The Fix

“We hear about terrorists murdering innocents and fear for our own families. We sense the trouble in our gut when we tear open stubbornly flat paychecks. If you live in a big city like New York as I do, you feel the dysfunction in the soles of your feet as you rumble homeward, bounding along pitted roads or jostling for space on overcrowded subways. Once you do make it home, you confront more ill omens when your bills and bank statements arrive; according to a recent study by the Federal Reserve, 47 percent of Americans now have so little in savings tat they couldn’t cover an emergency outlay of just $400. You’re reminded of the problems yet again when your kids walk in the door, having valiantly navigated their underresourced schools. And if they’re lucky enough to get into college, you’ll confront the troubles one more time wen their sky-rocketing tuition comes due.” – Jonathan Tepperman


Most of us acknowledge that there is general unease – if now outright doom and gloom – when it comes to what we hear on the news. Nations at war, financial crises, political strife add up to a general feeling of anxiety when it comes to contemporary global situations. Jonathan Tepperman, however, would argue that having a negative attitude is all wrong because not only can all problems be fixed, but what we hear paints a much more negative picture than is actually the case.

In The Fix: How Countries Use Crises to Solve the World’s Worst Problems, Tepperman examines global challenges and outright collapses in order to understand how some of the most intelligent and insightful nations or regions of the world fixed issues such as  Islamic Extremism, diminished supplies of economy-reliant natural resources, innovating to build the economy, and homegrown defense tactics in post 9-11 New York. The cases Tepperman presents are engaging and concise. Each study examines the context of the problem and honestly analyzes how a workable solution was attained. Tepperman is thoughtful in his evaluation, but does not glorify any region or accomplishment, leaving readers to glean knowledge but arrive at their own conclusions. Additionally, given that the case studies are brief, there are details and events that are left out for those wishing further study. Overall, though, I found the book informative and interesting – it provided just enough information to engage me, but not so much to overwhelm me.

Ultimately, I was finished the book with a sense of optimism. Solutions are attainable and there is hope with a wide range of problems. While doom and gloom may pervade our thoughts on the average day, Tepperman proves that there are fixes to our problems and they are largely within our reach.

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