Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding

By Daniel Patrick Moynihan,

Book cover of Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding: Community Action in the War on Poverty

Book description

Describes the origin, implementation and results of the sociological theory, incorporated in the 1964 Opportunity Act, that anti-poverty programs be carried out with the maximum participation of community residents

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Why read it?

1 author picked Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

What would it look like if the federal government launched an ambitious campaign to mobilize community residents to reduce poverty? 

Daniel Patrick Moynihan offers an insider’s account of one such effort, launched in the 1960s as part of the War on Poverty. What he finds is a fundamental disconnect between the ambitions and high-minded theories of reformers in Washington DC, and the hard realities of practice on the ground.

Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding is a cautionary tale and a heartbreaking catalog of missed opportunities, unintended consequences, and wasted resources. I wish someone had handed me this book at the start of…

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