one can find a single sculpture by him. Despite being such a master of many mediums and capable of all sorts of design, there remains to this day no piece of sculpture that can definitely be attributed to Leonardo.  Historians have also been able to determine that he learned sculpture as an apprentice in Verrocchio’s studio, but no “signed” pieces have every been located.

5. He learned anatomy in a very questionable way. While his respect for the living was quite evident, he didn’t mind so much desecrating the dead -- at least in the name of science. Leonardo would often steal into graveyards at night to dig up corpses so that he could study human anatomy.

Thursday

Four Ineffective and Old Questions We Ask Ourselves and Four New Questions We Should Be Asking Instead

Marilee Adams' first book focused on the questions we should ask ourselves to move
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forward instead of remaining stuck in ruts. In her latest book, she applies the same question-based methodology to educational approaches and teaching.

Many of the difficult situations we find ourselves in can best be analyzed and overcome by stopping to assess one’s own mindset. We could be coming from either  a “Judger mindset” (close-minded and critical) or a “Learner mindset” (open-minded and discerning). Because of the natural tendency to lapse into Judger mindset, we tend to ask ourselves the same old limiting questions with the same old disappointing results. Here are some examples of common (Judger) questions and why they don’t work – and what (Learner) questions you should be asking yourself instead:

1. A Question We Normally Ask Ourselves: “Why don’t things ever seem to work out for me?”
The Question We Should Ask Instead: “What do I want—for both myself and others?”
We often neglect thinking about what we want in a particular situation or just thoughtlessly jump into action. Nevertheless, continuously asking oneself about goals and intentions is the “true north” of effective behaviors and satisfying outcomes. Otherwise, we’re primed to get what we don’t want!  Of course, thinking about others as well as ourselves makes the win-win difference.

2. A Question We Normally Ask Ourselves: “Why isn’t that person responding to me the way I wanted them to?”
The Question We Should Ask Instead: “Am I in Learner mindset or Judger mindset right now?
People often don’t recognize the impact of their own mindset on others and end up wondering why they don’t get the responses they wanted. Learning to simply notice your own mindset in a neutral, non-judgmental way, moment by moment, is the basis of being free to have the best communications and relationships as well as to make the most effective choices. If you discover you’re in Judger mindset, you can choose to switch to Learner instead. To learn about the power of mindsets, click here for a free online tool that includes a video, interviews and an informational PDF. 

3. A Question We Normally Ask Ourselves: “Why won’t this rude person listen to me?”
The Question We Should Ask Instead: “Am I listening with Learner ears or Judger ears?”
People often don’t understand why others don’t listen to them. Yet we seldom question whether we’re listening ourselves or even how we’re listening. The ability to identify which mindset we are listening from helps us identify and alter our listening so that communication can be more productive and satisfying for everyone. If you notice you’re feeling either defensive or angry, you may be listening with Judger ears.

4. A Question We Normally Ask Ourselves: “How can I prove I’m right?”
The Question We Should Ask Instead: “What assumptions am I making?”
Our aim is often to prove ourselves right or even to prove the other person wrong. Sadly, we’re all familiar with what happens when someone is on such a mission—self-righteousness, oppositional stalemates, anger, and conflict. Continually questioning one’s assumptions is a core discipline of the most effective thinking and problem-solving. Searching for and challenging assumptions also empowers one’s ability to listen with Learner ears

5. The Question We Normally Ask Ourselves: “Who or what is stopping me from getting what I want?”
The Question We Should Ask Instead: “Who do I choose to be in this moment?"

Assuming that circumstances or other people control your life makes it all but impossible to take responsibility for oneself. Personal power begins with claiming authorship of our own lives, and that’s why, regardless of the circumstances, this fifth question is always the crucial one; it places each of us directly in the present moment as the prime mover of our own experiences, relationships and outcomes.

Four Situations Where We "Tell" Instead of "Ask"

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Ed Schein’s newest book argues that our cultural tendency to “tell” instead of “asking” gets in the way of solving problems and accomplishing tasks.  When two or more people have to work together to accomplish anything, they need to communicate openly, and that can only be achieved with trust.  To build that trust, they must ask each other genuine questions based on being interested in each other. Humble Inquiry is that form of asking.

Here are four common situations where people should be using Humble Inquiry instead of just giving advice or telling the other person what to do.

Situation 1.  The “all knowing advice giver.” A person when asked for help who automatically assumes the he or she knows what will be helpful based on assumptions about what the asker knows or has already done.

Examples: I ask an IT person for help on completing something via phone and he says, “Just hit the pound sign,” except that I haven’t a clue as to what the “pound sign” is.  I ask a friend what to do about my troubled relationship with my girlfriend and he says, “Just tell her where you stand -- be totally honest with her.” He doesn't realize that I was honest about a sensitive issue and that is what gave rise to the trouble in our relationship in the first place.


Situation 2.  The leader assuming that he or she knows enough to tell the subordinate what to do.

Examples: “Here is what I want you to try” says the boss, throwing out directions before hurrying off, not waiting to learn that subordinate has already tried what was suggested with no success.  The doctor tells the  patient to take the pills at bedtime but does not know (or bother to inquire) about the fact that the patient works different shifts and so has a variety of bedtimes.


Situation 3.  The leader who needs feedback from employees or team members but has created a climate in which they do not feel secure doing so.

Examples: This is where a selective memory can be the culprit. The boss assumes that everyone knows he is “open” to talking about anything, but he does not remember also telling his subordinates “Don't bring me a problem unless you also bring me the solution.”  The surgeon who wants his nurse and tech to speak up  all the time, but does not remember how his behavior of yelling at them in the past has made them hesitant to do so. The boss or doctor doesn't remember, but people do.

Situation 4.  Asking a question that isn’t really a question.

Example: “Don't you agree that to get our job done we all need to be open, trusting, and collaborative with each other?”  This sort of a (non)question forces the respondent to say "yes" without exploring the issues further and getting clear on what needs to happen. As a result, even though the answer is "yes," it is an answer in the abstract since no real trust or understanding has been established.






Friday

Four Reasons to Stop Worrying About the Future

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In Bob Miglani's latest book, he discusses the idea of embracing chaos and accepting it as an inevitable fact of life.

Here are four truths to help you deal with anxiety and uncertainty of a chaotic and unknowable future:
 
1. You can’t predict the future.  
The main tenet of a lot of our life stress and frustration is this nagging and seemingly scary feeling deep inside that you just don’t know what’s going to happen next.  From your career to your relationship to the way your kids will turn out to how things will play out in your business—it is getting harder to figure things out accurately. And it bugs us and eats us up slowly from the inside causing this vicious spiral of worrying and anxiety. Accept it that you are powerless to predict the future, because you’re likely going to be wrong…and guess what?  You’ll worry even more!

So what can I do?  So stop trying to predict the future and instead try to make changes today and now. That's something you have some control over, and it's probably the best way to hedge the bets in your favor when it comes to future success.


2. Even if you could predict the future, you can’t control it.  
Luck, randomness and chance contribute so much to the unpredictable nature of life that it is just unrealistic to think you can control things even if you have a good idea of what may happen. I have a hard enough time controlling my kids, so it would be foolish to think I can control my career or anything else. Break the root of worry by realizing that you cannot control or dictate things to just be.  It’s just not possible to have total control of your life when you are so intertwined with so much of the world (i.e. butterfly effect). 

So what can I do? Deal with the uncertainty of an unknown future by focusing your energy the only the things you can control:  Your thoughts and actions. You can control your mind, so task it to deal with those things that are within your control now and leave the worrying for another time.


3. You’re afraid that you're missing the best time of your life, not realizing that the best time is now.  
There is so much you miss in life when your head is in the clouds worrying about an uncertain future.  ”My kids grew up in a blink of an eye”, is what so many people say these days. The fact is that we spend a lot of time worrying about a future that we have no control over, and wasting the present which we do have control over. Imagine, you’re here on this rock for a short time and you’re missing the best part because you’re caught up with trying to figure out the future.
 
So what can I do? Be in the present moment. Being in the here and now is the only truth, so now is the best time of your life, so act like it. When you recognize this fact, you’ll be more productive in your career and your relationships. 


4. Sometimes the worst is not as bad as you think.
We often blow things out of proportion and exaggerate the bad that only our own mind thinks is going to happen (without any real evidence). What initially starts off as the "worst case scenario" starts more and more to sound like a realistic outcome. I realized that when I looked back at the chaos of life that I’ve gone through, it wasn’t all that bad.  Sometimes, you don’t even remember it.

So what can I do? Realize that a worst case scenario is as unlikely to happen as the ideal scenario because both are exaggerations of potential outcomes. We often doubt that best case scenarios will happen but take worst case scenarios as inevitable -- why? Both are equally likely and so equally unlikely. What actually happens is usually something in the middle -- and way more manageable than you anticipated it would be.

Wednesday

Four Myths About Reimagining Your Life



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Most of us want to believe that we can reimagine our life's second chapter and purpose, but allow negative and inaccurate thinking to stop us from doing just that. Here is author Richard Leider's list of four common myths that stop us from seeking out our next purpose:

Myth #1: To now have a new possibility means I must do something completely original. Can you really recall anything that is totally new? Almost every idea or creation is an extension or synthesis of previous efforts. New breakthroughs are built on existing fundamental truths. Like runners in a relay race, we simply do our part to carry the baton another leg of the race.

Myth #2: Only a few gifted or skilled people are able to discover new paths and possibilities in their lives. This is the most commonly rationalized of all myths. History, however, is filled with great contributions made by ordinary people who had virtually no experience or expertise in the areas where they thrived in their lives' second chapter. In fact, being a "seasoned novice" gives us permission and courage to step into things with fresh passion and purpose.

Myth #3: What I want to do next will come as inspiration or revelation. Until that time comes, I will wait. Inspiration comes to those who seek it. We don't find beautiful shells unless we're on the beach. If we believe in the the "miracle moment" theory, we rarely will find it. If we wait for "a sign," we end up being waiters for the rest of our lives.

Myth #4: It's too late; I'm too old. This something you do when you're younger.

Realizing new possibilities is a cradle-to-grave quest. Situations and people change every day and continue to change throughout our life. As long as there is change, there are new opportunities. Keep in mind that you now also have two things you had less of before: time and experience. Use them.


Thursday

The Three Biggest Myths About How to Eradicate Poverty

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In their new book, Paul Polak and Mal Warwick discuss how business and entrepreneurship is the key to fighting poverty and creating lasting economic change and progress globally.

There are still unfortunately many myths about poverty and how to eradicate it. Here are the three biggest ones:

Myth #1: You can donate money to help people out of poverty

Why it's not true: Giving people money or free stuff is harmful. If it’s just a one-time thing with no guarantee of renewal, it simply reinforces the attitudes of inadequacy that hobble so many poor people. And if the giveaway is actually sustained over time, it creates dependency. Both effects are extremely undesirable. In any case, there’s just not enough money in all the foundations in the world to give away enough to the 2.7 billion people in the world who live on $2 a day or less. Poor people have to make an investment of their own time and money to move out of poverty. Only then will they have a chance to improve their lives and those of their families.


Myth #2: National economic growth can end poverty

Why it's not true: Most economists view an increase in a country’s per capita GDP as the leading indicator of poverty reduction, but this entirely misses the point. Growth in GDP inevitably boosts the income of those at the top of the economic heap, and to a limited extent those in the middle class, but it rarely trickles down to the poor at the bottom of the pyramid. Even if government resources are invested in programs to subsidize the poor, a large proportion of the money is routinely siphoned off through corruption. In the developing countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, the effect of increasing a country’s economic output is typically to widen the gap between rich and poor, not to narrow it.

Myth #3: The UN, the World Bank, and nonprofit organizations are taking care of the problem.

Why it's not true: The advocates of foreign aid and philanthropy typically insist that they are making great headway in reducing poverty in the world. However, the 2.7 billion people today who live on $2 a day or less is greater than the entire population of the planet in 1950, around the time when the global fight against poverty began. In fact, the traditional approaches to eradicating poverty have failed—because they plan from the top down, they ignore poor people’s own views of what they need, they are prey for corrupt officials, and they direct nearly all their efforts at more prosperous people in towns and cities and not among the desperately poor people who predominate in the countryside.