The Fix

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by Jonathan Tepperman

A provocative look at the world's most difficult, seemingly ineradicable problems—and the surprising stories of the countries that solved them.

We all know the bad news. The heady promise of the Arab Spring has given way to repression, civil war, and an epic refugee crisis. Economic growth is sputtering. Income inequality is rising around the world. And the threat of ISIS and other extremist groups keeps spreading. We are living in an age of unprecedented, irreversible decline—or so we’re constantly being told.

Jonathan Tepperman’s The Fix presents a very different picture. The book reveals the often-overlooked good news stories, offering a provocative, unconventional take on the answers hiding in plain sight. It identifies ten pervasive and seemingly impossible challenges—including immigration reform, economic stagnation, political gridlock, corruption, and Islamic terrorism—and shows that, contrary to the general consensus, each has a solution, and not merely a hypothetical one. In his close analysis of government initiatives as diverse as Brazil’s Bolsa Família program, Indonesia’s campaign against extremism, Canada’s early embrace of multiculturalism, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s reform of the NYPD, Tepperman isolates the universally applicable measures that have can boost and buttress equality, incomes, cooperation, and cohesion in wildly diverse societies. He flips conventional political wisdom on its head, showing, for example, how much the U.S. Congress could learn about compromise and conciliation from its counterpart in Mexico.

Tepperman has traveled the world to write this book, conducting more than a hundred interviews with the heads of state and other innovators responsible for these unexpected success stories. His access and expertise make The Fix a work of unusual insight, focused on the people and leadership lessons behind the policies. Meticulously researched and deeply reported, it presents practical advice for aspiring problem-solvers of all stripes, and stands as a necessary corrective to the hand-wringing and grim prognostication that dominates the news these days, making a data-driven case for optimism in a time of crushing pessimism.

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When millions can go to the supermarket to buy milk, to buy bread, the economy will work better. The miserable will become consumers.

— Jonathan Tepperman, The Fix