Sunday Book Review: "Getting to Maybe."

I broke my glasses the day before I started reading "Getting to Maybe." Unfortunately, I had another pair. Written by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman and Michael Quinn Patton, this is a book about "social innovators." You know, people who find solutions.

But don't expect this book to clearly define the problems. It doesn't. And don't expect it to offer practical advice. It won't. Instead it rambles on about Bob Geldof, who has saved Africa twice, and applies complexity theory (chaos theory) so sloppily that it makes Jurassic Park's interpretation look profound. When it offers advice, it uses so much jargon that you'll need a decoder ring.

For example, on page 87, we're told to: "Support developmental evaluation as a form of reflective practice that involves ongoing data collection and assessment to help policy makers adapt their decisions and implement their principles in the faces of changed conditions." And that was said to help clarify and summarize what went before!

Yet, behind all the jargon, pseudo-science and smugness, this book does have a few entertaining anecdotes and good point. Individuals can change their society. But, if you want to make a difference, your time would be better spent doing anything other than reading "Getting to Maybe." Volunteering, writing a letter or donating food would be a nice place to start. And you don't need a manifesto to do it.

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