The Bottom Billion

  • by Paul Collier
  • Narrated by Gideon Emery
  • 7 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the universally acclaimed and award-winning The Bottom Billion, Paul Collier reveals that 50 failed states - home to the poorest one billion people on earth - pose the central challenge of the developing world in the 21st century. The book shines much-needed light on this group of small nations, largely unnoticed by the industrialized West, that are dropping further and further behind the majority of the world's people, often falling into an absolute decline in living standards.
A struggle rages within each of these nations between reformers and corrupt leaders - and the corrupt are winning. Collier analyzes the causes of failure, pointing to a set of traps that ensnare these countries, including civil war, a dependence on the extraction and export of natural resources, and bad governance. Standard solutions do not work, he writes; aid is often ineffective, and globalization can actually make matters worse, driving development to more stable nations.
What the bottom billion need, Collier argues, is a bold new plan supported by the Group of Eight industrialized nations. If failed states are ever to be helped, the G8 will have to adopt preferential trade policies, new laws against corruption, new international charters, and even conduct carefully calibrated military interventions. Collier has spent a lifetime working to end global poverty. In The Bottom Billion, he offers real hope for solving one of the great humanitarian crises facing the world today.

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What the Critics Say

"Set to become a classic. Crammed with statistical nuggets and common sense, his book should be compulsory reading." (The Economist)
"If Sachs seems too saintly and Easterly too cynical, then Collier is the authentic old Africa hand: he knows the terrain and has a keen ear.... If you've ever found yourself on one side or the other of those arguments -and who hasn't? - then you simply must read this book." (Niall Ferguson, The New York Times Book Review)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Thought provoking and inspirational

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes I would recommend this audiobook.

There are some striking observations about poverty and the four 'traps' which leave a section of the worlds population in the 'bottom billion' with little chance of escaping. It explains how the plight of the bottom billion affect us all and consider the factors that maintain the current position then examines why this is the case - e.g. assessment of development aid, why this is so important and yet is only part of the solution; assessment of international government policies and why they tend to hinder rather than help progress. Finally the book has many profound suggestions which could help close the gap for the bottom billion and minimise the prospect of the four traps.

It is well researched with plenty of examples to back up the hypothesis.


What did you like best about this story?

Lots of interesting examples of how the world views the bottom billion, and how certain key players (e.g. Governments, Aid industry, Global businesses) behave in a way that is sometimes counter-intuitive.


What about Gideon Emery’s performance did you like?

Easy to listen to- informative and at a good pace.


Any additional comments?

An inspirational book with great ideas to change the world. Astounding to think this was written in 2007 - change seems to be slow since then with much of what is written here still applicable today.

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- Steve

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-12-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios