Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential by Dan Pallotta

Yuck. Ech. Awfulness.

This book was absolutely terrible. If you have been following along, you know that I hardly ever come down harshly on a book. This book, however, sucks. I think Pallotta wrote this book to justify the enormous salary he was making as a nonprofit CEO before his charity folded. I think that he says controversial statements with no actual solutions (other than to have the courage to dream our biggest dreams). I think he would have a love affair with capitalism if it was personified. And I think his writing style is one the most gosh-awful ones I have ever read (constantly using increasingly bizarre metaphors and placing your "key points" in italics is distracting not helpful).

Yes, new ideas need to enter the nonprofit sector. Yes, current efficiency standards are lacking. Yes, there are changes that can be made to make the system more effective. No, Dan Pallotta is not the nonprofit savior.

In the interest of fairness, I should say that just about everyone in my Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Administration class disagreed with me. The majority thought he raised great points, and some students were actually fawning over him. I will say that he made me think, but I also could not get past the horrendous writing.

Writing all this down has been cathartic. Maybe now I can write my final paper without having to fight the urge to hurl the book across the room. I think the picture of the vomiting computer adequately sums up my feelings about this book.

1 comment:

  1. I certainly had the same dilemma reading this book. Capitalism isn't a panacea for charity. I commend Dan for inspiring folks to take on capitalism in earnest as a method for doing good on scales hereto not attempted, but without a serious look at all the problems with capitalism, his book leaves much to be desired. On the spectrum of reality oriented solutions for the future, the answer lies somewhere between his book and this documentary: http://www.hulu.com/watch/118169/the-corporation