10 books like Social Entrepreneurship

By Susan Davis, David Bornstein,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Social Entrepreneurship. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Building Social Business

By Muhammad Yunus, Karl Weber,

Book cover of Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs

I love all four of this Nobel Peace Prize laureates' books, including his first (Banker to the Poor) that I helped edit, but this one is the best of them all.  He describes his vision of a new economy that is driven by social businesses – companies that are created to drive social change, through a business strategy.  By the time this book came out, he had multiple successful examples of this new hybrid model to describe to the reader – and he does so in a succinct and highly compelling way.  Importantly, he explains how his model is distinct from not only traditional nonprofits but also from social enterprises funded by impact investors. 

Building Social Business

By Muhammad Yunus, Karl Weber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Muhammad Yunus, the practical visionary who pioneered microcredit and, with his Grameen Bank, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, has developed a new dimension for capitalism which he calls "social business." The social business model has been adopted by corporations, entrepreneurs, and social activists across the globe. Its goal is to create self-supporting, viable commercial enterprises that generate economic growth as they produce goods and services to fulfill human needs. In Building Social Business , Yunus shows how social business can be put into practice and explains why it holds the potential to redeem the failed promise of free-market enterprise.


The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook

By Rupert Scofield,

Book cover of The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook: How to Start, Build, and Run a Business That Improves the World

This guidebook in the form of a memoir, or memoir in the form of a guidebook, is both highly entertaining and profoundly useful.  Through brutally honest stories from his years leading FINCA, the global microfinance network, Scofield shows how social change happens: one mistake, one insight, and one breakthrough at a time.  By laying them out so clearly and in such a reader-friendly format, he has provided a valuable gift to a new generation of changemakers.

The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook

By Rupert Scofield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The reader gains an insightful view of the author's personal journey and the processes involved when setting up a social enterprise. Its distinctive style makes it useful for readers who are looking for a thorough account of setting up a not-for-profit organisation or social enterprise" Phoenix, Jan 2012


Reclaiming Our Democracy

By Sam Daley-Harris,

Book cover of Reclaiming Our Democracy: Healing the break between people and government.

Daley-Harris chronicles his experience founding and leading RESULTS, a scrappy and highly effective anti-poverty advocacy organization, and later his work to embed his insights into other organizations working on other crucial issues such as climate change.  His stories of citizens studying issues and then acting in concert with others to drive desperately-needed policy changes and divert hundreds of millions of dollars to effective programs are instructive as well as inspirational.  In this edition, he helpfully breaks down his tactics for spurring unprecedented and highly successful citizen advocacy into bite-sized steps that any organization can adapt.

Reclaiming Our Democracy

By Sam Daley-Harris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reclaiming Our Democracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Most people see working to end global poverty and ensure a stable climate as a fool s errand. Add to that the Citizens United decision and the flood of money rushing into politics and the despair grows deeper. But activist and author Sam Daley-Harris has helped thousands of ordinary citizens transform from hopeless bystanders to powerful advocates.

This 20th anniversary edition has a new chapter on the groundbreaking work of Citizens Climate Lobby, an increasingly powerful new advocacy group following the RESULTS model, and another new chapter on the Center for Citizen Empowerment and Transformation, a new initiative focused on…


The Blue Sweater

By Jacqueline Novogratz,

Book cover of The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World

This beautifully written memoir also describes the change-making process in a highly personal way, while detailing pitfalls and the larger issue of what our increasingly interconnected world means for the humanitarian movement.  Written by the founder of the Acumen Fund, this book is a pleasure to read and still rings true 12 years after it was originally published. 

The Blue Sweater

By Jacqueline Novogratz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A book of hope written by a practical idealist who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer when it comes to building a better world.”—Former U.S. senator Bill Bradley
 
Jacqueline Novogratz left a career in international banking to spend her life on a quest to understand global poverty and find powerful new ways of tackling it. From her first stumbling efforts as a young idealist venturing forth in Africa to the creation of the trailblazing organization she runs today, Novogratz tells gripping stories with unforgettable characters. She shows how traditional charity often fails, but how a…


Getting Beyond Better

By Roger L. Martin, Sally Osberg,

Book cover of Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works

One of the more readable books on the topic of social entrepreneurship, Getting Beyond Better clarifies the mission of the modern social entrepreneur. Like many governments, the social entrepreneur is seeking to provide goods and services to fellow citizens but, unlike most governments, this do-gooder also must contend with the imperative to turn a profit, albeit not to the same extent as most “regular” entrepreneurs. 

Within this distinctive paradigm, social entrepreneurs may be empowered to tackle social problems in ways that are more sustainable, equitable, and benevolent than purely profit-driven entrepreneurship is capable of. For those eager to “do well” for themselves while “doing good” for society, Getting Beyond Better offers a compelling blueprint.

Getting Beyond Better

By Roger L. Martin, Sally Osberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Getting Beyond Better as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who drives transformation in society? How do they do it? In this compelling book, strategy guru Roger L. Martin and Skoll Foundation President and CEO Sally R. Osberg describe how social entrepreneurs target systems that exist in a stable but unjust equilibrium and transform them into entirely new, superior, and sustainable equilibria. All of these leaders--call them disrupters, visionaries, or changemakers--develop, build, and scale their solutions in ways that bring about the truly revolutionary change that makes the world a fairer and better place. The book begins with a probing and useful theory of social entrepreneurship, moving through history to…


Lean Impact

By Ann Mei Chang,

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

If you want a very practical guide on how companies can innovate for good, Chang’s Lean Impact is for you. A former executive in the tech industry and Chief Innovation Officer at USAID, Chang draws from the best of the tech world while avoiding the worst. She points out that the kinds of social change that are needed will require a different kind of innovation skill than that required to “build an app.” She encourages people to think big with really bold goals while at the same time avoiding scaling too soon in a way that would eliminate the possibility for learning and adaptation. Most importantly, she tells us to “fall in love with the problem, not your solution” in order to achieve the greatest social and environmental impact.

Lean Impact

By Ann Mei Chang,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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…


Greece and the Augustan Cultural Revolution

By A.J.S. Spawforth,

Book cover of Greece and the Augustan Cultural Revolution

Rome appropriated many aspects of Athenian (and Greek) culture for its political and cultural needs – so much so that the poet Horace spoke of ‘captured Greece capturing the rude conqueror’. This book discusses the ‘Romanization’ of Greece and the impact that Greek culture or Hellenism had on the Romans, and by extension, how the Romans (or at least educated ones) came to view the Greeks. In this cultural interaction, Athens played a key role, as the author shows. This book is an important balance to the ‘usual’ political and military approach to the period, and shows the importance of Athens beyond the terminating Hellenistic era date of 30 BC.

Greece and the Augustan Cultural Revolution

By A.J.S. Spawforth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Greece and the Augustan Cultural Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book examines the impact of the Roman cultural revolution under Augustus on the Roman province of Greece. It argues that the transformation of Roman Greece into a classicizing 'museum' was a specific response of the provincial Greek elites to the cultural politics of the Roman imperial monarchy. Against a background of Roman debates about Greek culture and Roman decadence, Augustus promoted the ideal of a Roman debt to a 'classical' Greece rooted in Europe and morally opposed to a stereotyped Asia. In Greece the regime signalled its admiration for Athens, Sparta, Olympia and Plataea as symbols of these past…


Understanding Collapse

By Guy D. Middleton,

Book cover of Understanding Collapse: Ancient History and Modern Myths

“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.

Understanding Collapse

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…


Hope in the Dark

By Rebecca Solnit,

Book cover of Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

The world is hell, so now what? By now we all know how easy it is to fall into despair. “Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting.” Solnit’s arguments and examples of a galvanizing hope are not naïve. They are nuanced, realistic, and give us something to cling to like a life raft as we scan for dry land.

Hope in the Dark

By Rebecca Solnit,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At a time when political, environmental and social gloom can seem overpowering, this remarkable book offers a lucid, affirmative and well-argued case for hope.

This exquisite work traces a history of activism and social change over the past five decades - from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the worldwide marches against the war in Iraq. Hope in the Dark is a paean to optimism in the uncertainty of the twenty-first century. Tracing the footsteps of the last century's thinkers - including Woolf, Gandhi, Borges, Benjamin and Havel - Solnit conjures a timeless vision of cause and effect that…


Skill in Action

By Michelle Cassandra Johnson,

Book cover of Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World

Michelle Cassandra Johnson knows yoga is both a personal practice to ease suffering and one that calls on us to lessen the suffering of others. She connects the philosophy to social justice so well, it’s as though she sat alongside the original scholars of the Sutras. Her book is packed with quiet wisdom, prompts, meditations, reflection, and so much heart. It’s both a workbook and a philosophy text, a resource, and an awakening. If you can study the book with her, do. She has many online offerings. Her presence is comforting, affirming, bold, and her book reflects these qualities.

Skill in Action

By Michelle Cassandra Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Skill in Action as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THIS IS THE 2nd and LATEST EDITION OF SKILL IN ACTION.
Transform your yoga practice into a force for creating social change with this concise, eloquent guide to social justice tools and skills.

Skill in Action asks you to explore the deeply transformational practice of yoga as a way to become an agent of social change and work toward a just world. Through yoga practices and philosophy, this book explores liberation for ourselves and others, while asking us to engage in our own agency--whether that manifests as activism, volunteer work, or changing our relationships with others and ourselves. To provide…


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