100 books like Getting Beyond Better

By Roger L. Martin, Sally Osberg,

Here are 100 books that Getting Beyond Better fans have personally recommended if you like Getting Beyond Better. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Joe Carlen Author Of A Brief History of Entrepreneurship: The Pioneers, Profiteers, and Racketeers Who Shaped Our World

From my list on the impact of entrepreneurship on society.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an entrepreneur and a professional business valuation specialist, I have a passion for understanding entrepreneurship and its often-transformational impact on society/civilization. Having worked with many business owners and inventors over the years, I've noticed that money is not always the primary motivating factor for entrepreneurs. In many instances, the benefits their products and services are intended to provide—and, in some instances, the wider social implications of those benefits—are what animates these business adventurers the most. So, these days when the work of NewSpace entrepreneurs like Musk, Bezos, and Branson are likely leading humankind to a multiplanetary future, it's an opportune time to explore the impact of entrepreneurship on society. 

Joe's book list on the impact of entrepreneurship on society

Joe Carlen Why did Joe love this book?

Although Peter Drucker is best remembered as a management guru, he also produced some seminal work on the topic of entrepreneurship, of which Innovation and Entrepreneurship is the most comprehensive. The book explores the close relationship between creative problem-solving (or “innovation”) and successful/socially impactful entrepreneurship. In his lively prose, the fondly remembered business writer provides a rigorous review of the opportunities for entrepreneurship. 

For example, he discusses how “changes in perception” such as changes in how women see themselves in modern society, create opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs. Dr. Drucker also provides excellent insights regarding different forms of entrepreneurship. Perhaps most relevantly, he also explains the ways in which entrepreneurship impacts society and, in his view, makes the United States and some other developed countries more economically resilient. 

By Peter F. Drucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Innovation and Entrepreneurship as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How can management be developed to create the greatest wealth for society as a whole? This is the question Peter Drucker sets out to answer in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. A brilliant, mould-breaking attack on management orthodoxy it is one of Drucker's most important books, offering an excellent overview of some of his main ideas. He argues that what defines an entrepreneur is their attitude to change: 'the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity'. To exploit change, according to Drucker, is to innovate. Stressing the importance of low-tech entrepreneurship, the challenge of balancing…


Book cover of Business Cycles: A Theoretical, Historical, and Statistical Analysis of the Capitalist Process

Joe Carlen Author Of A Brief History of Entrepreneurship: The Pioneers, Profiteers, and Racketeers Who Shaped Our World

From my list on the impact of entrepreneurship on society.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an entrepreneur and a professional business valuation specialist, I have a passion for understanding entrepreneurship and its often-transformational impact on society/civilization. Having worked with many business owners and inventors over the years, I've noticed that money is not always the primary motivating factor for entrepreneurs. In many instances, the benefits their products and services are intended to provide—and, in some instances, the wider social implications of those benefits—are what animates these business adventurers the most. So, these days when the work of NewSpace entrepreneurs like Musk, Bezos, and Branson are likely leading humankind to a multiplanetary future, it's an opportune time to explore the impact of entrepreneurship on society. 

Joe's book list on the impact of entrepreneurship on society

Joe Carlen Why did Joe love this book?

More so than almost any other economist of his stature, Joseph Schumpeter appreciated the central importance of entrepreneurship to any proper understanding of economics. After all, Schumpeter was the academic who popularized (but did not actually coin) the term “creative destruction,” now synonymous with the disruptive but ultimately beneficial process of innovative entrepreneurship.  

In Business Cycles, among other topics, the Austrian-born economist explains how the entrepreneur, defined as an “individual who carries out innovations,” interacts with the capitalist, defined as “the one who bears the [financial] risk.” Their collaborative work lies at the core of what Schumpeter describes as economic “evolution,” impacting the business cycle and the lives of everyone in a capitalist society. First published in 1939, Schumpeter’s observations still resonate over 80 years later.

By Joseph A. Schumpeter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Business Cycles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2017 Reprint of 1939 First Edition.  Volume One Only.  Volume Two published separately by Martino Fine Books ISBN 978-1-68422-065-6.  Full facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software. Schumpeter is without doubt one of the most influential economists of the 20th century.  “Business Cycles” [1939] is considered his great work. We reprint the first edition published in 1939 in two volumes. In "Business Cycles" Schumpeter focuses powerfully on the historical role of technological innovation in accounting for the high degree of instability in capitalists societies. He aims to analyze empirically the actual process of economic development using…


Book cover of The Entrepreneurial Society

Joe Carlen Author Of A Brief History of Entrepreneurship: The Pioneers, Profiteers, and Racketeers Who Shaped Our World

From my list on the impact of entrepreneurship on society.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an entrepreneur and a professional business valuation specialist, I have a passion for understanding entrepreneurship and its often-transformational impact on society/civilization. Having worked with many business owners and inventors over the years, I've noticed that money is not always the primary motivating factor for entrepreneurs. In many instances, the benefits their products and services are intended to provide—and, in some instances, the wider social implications of those benefits—are what animates these business adventurers the most. So, these days when the work of NewSpace entrepreneurs like Musk, Bezos, and Branson are likely leading humankind to a multiplanetary future, it's an opportune time to explore the impact of entrepreneurship on society. 

Joe's book list on the impact of entrepreneurship on society

Joe Carlen Why did Joe love this book?

The impact of entrepreneurship on society is clearly of great interest to the author, an economist at Indiana University. Often contrasting Europe, where Dr. Audretsch has spent a considerable amount of time, with his native United States, the author explores the socioeconomic implications of America’s transition from a job-for-life society to The Entrepreneurial Society

For example, he explains that the entrepreneurial thrust in American business and academia in the late 20th century/early 21st century have generated an impressive job-creating engine, especially in contrast to the relatively stagnant job growth in most of Europe. The Entrepreneurial Society stands as an important discussion about the impact of entrepreneurship on 21st-century society and the book’s transatlantic scope makes it particularly interesting. 

By David B. Audretsch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Entrepreneurial Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Your father most likely enjoyed the security of life-time employment with a major corporation. No more. While the previous generation had an average of four employers over the course of their lifetimes, the current generation will hold four different jobs by the time they reach 30. One of their employers will be either someone they know or themselves. If you're not an agent of change by contributing to innovation and doing something different and better today than
yesterday, don't expect your job to be around for much longer. Over two-thirds of college students will be their own boss at some…


Book cover of Bill Gates Speaks: Insight from the World's Greatest Entrepreneur

Joe Carlen Author Of A Brief History of Entrepreneurship: The Pioneers, Profiteers, and Racketeers Who Shaped Our World

From my list on the impact of entrepreneurship on society.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an entrepreneur and a professional business valuation specialist, I have a passion for understanding entrepreneurship and its often-transformational impact on society/civilization. Having worked with many business owners and inventors over the years, I've noticed that money is not always the primary motivating factor for entrepreneurs. In many instances, the benefits their products and services are intended to provide—and, in some instances, the wider social implications of those benefits—are what animates these business adventurers the most. So, these days when the work of NewSpace entrepreneurs like Musk, Bezos, and Branson are likely leading humankind to a multiplanetary future, it's an opportune time to explore the impact of entrepreneurship on society. 

Joe's book list on the impact of entrepreneurship on society

Joe Carlen Why did Joe love this book?

Bill Gates Speaks is a collection and analysis of some of the Microsoft mega-entrepreneur’s most intriguing quotes. Gates’ reflections on business, technology, social improvement (e.g., “I have no doubt that computers can help kids develop more of their mental potential”) and even government provide tremendous insight into the nexus of entrepreneurship and society. Especially considering his remarkable philanthropy in recent years, few people understand that relationship in the firsthand manner that Bill Gates does. 

By Janet Lowe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bill Gates Speaks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Love him or hate him, Bill Gates has single-handedly shaped the technological future of the twenty-first century. Created through the independent research of bestselling author Janet Lowe, Bill Gates Speaks documents the life and ambitions of one of the world's most unique business and cultural leaders. The only book to compile Gates' actual words-culled from articles, newscasts, and interviews-this profile reveals what Gates has to say on everything from financing a start-up to running a conglomerate, developing technology, to raising a family.


Book cover of Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know

Alex Counts Author Of Changing the World Without Losing Your Mind: Leadership Lessons from Three Decades of Social Entrepreneurship

From my list on social entrepreneurship and why it is so important.

Why am I passionate about this?

Alex Counts founded Grameen Foundation and became its President and CEO in 1997. A Cornell University graduate, Counts’s commitment to poverty eradication deepened as a Fulbright scholar in Bangladesh, where he trained under Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, and co-recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Since its modest beginnings, Grameen Foundation has grown to become a leading international humanitarian organization. Today he is an independent consultant to mission-driven organizations, a prolific writer, and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland who loves to teach nonprofit leadership and related subjects. 

Alex's book list on social entrepreneurship and why it is so important

Alex Counts Why did Alex love this book?

This short book hits the nail on the head over and over about what social entrepreneurship is, what it isn’t, why it matters, and how it differs from other approaches to causing social change.  I have given it to countless people over the years, especially those seeking their own place in the “do good” ecosystem.  On virtually every page, I found multiple insights about the realities of leading social change that I found not only true but also extremely helpful to me as I reflected on my own journey and its highs and lows as well as its more mundane elements and its many absurdities.

By Susan Page Davis, David Bornstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Social Entrepreneurship as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In development circles, there is now widespread consensus that social entrepreneurs represent a far better mechanism to respond to needs than we have ever had before-a decentralized and emergent force that remains our best hope for solutions that can keep pace with our problems and create a more peaceful world.
David Bornstein's previous book on social entrepreneurship, How to Change the World, was hailed by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times as "a bible in the field" and published in more than twenty countries. Now, Bornstein shifts the focus from the profiles of successful social innovators in that book-and…


Book cover of Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good

Jacob Harold Author Of The Toolbox: Strategies for Crafting Social Impact

From my list on social change strategy.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was eight years old, my family went for a hike on Mount Mitchell, the tallest peak in my home state of North Carolina. We stumbled on a horror scene: most of the trees on the mountain were scarred skeletons; we were witnesses to mass death from acid rain. Since then, I’ve devoted myself to trying to nudge human action towards good. At Greenpeace I chained myself to fences, at the Hewlett Foundation I oversaw millions of dollars in grants, as GuideStar CEO I helped lead a technology platform used by millions of donors and do-gooders. I’ve been blessed to work with some of the best thinkers and doers in business, philanthropy, and government.

Jacob's book list on social change strategy

Jacob Harold Why did Jacob love this book?

In social change, it’s easy enough to think you can look at a problem, map out a plan, and execute it. But reality always gets in the way.

In Lean Impact, Ann Mei Chang Shows how to bring an iterative approach to doing good in the world. Translating the “Lean Startup” methodology to social change, Chang shows that it is possible to listen, to learn, and to get results.  

By Ann Mei Chang,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lean Impact as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Despite enormous investments of time and money, are we making a dent on the social and environmental challenges of our time? What if we could exponentially increase our impact?

Around the world, a new generation is looking beyond greater profits, for meaningful purpose. But, unlike business, few social interventions have achieved significant impact at scale. Inspired by the modern innovation practices, popularized by bestseller The Lean Startup, that have fueled technology breakthroughs touching every aspect of our lives, Lean Impact turns our attention to a new goal - radically greater social good.

Social change is far more complicated than building…


Book cover of Understanding Collapse: Ancient History and Modern Myths

John F. Haldon Author Of The Empire That Would Not Die: The Paradox of Eastern Roman Survival, 640-740

From my list on premodern societies, climate, and environment.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has always fascinated me because it offered ways through which I could begin to make sense of the present. History is about how and why things change over time, above all about the causal dynamics underlying how societies, economies, and cultures work and transform. The history of Byzantium is a perfect example, offering many challenges of understanding and interpretation of its own, yet at the same time opening up a whole world of medieval societies and cultures around it, helping to illuminate not just the history of the immediate regions concerned – the eastern Mediterranean and Balkans – but of the world beyond.  

John's book list on premodern societies, climate, and environment

John F. Haldon Why did John love this book?

“Collapse” is a term frequently bandied about in the press and popular as well as academic historical writing. Middleton’s book, well-informed by the palaeoenvironmental, archaeological, and documentary evidence shines a powerful light on some of the pervasive myths about supposed historical collapses, many of which were not at all what the term might suggest. He challenges us to think carefully and critically about what we really know about a past civilisation before we rush into easy judgements. His book made me rethink many of my own assumptions on the subject and undoubtedly influenced my own work.

By Guy D. Middleton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Understanding Collapse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Understanding Collapse explores the collapse of ancient civilisations, such as the Roman Empire, the Maya, and Easter Island. In this lively survey, Guy D. Middleton critically examines our ideas about collapse - how we explain it and how we have constructed potentially misleading myths around collapses - showing how and why collapse of societies was a much more complex phenomenon than is often admitted. Rather than positing a single explanatory model of collapse - economic, social, or environmental - Middleton gives full consideration to the overlooked resilience in communities of ancient peoples and the choices that they made. He offers…


Book cover of Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul

Gareth M. Winrow Author Of Whispers Across Continents: In Search of the Robinsons

From my list on social and family history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in social and family history when my Turkish friend, Ahmet Ceylan, told me amazing stories about his family. An academic by training, I used my expertise in the history of Turkey to explore the archives and uncover extraordinary details about the lives of the Robinsons. My field research took me to the wolds of Lincolnshire, the side streets of Istanbul, and the foothills of the Himalayas. I am keen to learn more about my own family, and for my next book, I am exploring the lives of people who owned/occupied the land/property where I live in Oxford, UK.

Gareth's book list on social and family history

Gareth M. Winrow Why did Gareth love this book?

I was fascinated by this book and its colourful stories about the lives of individuals who played a role in the formation of today’s Istanbul. The backdrop is the famous Pera Palace in the centre of Istanbul, the much-loved hotel of the crime writer, Agatha Christie. Much of the book concentrates on the inter-war period. Superbly written, you can almost see and hear the sights and sounds of the alleyways, nightclubs, shops, and restaurants of a now almost forgotten Istanbul.

By Charles King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Midnight at the Pera Palace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Ottoman Empire collapsed, so many spies mingled in the lobby of Istanbul's Pera Palace Hotel that the manager put up a sign asking them to relinquish seats to paying guests.

As the multi-ethnic empire became a Turkish republic, Russian emigres sold family heirlooms, an African American impresario founded a jazz club and Miss Turkey became the first Muslim beauty queen. Turkey's president Kemal Ataturk, Muslim feminist Halide Edip, the exiled Leon Trotsky and the future Pope John XXIII fought for new visions of human freedom. During the Second World War, German intellectuals ran from the Nazis while Jewish…


Book cover of The Catholic Origins of Quebec's Quiet Revolution, 1931-1970, Volume 2

Mark A. Noll Author Of A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

From my list on the history of Christianity in Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

Instead of experiencing a mid-life academic crisis, I discovered Canada. Through George Rawlyk, a senior historian at Queen’s University in Ontario, and then through many fruitful contacts with older and younger Canadians as well as frequent visits north of the border, I became increasingly intrigued by comparisons with U.S. history. Most of my specialized scholarship has treated American developments, but I have been able to explain those matters more perceptively by keeping Canada’s alternative history in mind. The chance to introduce undergraduates at the University of Notre Dame to Canadian history provided a regular stimulus to think about a common subject (Christianity) taking somewhat different shapes in the two nations.

Mark's book list on the history of Christianity in Canada

Mark A. Noll Why did Mark love this book?

With deep research in both French and English sources, Gauvreau offers a convincing explanation for the dramatic flight from traditional Catholicism that occurred in Quebec during the 1960s. He shows that young reforming Catholics, whose number included the future prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, successfully critiqued the stultifying conservatism, unthinking nationalism, and intellectual sterility of the province’s traditional alignment of church and state. Gauvreau also details the reasons why the reformers’ hopes for a reformed, but reinvigorated Catholicism were frustrated by trajectories they themselves had set in motion. The result was to transform Canada’s most actively religious province into its most secular, and to do so in less than a decade.

By Michael Gauvreau,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Catholic Origins of Quebec's Quiet Revolution, 1931-1970, Volume 2 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A cogent study that investigates the Catholic origins of Quebec's Quiet Revolution.


Book cover of Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World

Srdja Popovic Author Of Blueprint for Revolution: How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World

From my list on teaching you how to change society for better.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm super passionate about educating people on how to empower themselves and change the world. I do a lot of different things for a living. And my organization CANVAS works with the groups who are involved in the pro-democracy struggles and “art of the revolution.” Starting as a student activist in my homeland, ruled by ruthless dictator Slobodan Milosevic, I was blessed to meet and work with some of the most courageous people. Throughout the last 25 years, I've tried to capture, share, and transfer successful tools common people may use in order to address injustice, inequality, or small tangible problems through mobilizing their peers – and thus make their communities or the world a better place.

Srdja's book list on teaching you how to change society for better

Srdja Popovic Why did Srdja love this book?

Though we often think that positive change is inspired by charismatic leaders, NYT top gun journalist Tina Rosenberg takes us to a very different world, where real positive change is not driven by role models, but the peers. From iconic student-led revolution which has spread like wildfire from campuses to cities and villages in 90s Serbia, through removing the stigma from HIV positive people all the way to amazing process in which smoking has become “non cool” instead of “socially acceptable” this book explores the phenomena of “healing the community through peer pressure” especially among youngsters, and may serve as an amazing lighthouse to those seeking to mobilize-and get inspired by their own environment.

By Tina Rosenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Join the Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, Tina Rosenberg has spent her career tackling some of the world's hardest problems. Now, through striking stories from around the globe, Rosenberg shows how positive peer pressure can change people's behavior and solve seemingly intractable social quandaries. In every case, pioneering social entrepreneurs throw out the old models for social change in favor of humanity's most powerful and abundant resource: our connections with one another. The result is one of those rare books that will not only revolutionize the way you look at the world but also give you…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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