Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Read Chapter 9,10,11 With reference to specific quotations from the text in the book, discuss some/all of the following questions: What is Novogratz's 'plea for nuance' in Chapter 9?? Do yo - EssayAbode

Read Chapter 9,10,11 With reference to specific quotations from the text in the book, discuss some/all of the following questions: What is Novogratz’s ‘plea for nuance’ in Chapter 9?? Do yo

 Read Chapter 9,10,11

With reference to specific quotations from the text in the book, discuss some/all of the following questions:

  • What is Novogratz's "plea for nuance" in Chapter 9?  Do you identify with her plea?  Yes, no, somewhat?  Explain with reference to the chapter.  
  • What initially came to mind when, in Chapter 10, you read the Mary Oliver lines, "Let me keep my distance, always, from those / who think they have the answers"?
  • Do you find the concept of accompaniment presented in Chapter 11 useful?  Yes, no, maybe?  Discuss with reference to the specific definition presented in this chapter.  


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Table of Contents

About the Author

Copyright Page


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To my parents,

Bob and Barbara Novogratz,

who taught me to love the world,


to all who aspire to give more

to the world than you take from it


We make our lives with each other. This book has been

nurtured by multitudes. To all of them I am grateful.

Thanks to my brilliant editor, Barbara Jones, and the

great team at Holt. Barbara, you pushed me to

uncomfortable places, edited with insight and care, and

talked me off a few cliffs. And the book is better for it.

Thanks, too, to Ruby Rose Lee and the copy editor, Jenna

Dolan, who reviewed the manuscript. Thank you to my

irrepressible agent Elyse Cheney and your team for

believing in and fighting for this book. And for being

dreamers who do.

Cyndi Stivers, you are a miracle. Thank you for

accompanying me from the very first days of Sunflowers to

the final editing with thrilling speed and surety. William

Charnock, the shepherd, you always said yes, made my

challenges yours, remained impossibly positive, and kept

me sane. Bavidra Mohan, your thoughtful feedback

illuminated those early, messy drafts. Seth Godin, your

creativity and friendship put wind beneath my wings that

carried me across the world and back. Thank you.

My sister Beth supported my spirit throughout, just as

she did with The Blue Sweater. Beth, I love our

collaborations, and your generosity astonishes.

Carlyle Singer, Acumen’s fearless president, is my

partner in building both an institution and a movement. She

made it possible for me to write this book while remaining

close to the work. Thank you, Carlyle, for modeling shared

leadership and for being a friend.

I could not have completed the book without the

bighearted support of a small and mighty group at Acumen

who helped do whatever it took to organize and reconsider

fragments and journals of stories told and untold: Lindsay

Camacho, Charlotte Erb, Sonya Khattak, and Maureen Klein.

Lynn Roland helped make this our shared book. Thank you

to patient readers who gave truthful, constructive feedback:

Sophia Ahmed, Wei Wei Hsing, Esha Mufti, Chee Pearlman,

and, of course, my mother, the most voracious reader I

know. Thanks to Regional Directors for your patience

through this process, for your ideas, for teaching me more

than you know. Thanks to Sunny Bates, Karie Brown, Leslie

Gimbel, Jeanie Honey, Otho Kerr, and Taylor Milsal for your

endless support.

I feel like the luckiest woman on earth to do work I

adore with people I love. Thanks to the entire Acumen team

across the globe. You model the principles of this book,

teach me daily, and inspire me to be a better version of

myself. Your commitment to excellence has helped build

four new organizations in our extended family—Acumen’s

off-grid energy fund KawiSafi, our agriculture resiliency fund

ARAF, our Latin America Growth Fund, and our spin-off from

Lean Data, 60 Decibels. Each of those teams, too, have

influenced the ideas in this book, and for all of you, I am


I interviewed many Acumen entrepreneurs and fellows

both on-site and at distance and appreciate every visit,

every interaction. Each one of you has taught me more than

I can say. And though many of your stories and lessons

about making capital work for us are not included here,

nothing is wasted. Indeed, the collection of Acumen’s nearly

130 entrepreneurs and 600 fellows around the world

represents a treasure trove of human possibility; all of you

have lessons worth sharing.

Many thanks go to Acumen’s phenomenal board of

directors who encouraged me to write this book in the first

place: our indominable chair Shaiza Rizavi, Andrea Soros

Colombel, Cristina Ljungberg, Hunter Boll, Julius Gaudio,

Kathleen Chew Wai Lin, Kirsten Nevill-Manning, Margo

Alexander, Nate Laurell, Pat Mitchell, Stuart Davidson,

Thulasiraj Ravilla, as well as Dave Heller, William Mayer,

Robert Niehaus, Mike Novogratz, and Ali Siddiqui, who only

recently rolled off the board after many years of service.

Thank you to every advisory member (I’m including those

not acknowledged elsewhere): Jawad Aslam, Diana Barrett,

Tim Brown, Peter Cain, Niko Canner, Jesse Clarke, Beth

Comstock, Rebecca Eastmond, Paul Fletcher, Katherine

Fulton, Peter Goldmark, Per Heggenes, Katie Hill, Arianna

Huffington, Jill Iscol, Maria Angeles Leon Lopez, Federica

Marchionni, Felipe Medina, Susan Meiselas, Craig Nevill-

Manning, Noor Pahlavi, Paul Polman, Kerry J. Sulkowicz, Vikki

Tam, Mark Tercek, Pat Tierney, Daniel Toole, and Hamdi

Ulukaya. For your constant support, thank you. And, of

course, none of this learning would have been possible

without Acumen’s remarkable community of partners,

course takers, supporters, and friends around the world.

When all is said and done, you are the vanguard.

These pages carry the written wisdom of individuals far

wiser than I will ever be. I cannot possibly name all of them,

but the writings of Chinua Achebe, David Brooks, John

Gardner, Anand Giridharadas, Seth Godin, Jon Haidt, Marie

Howe, Chris Lowney, Maria Popova, Bryan Stevenson,

Pádraig Ó Tuama, Elaine Pagels, Amartya Sen, and Krista

Tippett especially have been a gift. I also owe much to the

Good Society Readings and friends from the Aspen Institute,

where I am a trustee and proud Henry Crown fellow.

Thank you to the Rockefeller Foundation who supported

me with a monthlong residency at its Bellagio Conference

Center. That time helped me get started and introduced me

to a community of encouraging friends. Thanks to Akhil

Gupta as well.

Belonging to a big, crazy, loving family not only grounds

me but makes my life richer and my work more effective

and expansive. I’m forever grateful to my parents, Barbara

and Bob; to my siblings, Robert, Michael, Elizabeth, John,

Amy, and Matthew; my in-laws, Sukey, Cortney, Tina,

Nadean, and Mike. To my stepdaughters Elizabeth and Anna

and their spouses, Joseph and Sam. And to the next big

generation of family members who will change the world

along with their peers. It is for you and every other young

person on this planet that I ultimately wrote this book.

Finally, to my darling Chris, for your patient ear, your

constant support, for your forever love, for everything.


1986. Kigali, Rwanda. I am standing in a field on a blue-sky

day, surrounded by tall, yellow sunflowers. I am a twenty-

five-year-old former banker dressed in a flowy skirt, wearing

flat, mud-speckled white shoes, my head filled with dreams

of changing the world. Beside me is an apple-cheeked,

bespectacled nun in a brown habit smiling broadly. Her

name is Felicula, and I adore her for taking me under her

wing. Along with a few other Rwandan women, she and I are

planning to build the first microfinance bank in the country.

Today, we’re visiting a sunflower oil–pressing business, the

kind of tiny venture our bank might one day support. We

plan to call the microfinance organization Duterimbere,

meaning “to go forward with enthusiasm.”

All I see is upside.

2016. Kigali, Rwanda. I am standing at an outdoor reception

on a starry night, surrounded by men and women in dark

suits. I am the fifty-five-year-old CEO of Acumen, a global

nonprofit seeking to change the way the world tackles

poverty. Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, and his top

ministers are at the reception to meet potential investors in

a new $70 million impact fund Acumen is building to bring

solar electricity to more than ten million low-income people

in East Africa.

I have become all too familiar with the risks of making

and then trying to deliver on big promises. Yet I’m confident

Acumen and its partners can launch and implement this

fund, and thus prove the power of innovation to help solve

one of the continent’s most intractable problems.

Just before I begin to make a formal presentation to the

group, a young Rwandan woman wearing a navy suit and

low-heeled pumps approaches me.

“Ms. Novogratz,” she says, “I think you knew my


“Really?” I ask. “What was her name?” I haven’t a clue

to whom she is referring: too many of my friends were

murdered in the genocide.

“Her name was Felicula,” she responds brightly.

My eyes well with tears. “I’m sorry,” I stammer. “Would

you remind me who you are again?”

“My name is Monique,” the young woman answers with

soft-spoken confidence, her eyes holding mine. “I am the

deputy secretary-general of Rwanda’s central bank.”

Words fail me completely. I am transported back to the

days when Felicula and I dreamed together of a world in

which women would have greater control over their lives.

Of course, we started with a low bar: until 1986, it was

illegal in Rwanda for a woman to open a bank account

without her husband’s permission. Although Felicula and I

and our other cofounders had big dreams to make a

difference, had you told us in 1986 that within a generation I

would be standing before a young Rwandan woman charged

with overseeing her nation’s financial system, I’m not sure

we would have believed you.

In addition to being an enterprising nun, Felicula

Nyiramtarambirwa, along with two other cofounders of

Duterimbere, was among the first three women

parliamentarians in Rwandan history. Early in their

parliamentary tenures, while Duterimbere was just getting

started, the three women felt compelled to take on the issue

of bride price, a system whereby men presented three cows

to a potential father-in-law in exchange for marrying his

daughter. Felicula especially respected the power of

tradition, but not as an excuse for reducing women to


The bill to ban the payment of a bride price passed

easily, but a backlash erupted. Rural women felt diminished.

In their eyes, their economic value had been decimated

overnight. Women and men across the country raised their

voices in protest, and many parliamentarians blamed the

outcry on the rashness of their freshmen colleagues. The

women parliamentarians had failed to understand the depth

of cultural practices in their own nation. They focused on

what could be, but neglected to recognize the world that

was, including the high-stakes realities of politics. In 1987,

just a few days after the bride-price fiasco, Felicula was

killed in a mysterious hit-and-run accident. Some assumed it

was a government-orchestrated killing. The murderer was

never found.

I mourned Felicula, and grieved over losing a person

who gave me a sense of belonging without consideration of

my tribe or religion or ethnicity. But if I had lost a chunk of

my innocence with her death, I also had learned the folly

and danger of unbridled optimism not grounded in the

realities of the communities we wish to serve. I grew in

understanding. And thanks to the elemental work

contributed by Felicula and others, our microfinance bank

expanded, reaching borrowers not only in Kigali but across

the nation.

Then, in 1994, the Rwandan genocide ripped the

country apart, resulting in the slaughter of more than a half

million people, mostly from the minority Tutsi tribe.

Shockingly, one of the cofounders of our beloved institution

of social justice emerged as a leader of that horrendous

bloodbath. After that, I couldn’t help but question all those

platitudes I’d heard about women being more nurturing and

caring than men. Some women, I’d think. Not all women.

Yet, soon enough, like shoots of fragile flowers creeping

upward through granite cracks, a small group of women

leaders came together from across the country to put

Duterimbere back together again. The quiet, resolute

actions of these women who had lost everything but hope

rekindled their resilience and helped repair the nation’s

broken heart.

Thirty years later, not only is Duterimbere surviving, but

it is thriving, and continuing to play its part in Rwanda’s

remarkable recovery. And though the history of the

country’s first three women parliamentarians ended

tragically, Rwanda now has the highest percentage of

women parliamentarians of any country on earth.

Back in Kigali on that night in 2016, I reconnected with

the memory of Felicula, who had started work she could not

complete in her lifetime. She was taken too early, but her

work continued anyway—because she cared, fought fiercely

for her convictions, and brought others along with her. I was

reminded that every one of us stands on the shoulders of

those who have gone before, that every one of us has a

chance to build on the collective knowledge of remarkable

human beings, their achievements, the principles they

cherished. And I was there to reassure myself that we have

infinitely more knowledge, connection, tools, skills, and

resources to tackle the world’s injustices today than we did

back in Felicula’s time.

Or at any other time in history.

The poet T. S. Eliot wrote, “We shall not cease from

exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive

where we started and know the place for the first time.”

That night in Kigali, I renewed my commitment to working

toward dreams so big that they may not be completed in my


And I resolved to write a love letter of sorts to anyone

daring to take action in our deeply flawed world.

We are made from what came before. We make

ourselves out of the promises that lie ahead. And we are

always in the process of becoming.

When I lived in Rwanda as a younger woman, cell

phones, the internet, and social media had yet to be

invented. I listened to the news twice daily via the BBC on a

shortwave radio. It was a world of separation: separate

nations, religions, ethnicities, tribes, and genders. Though

that world was terribly unequal and unfair—nearly 40

percent of humanity subsisted on less than a dollar a day—

most of us were blissfully unaware of what was happening in

other parts of our own countries, let alone what was

happening on other sides of the world.

The revolutions in technology and globalization in the

past three decades have changed everything. The rate of

extreme poverty has fallen to 10 percent and cell phones

have connected nearly every individual on the planet. We

can see into each other’s living rooms and gain a view into

one another’s lifestyles. Rights for human beings—and

nonhumans—are expanding. On so many dimensions, the

world has gotten better.

Yet, the same forces that have shaped this world—

technology and shareholder capitalism—hold within them

the potential to destroy us. We are dangerously unequal and

divided. We collectively face the ultimatum of our climate

emergency. And many of the institutions devoted ostensibly

to improving the lives of the many, not the few, are broken,

yet we have not envisioned their replacements.

We need a new narrative. We are too entangled to abide

worldviews based on separation, nor can we look to simple

technological or market solutions. Those stories have run

their course. We will be so much richer, productive, and

peaceful if we learn not only to coexist but to flourish,

celebrating our differences while holding to the

understanding that we are part of each other, bound

together by our shared humanity. That narrative will come

not from above but from all of us.

What we need is a moral revolution, one that helps us

reimagine and reform technology, business, and politics,

thereby touching all aspects of our lives. By “moral,” I don’t

mean strictly adhering to established rules of authority or

convention regardless of consequence. I mean a set of

principles focused on elevating our individual and collective

dignity: a daily choice to serve others, not simply benefit

ourselves. I mean complementing the audacity that built the

world we know with a new humility more attuned to our


Of course, the very notion of moral revolution is a tall

order. Some might call it naïve. But I am not writing with

wide-eyed idealism. Over three decades I have fought many

fights for social and economic change. Much of this time has

been spent building Acumen, investing in social

entrepreneurs who seek to provide essential goods and

services at affordable prices to people living in poverty. The

work has given me a front-row seat to the realities of

making sustainable change in some of the most challenging

places on the planet. What I’ve learned from these

individuals has deeply inspired me; and I want to pass on

those lessons, because they apply broadly.

None of this is easy, of course. I have accompanied

hundreds of change agents through challenges and

sometimes crushing defeats. My face wears the lines of

failures, losses, and far too many sleepless nights.

However, hard battles do not account for all my face’s

creases. Some are etched from smiles and laughter shared

with people who insisted on striving for freedom,

opportunity, and justice against all odds. I have partnered

with good people who have changed their communities,

their companies, their nations, and ultimately, themselves. I

have witnessed people making what others might consider

hopelessly romantic dreams come true—and true not just

for a few, but for millions (in some cases, hundreds of

millions). The actions of these people, not their slogans or

pretty words, have kept alive for me the ideas of purpose, of

impact, of dignity, of love—all separate points on a moral


A new generation is rising, one that is more conscious of

how they live, what they buy, and where they work. Many

are unwilling to work for companies unless those companies

are committed to sustainability and recognize that with

power must come accountability. And a growing number of

companies are listening. I’ve been heartened to see some

CEOs move to stakeholder models, partly in response to

prompting by their younger employees, and because they

themselves recognize the need to change. If you are

working in a corporation, you have ample opportunity to


Cynics might point to a system of governments,

corporations, and technologies so broken that attempts to

change it from the edges are futile. But cynics don’t build

the future. Instead, they often use their jaundiced views to

justify inaction. And never before have we more desperately

needed their opposite—thoughtful, empathetic, resilient

believers and optimists on a path of moral leadership.

This book assumes that you are interested in being part

of world-changing human capital that will help solve

problems big and small. Maybe you are a teacher or a

communicator, an activist or a doctor, a lawyer or an

investor, or some new force for positive change. I have seen

people like you alter the lives of schoolchildren and street

children, refugees, the formerly incarcerated; of people

living in forgotten communities and in places ravaged by

war, poverty, or toxic industries. I’ve witnessed you not just

doing but improving the often-unseen work of serving the

sick, healing the heartbroken, sitting with the dying to

remind others that they, too, are good and worthy of love.

Or you might be a philanthropist. The hard work of

changing systems requires financial resources. And just as

there is a new generation of entrepreneurial individuals

focused on solving complex issues, so there is a new

generation of philanthropists, men and women willing to

give not just money but time, commitment, connections,

and big parts of their hearts and minds.

Change is the domain of all of us.

In every country on earth, people are refusing to

acquiesce to the exhausting, deadening news cycles filled

with catastrophe and cynicism, seeking to make good news

instead. These people are deliberately expanding their

circles of compassion, reaching across lines of difference

with a quiet strength forged in all that we have in common.

Our problems are so similar, so solvable. And we are better

than we think we are.

Those I’ve known who’ve most changed the world

exhibit a voracious curiosity about the world and other

people, and a willingness to listen and empathize with those

unlike them. These people stand apart not because of

school degrees or the size of their bank accounts, but

because of their character, their willingness to build

reservoirs of courage and stand for their beliefs, even if they

stand alone.

Of course, this kind of character isn’t built overnight. It

is honed through a lifelong process of committing to

something bigger than yourself, aspiring to qualities of

moral leadership, defining success by how others fare

because of your efforts, embedding a sense of purpose into

your daily decisions.

Change is possible. And because large-scale,

sustainable change is possible, I have come to see it as a

responsibility to be

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