Big Bets: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens
“Encouraging…Uplifting...Meeting apparently insurmountable goals requires thinking big…this will inspire.” —Publishers Weekly
“Raj Shah has written a practical guide to making the world a better place. He knows what he’s talking about, because he’s done it himself. Anyone who wants to make a change in the world, or their own lives, will benefit from this book.” —Bill Gates, Cochair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Rajiv J. Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation and former administrator of President Barack Obama’s United States Agency for International Development, shares a dynamic new model for creating large scale change, inspired by his own involvements with some of the largest humanitarian projects of our time.
Rajiv J. Shah is no stranger to pulling off the impossible, from helping vaccinate 900 million children at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to a high-pressure race against the clock to stop the spread of Ebola. His secret? A big bets philosophy—the idea that seeking to solve problems rather than make incremental improvements can attract the unlikely partners with the power and know-how to achieve transformational change. Part career sweeping memoir, part inspirational playbook, Big Bets offers a master class in decision-making, leadership, and changing the world one bet at a time.
Shah animates his strategic insights with vivid behind-the-scenes stories, memorable conversations with household names that helped shape his approach to creating change, and his own personal growth as an Indian-American from an immigrant family looking for a way to belong. He distills his battle-tested strategies for creating change, arguing that big bets have a surprising advantage over cautious ones: a bold vision can attract support, collaborations, and fresh ideas from key players who might otherwise be resistant. Throughout the book, Shah traces his unlikely path to the Rockefeller Foundation across a changing world and through some of the most ambitious, dramatic global efforts to create a better world.
Praise for Big Bets: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens
A Next Big Ideas Club Must-Read Book
"Looking out at a world of crises, it is all too easy to be cynical about changing the world for the better—to throw up one’s hands as if nothing can be done. Mr. Shah admirably argues against such cynicism." —Wall Street Journal
“Encouraging….Uplifting….Meeting apparently insurmountable goals requires thinking big…this will inspire.”—Publishers Weekly
“Raj Shah has written a practical guide to making the world a better place. He knows what he’s talking about, because he’s done it himself. Anyone who wants to make a change in the world, or their own lives, will benefit from this book.” —Bill Gates, Co-Chair Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
"I have seen firsthand Raj lead big change —in Haiti, on hunger, and much more—with a unique combination of positivity and perseverance. Big Bets reminds us of the most difficult challenges we’ve overcome in the 21st century and gives us new inspiration for what lies ahead." —Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former U.S Secretary of State and U.S. Senator
“Dr. Raj Shah draws on a lifetime spent pushing boundaries in global development to deliver a captivating reflection on the power of the ingenuity, innovation, and collaboration. This must-read book breaks down large-scale problems into actionable steps that we must all take to heart – because if we truly seek to make an impact in our communities, it will be one small but bold action at a time…adding up to form the big bets that will change the world.” —José Andrés, Chef and Founder of World Central Kitchen
“I wish Big Bets existed when I was a young entrepreneur. It shows what’s possible when people come together for the good of humanity and have the courage to take concrete steps, together making “big bets” on solutions that lead toward a more equitably prosperous, peaceful, and healthy world. An awesome, inspiring read.” —Strive Masiyiwa, African technology entrepreneur and philanthropist
“For more than a decade, I have worked with Rajiv Shah to help the Congolese people recover from the ravages of war. Simply put, Raj is one of the smartest, most optimistic people I have ever met. In Big Bets, you’ll find the tools you’ll need to take on some of our biggest, most difficult challenges.” —Ben Affleck, Director, Actor and Co-Founder Eastern Congo Initiative
“By extension, Raj Shah’s Big Bets can be instructive far beyond its headline aspiration. It can be read by a father aiming to give shape to his sons changing world, or an aid worker looking to break from the repeatedly failed patterns and short term impacts so often attempted, only to be abandoned, Big Bets offers the ubiquitous re-sets our modern world demands. From climate to conflict, poverty and politics, It is of Shah’s unique experience, and his organically clear-minded will to conceive lasting change that he makes Big Bets one helluva timely gift.” —Sean Penn, Actor, Director, and CORE Co-Founder and Chairperson of the Board
“In Big Bets, Rajiv Shah gives us the playbook and thus the power to fight, work, and innovate our way to a better, more just future. This book will make you more hopeful about the world—and your capacity to change it in big ways.” —Darren Walker, President of The Ford Foundation