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How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition [Paperback]

David Bornstein
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 15 2007
David Bornstein's How to Change the World is the first book to study a remarkable and growing group of individuals around the world--what Bornstein calls social entrepreneurs. These men and women are bringing innovative, and successful, grass-roots approaches to a wide variety of social and economic problems, from rural poverty in India to discrimination against gypsies in Central Europe; from industrial pollution in the United States to child prostitution in Thailand. Like business entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs are creative, driven, and adventurous. The embrace change, exploit new opportunities, and think big. In How to Change the World, Bornstein provides vivid profiles of many such individuals, looking at the personalities, strategies, and techniques they have in common. The book is an In Search of Excellence for social initiatives, intertwining personal stories, anecdotes, and analysis. Readers will see how social entrepreneurs bring about structural changes intheir societies--in other words, how one human being can make a difference. The case studies in the book include Jody Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for the international campaign against landmines she ran by e-mail from her Vermont home; Roberto Baggio, a 31-year old Brazilian who has established eighty computer schools in the slums of Brazil; and Diana Propper, who has used investment banking techniques to make American corporations responsive to environmental dangers.The paperback edition will offer a new foreword by the author that shows how the concept of social entrepreneurship has expanded and unfolded over the last few years, including the Gates-Buffetts charitable partnership, the rise of Google, and the increased mainstream coverage of the subject. The book will also update the stories of individual social entrepreneurs that appeared in the cloth edition.

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How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition + SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: What Everyone Needs to Know + The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World
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Review

"Wonderfully hopeful and enlightening.... The stories of these social entrepreneurs will inspire and encourage many people who seek to build a better world." --Nelson Mandela

"The book is must reading for anyone who cares about building a more equitable, and therefore more stable, world."--William J. Holstein, New York Times

"David Bornstein's How to Change the World provides a wonderful introduction to social entrepreneurship. It is engaging, inspiring, and informative, weaving Bornstein's thoughtful commentary with a set of rich, diverse, and instructive examples. It is the first book I recommend to interested students." -- Professor J. Gregory Dees, Faculty Director, Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

"A fascinating book.... Well-documented cases of grassroots entrepreneurial activities to tackle such diverse social problems as child abuse, disability, illiteracy, and environmental degradation give life to it." --Laura D'Andrea Tyson, Business Week

"This pioneering book details the development of social entrepreneurship globally with useful case studies and thoughtful analysis throughout. It represents one of the core teaching materials we use at Oxford."--Dr Alex Nicholls, Lecturer in Social Entrepreneurship, Said Business School, Oxford University

"One of the most powerful transformative forces in this century is social entrepreneurship and this book insightfully probes these entrepreneurial change agents driving this process. Enriching reading for students and practitioners seeking to build a better world."--James E. Austin, Snider Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, and Co-Founder of the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative

"I've told everyone within earshot about it. Besides, I'm confident that those who've read the earlier volume will appreciate the update...Buy extra copies of the book as gifts-someone you know may be looking for a future with meaning."--Portland Alliance

About the Author

David Bornstein is a journalist who specializes in writing about social innovation. His first book, The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank was selected as a finalist for the New York Public Library Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. His articles have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly and the New York Times, and he co-wrote the PBS documentary "To Our Credit." He lives in New York City.

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3.0 out of 5 stars How to change the world May 9 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is really interesting. I have enjoyed reading the challenge that people have gone to change to way a community lives.
A very good read.
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"Rejoicing in the world, His earth,
And having my delight in the sons of men." -- Proverbs 8:31

Can one person make a difference for the poor, the helpless, and those with no hope? The case histories in this book will encourage you to think that it's more than possible: The process can be studied, taught, and encouraged as journalist David Bornstein recounts this point through his story of what the Ashoka foundation is doing to develop social entrepreneurs and establish a discipline that can be rapidly improved through sharing of best practices. Whether you are a social entrepreneur, want to become one, or want to encourage what they do, this book is must reading. It systematizes much of what is scattered throughout many speeches, good stories, brief articles, and a variety of excellent books.

The book's main weakness is that it doesn't do enough to draw more than big-picture conclusions about social entrepreneurs. To me, those profiled here simply look like successful business model innovators who care more about the social impact of what they do than the financial rewards for themselves. As a result, the book's focus is a little too narrow to be totally useful. There are also for-profit entrepreneurs who great vast amounts of social benefit using different, but similar, methods to what is described here. Both groups can learn a lot from one another. I suspect that there are also other streams of creativity conjoining as well, such as I often see accomplished by people who want to systematically raise up socially conscious entrepreneurs by the tens of millions in Africa, Asia, and South America.

I hope that this book will be updated and expanded in scope every year or two. That will be a great blessing for those who are interested in the field and those who want to help it advance.

Bravo, Mr. Bornstein!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  48 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bornstein and How to Change the World Jan. 23 2011
By Cordlaine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bornstein's book might not be what people are looking for when they initially pick it up, however, overall it has a diverse plot. The sections are all very different and cover a variety of different people and places. One of my favorite chapters was chapter 10, Are They Possessed, Really Possessed, by an Idea? I liked where the writers bring up a strong point about the term, 'social entrepreneurs.' The term social entrepreneur is new to many people around the world, I remember saying it to my roommates and they looked at me like I was mildly crazy. However, the term is relevant to a lifestyle and purpose of life for many people who live it. The lifestyle explained by Bornstein in this chapter explains the character of the entrepreneur doesn't announce themselves, they work hard to gather important and relevant information for the good of the project, not for the good of themselves. They want this earth to be a better place for the earth, not for themselves. This was a great point and helped me to view the book as extremely helpful. It shares a variety of different stories, and helps to put cultural differences into perspective. I am enjoying this book very much!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Change the World Jan. 23 2011
By Calleene Egan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
How to Change the World, is an insightful book focused on people who strive to make this world a better place. Each chapter brings you a new a story about a passionate soul who implemented a program that bettered the lives of the people around them. This novel is an eye opening adventure with destinations and stories from all over the world.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Will Be The Future Changemakers? Jan. 23 2011
By Dance Aoki - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Every person Bornstein discussed has the inspired capacity for solving intricate social problems resourcefully and efficiently, and they are able to maneuver around seemingly insurmountable obstacles to accomplish their goals.

James Grant of Unicef is particularly striking. His story illustrates how the provision of social services on a grand scale will be met with resistance, even if it is an easy one to distribute, is relatively inexpensive and could save thousands of lives. Grant never faltered, and activated his limited resources. As a result, he changed the world. Yet, there is a long road ahead on the mission towards immunizing all children against preventable diseases. Governments, investors, and all concerned citizens want to know the value of enterprises such as Unicef. Bornstein emphasizes in his conclusion that metrics for analyzing social value need to be developed in the civic sector in order to accurately evaluate the organization's ability to create social value. In the public health world, value is created in the number of sick individuals. The statistics that followed Grant's initiatives indicated lowered child mortality and improved qualities of life across the globe, which speak to the value of his work.

Each entrepreneur exemplifies the nature of their work in different ways. Bornstein succeeds in drawing connections between each Ashoka fellow and teases out a skeleton of what an effective social entrepreneur might look like. A new generation could be in the grooming process of inheriting the legacy that these fellows have built from scratch.
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Single best book I have read in past five years Jan. 27 2008
By Robert David STEELE Vivas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read a lot, almost totally non-fiction, and for the past several years, after accidentally becoming a top Amazon reviewer on the strength of 300 reviews lifted from the annotated bibliographies of my first two books, I have been dedicated, as a hobby, to reading in the service of the public. My goal in life at the age of 55, what I learned from this book is called an "encore career," is to be intelligence officer to the five billion poor, and--I now realize from this book--to the social entrepreneurs that are changing the world on a scale and with a speed that governments cannot match.

This book blew my mind, literally. It has not altered my course, but it has dramatically accelerated my ability to make progress by illuminating a path I thought I would have to discover. This book is the first "map" of a completely new form of endeavor, profoundly individual in inspiration and global in scale, that of social entrepreneurship, not to be confused with non-profit or non-governmental, more traditional forms.

The author, apart from mapping examples (33, focused on education, health, protection, and access to electricity and technology), provides what I consider to be the single best preface/introduction I have ever read. Here are a few of the underlined bits:

+ hidden history unfolding
+ landscape of innovators
+ ratio of problem-focused information to solution-focused information is completely out of balance
+ reality distorted, people deprived of knowledge they could use
+ individual social entrepreneurs advancing systemic scalable solutions
+ new sector of social entrepreneurship now being taught, funded, and respected
+ two Nobel Peace Prizes (2004, 2006)--micro-finance now micro-everything
+ Ashoka, founded by Bill Drayton is the spine of the book
+ conceptual firewalls coming down, "whole brains" being used
+ influencing conventional businesses (going green, good) and governments (adopting unconventional education, kids teaching parents, etc)
+ "social entrepreneurs are uniquely suited to make headway on problems that have resisted considerable money and intelligence"
+ government are looking at problems from the outside, social entrepreneurs see problems--and solutions--from the inside
+ scale still a challenge, but coming
+ Students and local groups actively interested in hearing about this now
+ Students are leading the way, pushing for change in curriculums
+ optimism, hope, energy are being unleashed as never before--but not being properly mapped, reported, or appreciated outside small circles
+ new pathways being discovered every day in every place
+ changemakers far more numerous than any might have imagined
+ many levels of changemaker
+ charaqcterized by first-hand active engagement in reality
+ individuals driven to understand, and driven to remove shackles from others with shared knowledge (e.g. kids learning to fix pumps and spreading knowledge across villages with a speed and energy only quick-witten children could apply)
+ social entrepreneurship network now has sensors everywhere, millions of changemarkers, tens of thousands of organizations
+ far better mechanism to respond to needed than we have ever had before
+ decentralized and emergent force

BAD NEWS:
- not yet properly financed
- lacking holistic public intelligence for voluntary harmonization against the ten threats, with the twelve policies, with a special focus on the eight challengers. (Learn more at Earth Intelligence Network)
+ emphasis on metrics slows down the needed pace of funding for innovation

Core principles for social excellence (chapter twelve):
+ Putting Children in Charge
+ Enlisting "Barefoot" Professionals
+ Designing New Legal Frameworks for Environmental Reform
+ Helping Small Producers Capture Greater Profits
+ Linking Economic Development and Environmental Protection
+ Unleashing Resources in the Community You Are Serving
+ Linking the Citizen, Government, and Business Sectors for Comprehensive Solutions (this is where shared public intelligence and a shared Range of Gifts Table can harmonize disparate capabilities with a common interest in stabilization, reconstruction, humanitarian assistance, and relief)

The book ends with a superb resource section including the following headings for lists of one-line access points:
+ Resources for People Seeking Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities
+ Organizations that Identify and/or Support (or Invest in) Social Entrepreneurs
+ Management, Funding, and Networking Resources for Citizen Organizations
+ Academic-Based Resources
+ Resources for Funders
+ Resources for Businesspeople

The notes and index are totally professional.

I put this book down with one final note: WOW!!!

This is an Earth-changing book, an utterly brilliant, timely, ethical, wonderful piece of scholarship, journalism, vision and information sharing. I actually have tears in my eyes. This book is Ref A for saving the Earth seven generations into the future and beyond.

Other books that support this one, but this one is unique:
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today's Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems
The World Cafe: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter
Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World
Escaping the Matrix: How We the People can change the world
Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks)

See also the books I have written, helped edit, or published, including our forthcoming COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace, edited by Mark Tovey with 55 contributors. It will be on Amazon 1 March 2008, and is offered free online at Earth Intelligence Network.

In addition, I recommend the "52 Tough Questions" with transpartisan answers at Earth Intelligence Network, that address the ten high-level threats to humanity as identified by the UN study on "Creating a More Secure world" (free online and also sold via Amazon), the twelve policies that must be harmonized, and the eight challengers whom we must help avoid our mistakes of the past 100 years.

This book by David Bornstein could not have come into my life at a better time--the New York Times calls it a bible in the field, I consider it to be my inspiration for my encore career. Simply spectacular. AMAZING--not just the book, but every person and organization the book names and discusses. WOW!!!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars People Who Have Tried to Change the World Jan. 15 2011
By dn4whtvr - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Bornstein's "How to Change the World" is a love letter to Ashoka, an impressive and arguably very successful organization that identifies and supports social entrepreneurs throughout the world. Throughout the book, Bornstein provides a primer on Ashoka, its founder and methodology, as well as a number of success stories. He begins with a well-researched and interesting explanation about how the social entrepreneurship movement - or the citizen sector, as he calls it - found its sweet spot for expansion in the late 20th century. His narrative style is not nearly as compelling as first-person stories, such as "The Blue Sweater" (Novogratz, 2009), or even "Half the Sky" (Kristof & WuDunn, 2009). If each featured social entrepreneur had written a first-person account, this may have provided a more compelling read. One obviously missing component of Bornstein's vignettes is an acknowledgement of failure. On their respective roads to success, what significant missteps did these entrepreneurs take? What did they learn from those mistakes and failures?

This book may be a wonderful resource for people who are not yet familiar with social entrepreneurship or the amazing work that has been done by citizen sector individuals and organizations worldwide in the last 30 years. I appreciate the time Bornstein spent describing historical figures, demonstrating that social entrepreneurship is nothing new; it is simply finally getting the attention it deserves. However, the book falls short of its title. It is not a how-to. Although the resource list is well-balanced, and there are some nuggets of discussion of what it takes to be successful in social entrepreneurship, Bornstein falls short of providing insight for individuals who are wondering whether they have what it takes to be a social entrepreneur. Other than being passionate and obsessive, what else does it take? Do the vignettes provide actionable lessons learned for readers who are considering becoming social entrepreneurs, or who are already in the citizen sector but want to find more success? This reader was left wanting.
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