If you only read one thing this week…

Aid and Trade in Africa by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
January 28, 2008, 5:35 pm
Filed under: Development theory, If you only have 15 mins

Having discovered the TED (Ideas Worth Spreading) internet site, I am now an avid downloader of the talks from the last years conferences. This talk by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was the first female Finance Minister in Nigeria, is an inspiring perspective on the important, yet delicate balance between aid and economic development in Africa. She argues for the need for a more sophisticated look at the relationship between the two, rather than a simple stand-off, and draws interesting comparisons with EU countries who are recipients of aid and how they use it.


Multi-tasking: is it making us less productive? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
January 28, 2008, 5:02 pm
Filed under: Articles, If you only have 15 mins, Management, Time management

“Multitasking, a definition: ‘The attempt by human beings to operate like computers, often done with the assistance of computers’ “.

Most of the reports I have read about multi-tasking recently focus on asserting that it is something that women are more likely to be good at than men. This article  in the Atlantic is a rant against multi-tasking in any form. It is a highly personal account by Walter Kirn of his own struggles with it, backed by interesting quotations and scientific facts.

Sustainability – what happens after we leave? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
January 14, 2008, 8:15 pm
Filed under: Development theory, Environment, If you have 30 mins

The million dollar question for those of us working in international NGOs is to understand what happens when we stop working in communities. When resource flow stops coming from us, do communities continue to maintain the projects that they invested in? Do they continue to maintain behaviors or practices that were promoted during the program life cycle or do things return to the status quo? In the summer of 2007, Mercy Corps invested its own resources to go back into communities in Central Asia to ask these questions. And it discovered some interesting things – some anticipated or hoped for, others that were quite surprising. For the full report click here. The 6-page, stand alone  executive summary shares many of the most noticeable findings.

Making travel more tolerable by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
January 14, 2008, 8:14 pm
Filed under: If you only have 15 mins

As we launch into 2008 and, for many of us, our travel schedule starts to ramp up with the New Year. The Read One Thing team did a quick scan of travel websites and came up with the following tips that might make your life a little bit easier. Please send comments below on other things that have helped you in the past:·         When purchasing your ticket, pre-book your seat (if possible) and print a confirmation. ·         If you cannot pre-book a seat, ask for a specific seat at check-in. Use seatguru.com to check plane configurations and make notes from past travels about specific airlines/planes.         Check-in online and print your boarding pass 24 hrs .before departure, if applicable.·         Before leaving, figure out the best way to get from the airport to your destination, estimating cost and time.·         Pack a travel pillow, earplugs, eye mask and snacks for the plane.·         At take off, change your watch and sleep routine to your destination time zone, even if it means going to sleep sooner or later than you would like.·         Upon arrival overseas, position yourself in line at passport control first thing and save the trip to the restroom for afterwards.·         Pack your own Ethernet cable–plenty of hotels have ports for broadband but may run out of cables.·         Subscribe to Skype–it can save a fortune in mobile phone roaming charges.  (Remember to pack a headset).

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design): bringing creative thinkers together by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
January 14, 2008, 8:12 pm
Filed under: If you have 30 mins, Interesting links, Web sites

The TED conference happens annually and brings together leading thinkers from across the globe to share their most innovative and creative thinking on some of the world’s problems. The conference, held in Monterey, USA books up over a year in advance but this year for the first time they have started to podcast the best talks. Each is no more than 20 minutes in length and you can browse the full selection here. Continue reading