Home: What is Poverty?

When Helping Hurts

The majority of posts on this blog usually give you a glimpse into some of the stories that Gary has photographed for groups and organizations helping the poor all over the world. Today, I (Vivian) want to share a book that presents thoughtful insights on how people define the causes of poverty and why that matters in terms of solutions.

When Helping Hurts, by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert, of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development is one of the best resources we know for anyone interested in helping the poor.

Our friend, Esther Havens, kindly sent Gary and me a copy of the book’s first edition a couple of years ago. A new and expanded edition came out recently that we would like to pass forward. Leave a comment or question on this post and we will randomly select one winner. We will mail the book to you once we get your contact info. The deadline is midnight July 27th.



Thanks to all of you for your comments. We did this the old-fashioned way, writing everyone’s names onto paper scraps and picking out one. The winner is Michaela Potterbaum. Let us know what you think when you’re done reading, Michaela.

17 thoughts

  1. I’ve heard a lot about this book. One of my favourite pastors, Greg Boyd, recommended it as well. I’ll definitely have to check it out some time.

  2. Would be an interesting read. I read “Lords of Poverty” a few years ago and was shocked at how often aid creates the very problems it is meant to address.

  3. I took a class in college on economic development in third world countries and we always got into debates about what helped communities as well as what hurt communities. No one ever seemed to make a clear point, and it is hard to say what helps and hinders individual communities to succeed economically. I would love to read this book!

  4. I am so excited to read this book. In the last 2 years I have traveled to Nepal, Honduras & Haiti to photograph & work with medical/construction teams. I believe that we need to empower those we aim to serve and not come in thinking we can solve their problems. Only they have they have the solutions. And Esther Havens is amazing!

  5. Thanks for sharing. I love this book. It’s probably the best I’ve read on mission and development. I’ve been thinking about writing a review on it for awhile. I’m hope it impacts someone else like it has me. (You don’t need to put me in the draw as I have a copy already)

  6. I’ve been making my way through the Chalmers Center’s website and would enjoy learning more from the book. The book looks relevant for both personal and church use.

  7. I’ve only read excerpts of this book so far but need to sit down with a big cup of coffee and work my way through it. I wish every American church and church leader would read this before initiating any ‘programs’ to help.

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