Why did I love this book?
In Changing the World, Alex tells his own story, and it’s a compelling one, chocked full of useful lessons for anyone hoping to find a way to make a difference and take on any of the world’s seemingly intractable problems. It’s all here, from how to break in, to recognizing an opportunity when it presents itself and knowing how to take full advantage of it, to building an organization and populating it with the right people, and how to raise the dough to finance your dream. As to how to break-in, while he doesn’t say as much, I know Alex shares my view that the fastest and best way to break into international development work is to go and live where the problems of poverty live – which in Alex’s case was Bangladesh. There he apprenticed himself to a 100-karat visionary, authentic social entrepreneur, Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. Talk about knowing how to pick your mentor.
I didn’t find anything to criticize in this book, but I would think among the most useful parts would surely be the section on fundraising, which seems to be a skill you aren’t born with but have to learn. With Grameen and Yunus, Alex had a killer brand at the height of its power, and, to his credit, he made full use of it.