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In the past 20 years, Jeffrey D. Sachs rescued Bolivia from hyperinflation, planted the seeds of capitalism in post-Cold War Poland, took a stab at doing the same in Russia, and helped bring new currencies to now-thriving Slovenia and Estonia. Since the early ’90s, the “world’s most famous economist” has returned to the groves of academe—sort of. The 50-year-old director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University has since been found cavorting with the likes of Pope John Paul II, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, and, yes, U2 singer and international-debt gadfly Bono. And now Sachs returns to the public-intellectual arena in a big way with a new book, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time. In the book, with a foreword from the aforementioned gadfly, Sachs diagnoses the causes of the extreme poverty that kills 8 million worldwide each year, and offers a nine-step program to eliminate it by 2025. His promise is alluring, even if the points on his action agenda—“Raise the Voice of the Poor,” “Harness Global Science”—are maddeningly vague. Sachs reads at 6:30 p.m. at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor. Free. (202) 662-7129. (Mike DeBonis)