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

Extended Audio Sample Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty Audiobook, by Daron Acemoglu Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.13 out of 54.13 out of 54.13 out of 54.13 out of 54.13 out of 5 4.13 (15 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson Narrator: Dan Woren Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2012 ISBN: 9780307987464
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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 fifteen 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 and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linny | 2/10/2014

    " 15 years in creation, long but well worth it - dispels myths such as modernization (democracy will follow - China one example of why this a myth) and that poverty has to do with ignorance or race, etc. Extractive institutions suck dry both economies and people whereas inclusive institutions make room for plurality, for "creative destruction" so new ideas come to the fore, and innovation which moves a society forward. They cover history and countries all over the world to exemplify their theories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles E | 1/12/2014

    " Interesting book, explains with dense historic depth how extractive,or instead inclusive systems, are self reinforcing cyclic almost living things. One leading to creative distruction and inovation then diffuse wealth and power,the other avoiding it so the elite can continue to extract the wealth from an increasingly poor populace.Unfortunatly, fails to ask the question that is begged by the idea presented, has our recent history ( the 99% vs the 1%)been a return to the more extractive political and economic institutions that concentrate wealth in the hands of the very few. I think this country vacillates slowly forward in general,its just wheather the specific question at hand will lead us to more inclusion and dffusion of wealth and power or extraction. How one sees it is the cultural Rorschach "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anthony | 12/31/2013

    " A magisterial synthesis of 15 years of research conducted by Acemoglu and Robinson on the role of institutions in economic development. Tersely, nations fail because of the perpetuation of extractive institutions that serve the interests of its leaders, while inclusive institutions foster innovation, risk, rule of law, and stability. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan Haczynski | 12/30/2013

    " In my estimation, this is perhaps the best non-fiction book I've read in the last five years and easily one of the top ten non-fiction books I've ever read. An excellent book that covers large swaths of world history through both macro/microeconomic lenses, the book deftly weaves together historic epochs and their contigencies with how they produced states they either succeeded or failed. I would heartily recommend this book to any fan/student of history or economics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rflutist | 12/29/2013

    " Excellent for a review of world history. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 mao | 12/3/2013

    " a bit disappointing so far... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elaine | 10/25/2013

    " I didn't quite finish this...there was a lot of redundancy and I was told by a very reliable source that you were good to go with just reading the first 100-150 pages. I made it a little past that. I got the gist. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leo | 11/3/2012

    " Fabulous perspective on the past and how it haunts us all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 10/16/2012

    " Moral of the story: countries with inclusive, political and economic institutions tend to prosper, and in the long run this effect is stronger than natural resources or climate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julian Haigh | 9/28/2012

    " Magisterial whirlwind through both time (neolithic to modern) and geography (5 continents) focusing on the impact of inclusive economic and political institutions on the overall health of civilizations. A balance between pluralism and centralization plays a key role in this analysis. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katy | 9/14/2012

    " You simply must read this book if you want to understand what is going on in the world and how it got to be such an unequal place. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Oscar Suescun | 7/12/2012

    " It helped me change my ideas about how the political and economic history of the world evolved to become what it is now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rod Zemke | 5/8/2012

    " A very complex book that most Americans should read. The book makes a great argument why income distribution is no important to the longrange success for countries. The authors demonstrate an incredible grasp of history and political science. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hamid | 4/28/2012

    " a brilliant book for anyone interested in economics, politics, or social studies "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ruth | 2/17/2012

    " Interesting thesis but way too much detail and a poor narrator on the audio version. With a lot of these nonfiction books, I wish they'd just publish a bullet list summarizing their thesis and call it good. "

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About the Narrator

Dan Woren is an American voice actor and Earphones Award–winning narrator. He has worked extensively in animation, video games, and feature films. He is best known for his many roles in anime productions such as Bleach and as the voice of Sub-Zero in the video game Mortal Kombat.