October 1995 // Volume 33 // Number 5 // Tools of the Trade // 5TOT3

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"101 Ideas on Economic Development"

Cal Clark's "101 Ideas on Economic Development" is an excellent introduction to economic development for educators and practitioners alike. It covers the broad spectrum of community economic development in a brief 115 page volume.

Jerold R. Thomas
Extension Agent
Community Economic Development
Ohio State University Extension
Crawford County
Internet address: thomas.69@osu.edu

Clark, C. (1994). 101 Ideas on Economic Development. Omaha, NE: Peoples Natural Gas, 115 pages, $12.95.

In today's climate, it is not uncommon for Extension educators with agriculture, 4-H, and home economic backgrounds to find themselves with community resource and economic development (CRED) responsibilities. Whether these extra responsibilities are of the agents' choosing or not, they usually need to acquire additional knowledge and expertise. Cal Clark's "101 Ideas on Economic Development" is an excellent source for agents with little time to devote to the study of economic development.

The book is thin (115 pages) and is divided into very short sections that were originally newspaper articles on economic development. The articles ran in 45 newspapers in Minnesota and were written for a general audience. The articles are similar to Extension news releases, and despite the brevity of the articles, they are relevant and useful. Clark draws on recent studies and his first hand experiences in economic development (as director of economic development for Peoples Gas) to cover trends and strategies.

The chapters on vision and strategy and leadership are the best. In these, Clark discusses the need for communities to have a vision for their future and the importance of developing both people and a positive community attitude. There is also an introductory chapter on why economic development is important; chapters on trends as opportunities; and chapters on resources and strategies. All are in an easy to read format. While the focus of the book is on economic development, many of the trends and concepts can apply to general community development as well.

A minor inconvenience in the book is several typographic errors. For example, Johns Hopkins is continually listed as John Hopkins. However, these errors are minimized by the readability of the book. Clark is able to take large amounts of information and convert it into short, clear sections. Extension educators wanting a short introduction to economic development will find "101 Ideas on Economic Development" well worth their time.