Paul Polak is the founder of International Development Enterprises. The organization cooperates with rural farmers to help lift them out of poverty. Their mission: to help the world's poorest farmers develop opportunities in high-value, labor-intensive cash crops, as well as help provide access to affordable agricultural tools.
shares his background, and his methods in Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail. Polak aims the book at small farms across the globe, each dealing with similar issues and circumstances.
He brings a refreshing level of common sense, and years of experience, to the table. He has many ideas to help small farms cut unnecessary costs and develop access to income-generating technologies. He believes anyone can come out of poverty because there are simple, often obvious solutions.
Chapter one lays out his twelve steps to practical problem-solving, while in chapter two he discusses the myths associated with poverty
- and why many so-called solutions only help the problem. From there, he moves between topics both broad and narrow, generic and specific,
all with the easy manner of a guy sitting down to a cup of coffee.
Much of the book is dedicated to the Thapa family - a Nepali family of twelve. While barely surviving, family leader Krishna Bahadur Thapa was able to turn his small farm around to what is now considered an upper-middle class life. The troubles and prosperity of the Thapa family is treated as more than
a mere case study. Polak's genuine human connection is a welcome addition to a book that could have been just about the numbers.