100 books like Lean Impact

By Ann Mei Chang,

Here are 100 books that Lean Impact fans have personally recommended if you like Lean Impact. 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 Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire

Sarah Kaplan Author Of The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-Offs to Transformation

From my list on stakeholder capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sarah Kaplan is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She is the author of the bestseller Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market—And How to Successfully Transform Them and The 360º Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation, both address the challenges of innovation and organizational change in society. She frequently speaks and appears in the media on topics related to achieving a more inclusive economy and corporate governance reform. Formerly a professor at the Wharton School and a consultant at McKinsey & Company, she earned her PhD at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Sarah's book list on stakeholder capitalism

Sarah Kaplan Why did Sarah love this book?

If we want to reimagine capitalism as a system that does not destroy the planet and destabilize society, this must be enabled by corporations changing the way that they operate. Henderson’s Reimagining Capitalism gives us some principles for thinking about how to do this. A long-time innovation scholar, Henderson draws on her knowledge about how to succeed at organizational change to propose a more purpose-driven model of corporate action. Using numerous case studies of companies that have (partially) succeeded and those that have failed, she animates a number of principles for change. To start, such a model will require new metrics for social and environmental impact. This would involve more collaborative engagement amongst stakeholders to grow the economic pie and amongst companies to self-regulate in a more sustainable manner.

Particularly refreshing, at the end of the book, Henderson connects the macro conversation about economic and corporate change with a discussion…

By Rebecca Henderson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A renowned Harvard professor debunks prevailing orthodoxy with a new intellectual foundation and a practical pathway forward for a system that has lost its moral and ethical foundation.
Free market capitalism is one of humanity's greatest inventions and the greatest source of prosperity the world has ever seen. But this success has been costly. Capitalism is on the verge of destroying the planet and destabilizing society as wealth rushes to the top. The time for action is running short.

Rebecca Henderson's rigorous research in economics, psychology, and organizational behavior, as well as her many years of work with companies around…


Book cover of The Ministry for the Future

Nick Fuller Googins Author Of The Great Transition

From my list on ward away your global warming anxiety.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was working installing solar panels in rural Maine when I first had the idea to write a climate crisis novel. I grew up in the woods of New England, and have always loved nature, but I was feeling pretty despondent about global warming. I started to wonder: what would it feel like to be part of a mass mobilization installing solar, wind, and so on, to save the planet? Those were the seeds of the novel. When I’m not writing, I’m a fourth grade teacher. I worry about the planet my students will inherit, and if I’m doing enough to make that world as hopeful as possible.

Nick's book list on ward away your global warming anxiety

Nick Fuller Googins Why did Nick love this book?

I read this novel when I was about three-quarters finished with my novel, and was just blown away by the attention to detail, possibilities, and hope between the pages.

This is another hopeful near-future novel, in which humanity is trying its best to overcome the worst of climate change. Unlike my novel, however, which is told from the perspective of one family, Ministry for the Future is a truly global story, with dozens and dozens of narrators, many unnamed, who give us snapshots everywhere from the Arizona border to Antarctica to Switzerland to India, all coalescing into what becomes a global movement to try to save the planet.

This novel is a little lighter on plot, but fascinating as a menu of hopeful options and possibilities for what could be done if humanity really got its act together. 

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked The Ministry for the Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR

“The best science-fiction nonfiction novel I’ve ever read.” —Jonathan Lethem
 
"If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future." —Ezra Klein (Vox)

The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, postapocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us. Chosen by Barack Obama as one of his favorite…


Book cover of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

Monna Wong Author Of Management In a Changing World: How to Manage for Equity, Sustainability, and Results

From my list on helping managers build resilience in challenging times.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a manager and leader in social justice nonprofits and campaigns for almost 15 years. A lot of my work has been in fast-paced environments with high stakes and few resources. Consequently, I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to lead effectively under less-than-ideal conditions—whether that’s because of a tough political climate, financial constraints, or supporting staff through personal crises. I know from experience that social justice leaders and managers are often called to show up as our best selves so that we can support our teams to do their best work. In order to do this, we need to build our internal reserves to lead effectively. 

Monna's book list on helping managers build resilience in challenging times

Monna Wong Why did Monna love this book?

Emergent Strategy draws lessons from both the natural world and science fiction (inspired by Octavia Butler’s work) to provide guidance and wisdom for organizing and movement work.

adrienne maree brown offers a smorgasbord of principles, concepts, quotes, and stories to support organizers and leaders to solve complex problems, instigate social change, and create lasting impact. This book is a great source of inspiration for managers and leaders feeling stuck in the face of great uncertainty.

By Adrienne Maree Brown,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Emergent Strategy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Octavia Butler, radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help to shape the futures we want.

Inspired by Octavia Butler's explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book invites us to feel, map, assess, and learn from the swirling patterns around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen. This…


Book cover of Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism

Sarah Kaplan Author Of The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-Offs to Transformation

From my list on stakeholder capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sarah Kaplan is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She is the author of the bestseller Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market—And How to Successfully Transform Them and The 360º Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation, both address the challenges of innovation and organizational change in society. She frequently speaks and appears in the media on topics related to achieving a more inclusive economy and corporate governance reform. Formerly a professor at the Wharton School and a consultant at McKinsey & Company, she earned her PhD at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Sarah's book list on stakeholder capitalism

Sarah Kaplan Why did Sarah love this book?

Mazzucato’s timely book offers a hopeful look into the possibilities for companies, governments, and civil society to work together to solve the world’s grand challenges. Inspired by the original moonshot program that mobilized the public and private sectors on a massive scale to take risks and experiment with innovative solutions to a previously unsolved problem, she pushes all of us to think boldly about the possibilities for transformative change. To do so, we’ll need to bust myths that impede progress such as the idea that businesses are the only entities that create value and governments are only there to de-risk and address market failures.

The increasingly popular ideas that governments need to run like businesses and save taxpayer money by outsourcing actually strip public policymakers of the tools they need to spur innovation. With examples of a Green New Deal, accessible health care, and narrowing the digital divide, Mission Economy…

By Mariana Mazzucato,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Longlisted for the 2021 Porchlight Business Book Awards, Big Ideas & New Perspectives

“She offers something both broad and scarce: a compelling new story about how to create a desirable future.”—New York Times

 An award-winning author and leading international economist delivers a hard-hitting and much needed critique of modern capitalism in which she argues that, to solve the massive crises facing us, we must be innovative—we must use collaborative, mission-oriented thinking while also bringing a stakeholder view of public private partnerships which means not only taking risks together but also sharing the rewards. 

Capitalism is in crisis. The rich have…


Book cover of Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist

Alessio Terzi Author Of Growth for Good: Reshaping Capitalism to Save Humanity from Climate Catastrophe

From my list on the relationship between the economy and nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an economist at the European Commission, Adjunct Professor in Paris, former fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and now a first-time author, I thrive at the intersection of academia, think-tanks, and policy-making. My academic soul leads me to seek answers to the big questions: what is economic growth and how does it relate to the success of civilization, to science and technology, to people’s wellbeing, and to nature. My practical focus leads me to draw the policy implications of all this for how we ought to fight climate change. My critics accuse me of being an optimist. I take it as a compliment: the future of humanity is in our hands.

Alessio's book list on the relationship between the economy and nature

Alessio Terzi Why did Alessio love this book?

If you ask me, there is very little I agree with in this book, and in particular the idea that economic growth is irrelevant once you focus on the things that actually matter in life (access to water, education, housing, health, and so on) while respecting planetary boundaries.

Let alone the fact that a stylized chart of a doughnut is hardly going to change millennial economic and power dynamics. Nonetheless, Raworth wrote an extremely readable and erudite book, and crucially fostering reflection on the one issue that to my mind is central: how to turn economic growth into a force for good, addressing social needs without destroying nature.

A must read, if not to learn how to think like a 21st-century economist, at least to be aware of the challenges ahead. 

By Kate Raworth,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Doughnut Economics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Financial Times "Best Book of 2017: Economics"

800-CEO-Read "Best Business Book of 2017: Current Events & Public Affairs"

Economics is the mother tongue of public policy. It dominates our decision-making for the future, guides multi-billion-dollar investments, and shapes our responses to climate change, inequality, and other environmental and social challenges that define our times.

Pity then, or more like disaster, that its fundamental ideas are centuries out of date yet are still taught in college courses worldwide and still used to address critical issues in government and business alike.

That's why it is time, says renegade economist Kate Raworth,…


Book cover of The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations, and the Public

Sarah Kaplan Author Of The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-Offs to Transformation

From my list on stakeholder capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sarah Kaplan is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She is the author of the bestseller Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market—And How to Successfully Transform Them and The 360º Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation, both address the challenges of innovation and organizational change in society. She frequently speaks and appears in the media on topics related to achieving a more inclusive economy and corporate governance reform. Formerly a professor at the Wharton School and a consultant at McKinsey & Company, she earned her PhD at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Sarah's book list on stakeholder capitalism

Sarah Kaplan Why did Sarah love this book?

Stout’s book was an early salvo in the current debate about shareholder primacy that opened the way for many who have followed in her footsteps. In this carefully argued book, she disputes the argument that corporate boards are required by law to put the shareholder first, pointing out flaws in legal interpretations that have supported a damaging consensus view. In debunking the shareholder value myth, she shows that the obsessive focus on financial returns has led to dangerous short-termism in which corporate leaders pursue quarterly earnings to the disadvantage of investments that would not only improve social outcomes but also lead to better long term performance. She also demonstrates that shareholders hold many values, only one of which might be financial returns. In this regard, she was a vanguard of the accelerating focus of institutional investors on “stewardship” of the environmental and social impacts of their investments.  

By Lynn Stout,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world.”
—Jack Welch

Executives, investors, and the business press routinely chant the mantra that corporations are required to “maximize shareholder value.” In this pathbreaking book, renowned corporate expert Lynn Stout debunks the myth that corporate law mandates shareholder primacy. Stout shows how shareholder value thinking endangers not only investors but the rest of us as well, leading managers to focus myopically on short-term earnings; discouraging investment and innovation; harming employees, customers, and communities; and causing companies to indulge in reckless, sociopathic, and irresponsible behaviors. And she looks at new models of corporate…


Book cover of Money Well Spent: A Strategic Plan for Smart Philanthropy

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?

Money Well Spent may be the single best summary of principles for practical leadership for social change.

It is focused on one dimension of social change – philanthropy – but also serves as a general primer on disciplined and ethical social change strategy. Money Well Spent includes sophisticated discussions of goal-setting, issue analysis, evaluation, and investment. 

Brest and Harvey are two of the leading philanthropic strategists of our young century and Money Well Spent captures their experience with both depth and clarity. 

By Paul Brest, Hal Harvey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Money Well Spent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Philanthropy is a booming business, with hundreds of billions of dollars committed to the social sector each year. Money Well Spent, an award-winning guide on how to structure philanthropy so that it really makes a difference, offers a comprehensive and crucial resource for individual donors, foundations, non-profits, and scholars who focus on and teach others about this realm.


Behind every successful grant is a smart strategy. Paul Brest and Hal Harvey draw on the experiences of hundreds of foundations and non-profits to explain how to deliver on every dollar. They present the essential tools to help readers create and test…


Book cover of The Quiet Before

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?

How do movements begin? Beckerman looks to history, drawing lessons from a dozen social movements.

In particular, he explores the communications tools (petitions, zines, private chat rooms) that movements have used over the centuries to organize their thinking and plan their actions. Traveling from Manchester to Moscow to Minneapolis, the reader is reminded that our work now is part of a chain of history.

We are not the first, nor will we be the last. But we can learn from the past even as we confront an uncertain future. 

By Gal Beckerman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The Quiet Before is a fascinating and important exploration of how ideas that change the world incubate and spread.' Steven Pinker

'Filled with insightful analysis and colourful storytelling... Rarely does a book give you a new way of looking at social change. This one does.' Walter Isaacson

Why do some radical ideas make history?

We tend to think of revolutions as loud: frustrations and demands shouted in the streets. But the ideas fuelling them have traditionally been conceived in much quieter spaces, in the small, secluded corners where a vanguard can imagine alternate realities. This extraordinary book is a search…


Book cover of Real Impact: The New Economics of Social Change

Kusi Hornberger Author Of Scaling Impact: Finance and Investment for a Better World

From my list on investing for impact.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Partner at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, where I lead a lot of our finance and investment advisory work with development finance institutions, family offices, and impact investors. I also serve on several impact investment and field-building organization advisory boards and regularly contribute to the ecosystem through thought leadership and speaking engagements at leading conferences. Over the course of my 20+ year career, I have played the role of advisor, investor, and technical assistance provider on more than 200 individual projects across the globe.   

Kusi's book list on investing for impact

Kusi Hornberger Why did Kusi love this book?

This is an inspiring read from a real changemaker.

Morgan is also someone I have had the pleasure of getting to know through the impact investing conference circuit, and I enjoyed reading her firsthand account of how she combined her social activist desires with the practical tools of finance and investment to create ‘real impact.’

One of my favorite sections of the book was on her early days and successes with shareholder activism. This book and her story are ones that many impact-minded leaders can learn from. 

By Morgan Simon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Impact investment, the support of social and environmental projects with a financial return, has become a hot topic in the world's philanthropy and development circles, and is growing exponentially: in the next decade, it is poised to eclipse traditional aid by ten times. Yet for all the excitement, there is work to do to ensure it actually realizes its potential. Will impact investment empower millions of people worldwide, or will it just replicate the same failures that have plagued the aid and antipoverty industry?

Enter Morgan Simon. When she was a twenty-year-old college student at Swarthmore, Simon compelled Lockheed Martin…


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…


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