The problem which this book confronts is that a number of countries around the world are "falling behind and falling apart," exposing a billion or so people to life on the margins of misery and despair. The author identifies four traps behind the failure of these countries: conflicts, landlockedness, the natural resource curse, and bad governance. A large chunk of the book describes the traps and the conventional istruments like aid, military intervention, law and order, and trade policies, which policy-makers have used to reverse the marginalization of the countries concerned. Paul Collier, given his background and all that, is the right person for the job; only solutions to traps are tougher to come by than the identification of the traps. However, it is nice to see admittance (recognition) that good policy ultimately calls for the focused study of individual countries. In that respect the wiggling room is quite narrow indeed, not all countries are in exactly the same set of traps. Moreover, half of the traps are what Collier himself has called destinies, somewhere else in his other writings. Not all the destinies are easily changeable; how do we change a country being landlocked, for instance? Regional integration is one possible solution, but it also appears that as economies converge, conflicts between them intensify.