98 books like Social Impact Investing

By Kim Tan, Brian Griffiths,

Here are 98 books that Social Impact Investing fans have personally recommended if you like Social Impact Investing. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence

Andrea Nelson Trice Author Of Strong Together: Building Partnerships Across Cultures in an Age of Distrust

From my list on people who want to change the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a faculty member and program evaluator, I’ve spent over two decades exploring questions around cross-cultural dynamics, empowerment, and human flourishing. I care deeply about vulnerable people and the misuse of power, and I find joy in conducting research that can improve people’s lives. I recognize that my early work as a counselor brings a unique perspective to my work, as does my childhood, which was partially spent in the Peruvian rainforest. 

Andrea's book list on people who want to change the world

Andrea Nelson Trice Why did Andrea love this book?

Using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator as the framework, this book offers deep insights into why we think, feel, and function the way we do.

I first read this book years ago and still find myself referring back to it on a regular basis when new issues come up in my life, such as a potential career change. This book truly does help me to understand myself better as well as to understand significant others in my life.

How I’m wired affects how I work, the work I’m drawn to, and how I interact with others. This insight, I have found, is crucial if I am to help make the world a better place. 

By David Keirsey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Please Understand Me II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rev. ed. of: Please understand me. 3rd ed. c1978.


Book cover of Culture's Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations Across Nations

Andrea Nelson Trice Author Of Strong Together: Building Partnerships Across Cultures in an Age of Distrust

From my list on people who want to change the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a faculty member and program evaluator, I’ve spent over two decades exploring questions around cross-cultural dynamics, empowerment, and human flourishing. I care deeply about vulnerable people and the misuse of power, and I find joy in conducting research that can improve people’s lives. I recognize that my early work as a counselor brings a unique perspective to my work, as does my childhood, which was partially spent in the Peruvian rainforest. 

Andrea's book list on people who want to change the world

Andrea Nelson Trice Why did Andrea love this book?

If you want to understand the importance of cultural differences across countries and within our own communities, this is a phenomenal book!

I appreciate the tables and charts throughout the book that give me quick access to concrete ways in which people differ culturally. These differences affect our work environments, male/female relationships, and even our life goals, but we are too often oblivious because we don’t know to look for them. 

I’ve used this book for years, and I’m a strong believer that we can’t contribute to positive change around the world unless we understand more about the many ways that we all differ culturally. 

By Geert Hofstede,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Culture's Consequences as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An important, sophisticated and complex monograph . . . Both the theoretical analysis and the empirical findings constitute major contributions to cross-cultural value analysis and the cross-cultural study of work motivations and organizational dynamics. This book is also a valuable resource for anyone interested in a historical or anthropological approach to cross-cultural comparisons."
--PERSONNEL PSYCHOLOGY

--PERSONNEL PSYCHOLOGY

The Second Edition of this classic work, first published in 1981 and an international best seller, explores the differences in thinking and social action that exist among members of more than 50 modern nations. Geert Hofstede argues that people carry "mental programs" which…


Book cover of Why are Americans like that?: A Guide to American Sayings and Culture

Andrea Nelson Trice Author Of Strong Together: Building Partnerships Across Cultures in an Age of Distrust

From my list on people who want to change the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a faculty member and program evaluator, I’ve spent over two decades exploring questions around cross-cultural dynamics, empowerment, and human flourishing. I care deeply about vulnerable people and the misuse of power, and I find joy in conducting research that can improve people’s lives. I recognize that my early work as a counselor brings a unique perspective to my work, as does my childhood, which was partially spent in the Peruvian rainforest. 

Andrea's book list on people who want to change the world

Andrea Nelson Trice Why did Andrea love this book?

This is a quick read that gives me fascinating insights into the American culture. The authors wrote it for international students who come to the U.S. and find the cultural differences confusing at best.

Reading this book, I feel like I’m observing conversations between Americans and catching insights that I would otherwise miss simply because it’s all so natural and comfortable to me as an American.

Understanding how Americans operate and what we most value is crucial if we are to effectively function in another culture and help to improve vulnerable people’s lives. 

By Stan Nussbaum, Kathleen Webb (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why are Americans like that? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For the international student, businessman, immigrant or ESL student, this is an easily readable introduction to American culture. Based on 100 common American sayings, clustered around key cultural values. Sixty "Ask an American" questions as discussion starters. Twelve blank pages for notes. Footnote definitions for ESL students.


Book cover of The Road to Character

Andrea Nelson Trice Author Of Strong Together: Building Partnerships Across Cultures in an Age of Distrust

From my list on people who want to change the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a faculty member and program evaluator, I’ve spent over two decades exploring questions around cross-cultural dynamics, empowerment, and human flourishing. I care deeply about vulnerable people and the misuse of power, and I find joy in conducting research that can improve people’s lives. I recognize that my early work as a counselor brings a unique perspective to my work, as does my childhood, which was partially spent in the Peruvian rainforest. 

Andrea's book list on people who want to change the world

Andrea Nelson Trice Why did Andrea love this book?

David Brooks thinks deeply and writes thoughtfully. He challenges me through this book to be a better person and to live a more courageous, authentic life. 

As I conducted interviews with scores of social entrepreneurs and development leaders for my book, several commented on the toxic hero culture that exists in this space. 

People want to change the world for a variety of reasons–and some of these reasons have more to do with what success would do for them rather than for the people they are trying to serve. This book shines a light on this problem, and I appreciate David’s courage in writing what he did. 

By David Brooks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Number-one New York Times best seller

David Brooks challenges us to rebalance the scales between the focus on external success - “résumé virtues” - and our core principles.

Named one of the best books of the year by The Economist 

With the wisdom, humor, curiosity, and sharp insights that have brought millions of readers to his New York Times column and his previous best sellers, David Brooks has consistently illuminated our daily lives in surprising and original ways. In The Social Animal, he explored the neuroscience of human connection and how we can flourish together. Now, in The Road to…


Book cover of Manifesto for a Moral Revolution: Practices to Build a Better World

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?

I recommend this book for any leader seeking to better understand their ‘why’. I have long admired Jacqueline Novogratz and Acumen and while not her most famous book, this one really gets deep into the inside of what motivates Jacqueline and the work she does at Acumen.

As someone who considers themselves to be values-led, I deeply admire how Jacqueline doesn’t shy away from the ethics of financing social and impact enterprises and instead leans in to explain her thinking in this book and to challenge our collective moral imagination about what is right.

It is also filled with useful examples and interviews with changemakers across the globe, which helps bring her work and the concepts in the book to life. A must-read for anyone interested in impact-first investing. 

By Jacqueline Novogratz,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Manifesto for a Moral Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An instant classic." ―Arianna Huffington
"Will inspire people from across the political spectrum." ―Jonathan Haidt

Longlisted for the Porchlight Business Book of the Year Award, an essential shortlist of leadership ideas for everyone who wants to do good in this world, from Jacqueline Novogratz, author of the New York Times bestseller The Blue Sweater and founder and CEO of Acumen.

In 2001, when Jacqueline Novogratz founded Acumen, a global community of socially and environmentally responsible partners dedicated to changing the way the world tackles poverty, few had heard of impact investing―Acumen’s practice of “doing well by doing good.” Nineteen years…


Book cover of Investing for Kids: How to Save, Invest and Grow Money

Juwan Rohan Author Of Money Talks: The Beginners Guide To Investing For Kids

From my list on for children to learn financial literacy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm very passionate about teaching children's financial literacy and business because with social media, it's easy for children to get caught up in the flashy and shiny materialist things. I like to teach kids about business and how to use the mistakes in business to scale and grow. I have expertise in this area as I've written three books, taught financial literacy & business at schools, and own a few different businesses. After I graduated college, I was thrown into the 'real world' with a good job and learned my lessons the hard way by spending too much money on things that did not matter. Hence my passion to want to help The Misguided.

Juwan's book list on for children to learn financial literacy

Juwan Rohan Why did Juwan love this book?

I recommend this book because after carefully reading it and completing the exercises with my 13-year-old niece, I found myself having fun and enjoying the quality time while also teaching the basics of money and how it works in our economy.

This eventually led to my niece asking questions about money and how to manage, save, and invest it. That's amazing to hear a young person start to think about money.

By Dylin Redling, Allison Tom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Investing for Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Outgrow your piggy bank—an intro to investing for kids ages 8 to 12

Did you know that the sooner you understand money, the sooner you can make more of it? It’s true! Investing for Kids can help make you money savvy, showing you how to earn it, how to start a savings plan, and the best ways to invest and create a future with money in the bank.

With a little help from the astounding Dollar Duo—Mr. Finance and Investing Woman—this engaging guide to investing for kids ages 8 to 12 covers essential information about stocks and bonds, how you…


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

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?

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. 

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.


Book cover of Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt

Mckay Jenkins Author Of Bloody Falls of the Coppermine: Madness and Murder in the Arctic Barren Lands

From my list on environmental justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing books on environmental journalism and teaching Environmental Humanities and Environmental Justice at the University of Delaware for 25 years. Each of these books has made a particularly powerful impression on me and my students in recent years. They are powerful calls for a genuine reckoning with racial and environmental injustice throughout American history

Mckay's book list on environmental justice

Mckay Jenkins Why did Mckay love this book?

An illustrated book of long-form nonfiction that examines poor Black, Indigenous, White, and Migrant communities in the United States, and how they have all been broken by extractive capitalism and racist public policy. Hedges’ writing is intentionally polemical, designed to shatter any illusions about the welfare of our fellow citizens living in communities ruined by racism and industrial-scale environmental degradation. Sacco’s long-form graphic illustrations are equally haunting. I’ve taught this book continually for many years.

By Chris Hedges, Joe Sacco,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com and the Washington Post Three years ago, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges and award-winning cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco set out to take a look at the sacrifice zones, those areas in America that have been offered up for exploitation in the name of profit, progress, and technological advancement. They wanted to show in words and drawings what life looks like in places where the marketplace rules without constraints, where human beings and the natural world are used and then discarded to maximize profit. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is the…


Book cover of Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret

Robin Kirk Author Of Righting Wrongs: 20 Human Rights Heroes Around the World

From my list on women human rights visionaries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a rights advocate since I was a middle schooler planning how to help save the whales. In college, I volunteered in anti-apartheid campaigns, then became a journalist covering the rise of the Shining Path guerrillas in Peru. I wanted my research and words to make change. I spent 12 years covering Peru and Colombia for Human Rights Watch. Now, I try to inspire other young people to learn about and advocate for human rights as a professor and the co-director of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute. I also write fiction for kids that explores human rights themes and just completed The Bond Trilogy, an epic fantasy.

Robin's book list on women human rights visionaries

Robin Kirk Why did Robin love this book?

One of the most important new issues faced by rights advocates is climate change. Macarthur genius award-winner Catherine Coleman Flowers is on the front line of that fight, based on her own childhood as the daughter of an activist Black family in Lowndes County, Alabama. This memoir captures Flowers’ essence: someone who just can’t let an injustice slide by. And she will talk to anyone who might be able to help, including with cleaning up the raw sewage that continues to poison the homes of many poor Alabamians. Flowers clearly describes the link between local rights issues and the global campaign to deal with climate change.

By Catherine Coleman Flowers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The MacArthur grant-winning environmental justice activist's riveting memoir of a life fighting for a cleaner future for America's most vulnerable

A Smithsonian Magazine Top Ten Best Science Book of 2020

Catherine Coleman Flowers, a 2020 MacArthur "genius," grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama, a place that's been called "Bloody Lowndes" because of its violent, racist history. Once the epicenter of the voting rights struggle, today it's Ground Zero for a new movement that is also Flowers's life's work-a fight to ensure human dignity through a right most Americans take for granted: basic sanitation. Too many people, especially the rural poor,…


Book cover of Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

Lodewijk Smets Author Of Retooling Development Aid in the 21st Century: The Importance of Budget Support

From my list on economic growth and international development.

Why am I passionate about this?

As Nobel prize-winning economist Robert Lucas put it, "Once you start thinking about economic growth, it's hard to think about anything else." That's why I am eager to share the best books on economic development with you! I am a Senior Economist at the World Bank, the world's premier development institution. Over the years, I have developed a deep interest in what makes countries prosper, have published extensively on the topic in academic journals, and earned a PhD in Economics along the way. As a development practitioner, I have been supporting sustainable growth across the globe, with working experience in the Caribbean, Africa, and the Pacific. 

Lodewijk's book list on economic growth and international development

Lodewijk Smets Why did Lodewijk love this book?

The book, written in a very accessible manner, helps to understand the constraints the poor face and how they make decisions on matters such as education, healthcare, savings, entrepreneurship, and a variety of other issues.

Duflo and Banerjee, recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economics, advocate for the use of randomized controlled trials and, most importantly, to actually listen to what the poor have to say.

The book won the 2011 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award. To me, it was an eye-opener and a refreshing way to rethink poverty reduction.

By Abhijit V. Banerjee, Esther Duflo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why do the poor borrow to save? Why do they miss out on free life-saving immunizations, but pay for unnecessary drugs? In Poor Economics , Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, two practical visionaries working toward ending world poverty, answer these questions from the ground. In a book the Wall Street Journal called marvellous, rewarding," the authors tell how the stress of living on less than 99 cents per day encourages the poor to make questionable decisions that feed,not fight,poverty. The result is a radical rethinking of the economics of poverty that offers a ringside view of the lives of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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