Book Party for Anirudh Krishna

The Hart Leadership Program recently hosted a party to celebrate the publication of Anirudh Krishna’s new book, The Broken Ladder: The Paradox and the Potential of India’s 1-Billion.

Anirudh Krishna is the Edgar E. Thompson Professor of Public Policy in Sanford School. He came to Duke in 2000, and has been connected to the Hart Leadership Program as a faculty mentor for a number of years. His research investigates how communities and individuals in developing countries cope with the structural and personal constraints that result in poverty and powerlessness.

Hart Leadership Program Director Alma Blount offered the following remarks at the book party:

“We are so pleased that you are joining us today. Book parties have become a great tradition in the Hart Leadership Program over the years.

We love books.  We love it when our colleagues write and publish books.  We love to celebrate.  And we love Anirudh.  So here we are.

Anirudh Krishna reads from his book

We got connected with Anirudh years ago when he began mentoring some of our Hart Fellows who were doing community-based research in India.  In fact one, if not two of our Hart Fellows were involved with research that became part of this book.

This is Anirudh Krishna’s 7th book, and it already has two editions—Penguin/Viking in India, and Cambridge University Press here.  I had a chance to read the book over the weekend, and I have to tell you, it is a great book.  So smart.  And it has a lot of heart.

This summer there were long, thoughtful, detailed, excellent reviews—really, you would have to say RAVE reviews in a diverse range of publications across India such as:  The Times of India, OPEN Magazine, Business Today India, The Hindu Business Line, The Wire, Financial Express.

Brief quotes from the reviews:  Beautifully written.  Empathetic, wise, insightful, provides in-depth, on the ground knowledge. Combines research, human interest stories and astute policy analysis.  This is a book that PM Modi should read.

And the book has only just been published here, but I was startled to see you can buy The Broken Ladder at Target (although apparently it is out of stock right now!) and on Ebay.  (And we have made it very easy for you to get your own copy right here–the Gothic Bookstore will be happy to sell you a copy in a few minutes—which you can then ask Anirudh to sign.)

From an interview with Professor Krishna in The Hindu Business Line:

“India is being cleaved into the ‘dollar economy’ and the ‘rupee economy.” The dollar economy serves urban professionals and business people, based in big cities, who make up just 5 percent of India but believe that theirs is the real India.  The rest are from the rupee economy, and there is very little movement of people from the rupee economy to the dollar one.  The ladder is broken.”

“I don’t think there are any magical solutions to these problems…but empowering decision-makers at the grassroots level will help. The ladder that connects the “stone-age’ and the “space age” parts of the economy needs to be fixed if India is serious about harnessing it talent pool.”

Two of our Sanford School colleagues will now offer convening toasts:  Professors Bob Korstad and Bruce Jentleson.  Then we have asked Anirudh to read an excerpt from The Broken Ladder, and we will open things up for a Q&A.  Please feel free to have your book signed, and help yourself to these wonderful hors d’oeuvres before you leave.”

Signing copies of The Broken Ladder