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How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas [Hardcover]

David Bornstein
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 6 2004
What business entrepreneurs are to the economy, social entrepreneurs are to social change. They are, writes David Bornstein, the driven, creative individuals who question the status quo, exploit new opportunities, refuse to give up--and remake the world for the better. How to Change the World tells the fascinating stories of these remarkable individuals--many in the United States, others in countries from Brazil to Hungary--providing an In Search of Excellence for the nonprofit sector. In America, one man, J.B. Schramm, has helped thousands of low-income high school students get into college. In South Africa, one woman, Veronica Khosa, developed a home-based care model for AIDS patients that changed government health policy. In Brazil, Fabio Rosa helped bring electricity to hundreds of thousands of remote rural residents. Another American, James Grant, is credited with saving 25 million lives by leading and 'marketing' a global campaign for immunization. Yet another, BillDrayton, created a pioneering foundation, Ashoka, that has funded and supported these social entrepreneurs and over a thousand like them, leveraging the power of their ideas across the globe. These extraordinary stories highlight a massive transformation that is going largely unreported by the media: Around the world, the fastest-growing segment of society is the nonprofit sector, as millions of ordinary people--social entrepreneurs--are increasingly stepping in to solve the problems where governments and bureaucracies have failed. How to Change the World shows, as its title suggests, that with determination and innovation, even a single person can make a surprising difference. For anyone seeking to make a positive mark on the world, this will be both an inspiring read and an invaluable handbook.

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From Publishers Weekly

Journalist Bornstein (The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank) profiles nine indomitable champions of social change who developed innovative ways to address needs they saw around them in places as distinct as Bombay, India; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and inner-city Washington, D.C. As these nine grew influential when their ingenious ideas proved ever more widely successful, they came to the attention of Ashoka, an organization that sponsors a fellows program to foster social innovation by finding so-called social entrepreneurs to support. As Bornstein interviewed these and many other Ashoka fellows, he saw patterns in the ways they fought to solve their specifically local problems. To demonstrate the commonality among experiences as diverse as a Hungarian mother striving to provide a fuller life for her handicapped son and a South African nurse starting a home-care system for AIDS patients, he presents useful unifying summaries of "four practices of innovative organizations" and "six qualities of successful social entrepreneurs." Bornstein implies that his subjects are in the tradition of Florence Nightingale and Gandhi; the inspiring portraits that emerge from his in-depth reporting on the environments in which individual programs evolved (whether in politically teeming India or amid the expansive grasslands of Brazil) certainly show these unstoppable entrepreneurs as extraordinarily savvy community development experts. In adding up the vast number of current nongovernmental organizations and their corps of agents of positive change, Bornstein aims to persuade that, "without a doubt, the past twenty years has produced more social entrepreneurs than terrorists.".
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"This book is a unique treatment of an important subject, and therefore valuable. . .getAbstract.com highly recommends this very significant book to anyone who wants to make a difference."

"Wonderfully hopeful and enlightening.... The stories of these social entreprenuers 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

"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

"The inspiring portraits that emerge from his in-depth reporting on the environments in which individual programs evolved (whether in politically teeming India or amid the expansive grasslands of Brazil) certainly show these unstoppable entrepreneurs as extraordinarily savvy community development experts."--Publishers Weekly

"Human progress has always been led by visionary individuals who seek a better future and dedicate their lives to realizing that promise. These social entrepreneurs tackle some of the world's toughest challenges with grit and determination. Bornstein has given us that rarest of gifts: a book about hope, about courage, and about the power of those extraordinary man and women who change the world."--Jeff Skoll, Founder and Chairman, Skoll Foundation, and first president of eBay

"The social entrepreneurs chronicled in this book are part of the vital generation of independent, creative leaders who are sparking social changes in the United States and in parts of world where people are most in need. We will be hearing much more from them in the years to come." --Bill Bradley

"David Bornstein's book will touch the hearts and minds of many. I hope it will get the wide readership it deserves. Without the effort and energy of civil society the odds are against the fulfillment of all the development needs of today's world, especially the developing world. Pick up a copy and spread the word!" --Arminio Fraga, Former Governor of the Central Bank of Brazil

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspirational book that I enjoy re-reading Jan. 15 2008
I have nothing but praise for this book.

It contains numerous inspirational stories about individuals who have started organizations to positively change the world. It also provides insight into the practices used by Ashoka to find/fund projects with enormous transformation potential. If you're someone who reads a lot of business books (e.g. management/leadership, marketing, etc.) - like me, this book might provide you with a lot of insight and ideas for your for-profit transformation projects.

I borrowed this from my public library. Loved it so much that I purchased it and now find myself reading bits and pieces of it often.

If you like this book, I also highly recommend David Bornstein's other book called "The Price of a Dream". It is a book focused solely on the Grameen Bank and their micro-financing approach in helpling to lift people out of poverty in Bangladesh.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Is there hope? May 29 2005
Is there hope? Can we change the world? Is globalization a benefit to the world or a curse? The western world look at globalization as a curse (the loss of wealth and power status) while the rest of the world looks at it as hope for life and quality of life. Social Entrepreneurs have these and many other issues to contend with. This a good book and highly recommended. Also, Stop Working by Rohan Hall which deals with globalization and entrepreneurship is an excellent companion book that also deals with these challenges.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This way to Change! March 22 2004
By A Customer
My takeaway from this highly inspirational book is: Dare to care. In a self-obsessed world, where the "I" reigns supreme, along comes a book that has the potential to change that for ever. I would be surprised if this book did not serve as a catalyst for all those people who are aching to leave their mark on the earth's future by altering the world for the better.

In How to Change the World, author David Bornstein presents short biographies of ordinary citizens who have cared enough to actually go out and change what is wrong in society. The nine stories of social entrepreneurs or innovators, dubbed 'transformative forces' by the author, have the power to inspire readers to want to do something. The fine examples of social entrepreneurship within the pages of this book make one realize that there is hope for the planet after all.
To quote Bornstein, "Across the world, social entrepreneurs are demonstrating new approaches to many social ills and new models to create social wealth, promote social well-being, and restore the environment." What is tremendously energizing is that so many of these change agents already exist and are moving mountains for you and me, and for our children.

The major contribution of the book is that it underlines that one doesn't have to be rich or powerful to alter the current reality. What is required is to feel empathy and concern in high doses, and to recognize and understand a problem. The stories trace how, if one is sufficiently charged, creative ideas for 'getting around' problem areas -- be it public apathy or bureaucratic indifference -- flow naturally. The hallmark of a true social entrepreneur really shines through at the next stage, when these ideas are converted into reality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Compendium of social change initiatives Feb. 29 2004
By Ted
This book is a wonderful collection of stories about social entrepreneurs who were able to effect a change in their communities. Though not always 100% succesful, their stories illustrate that business, government, and social concerns do not have to be at odds with each other and in fact, they can often complement each other to bring about a greater good. For those in a corporate or academic setting, the chapters from this book could easily be excerpted and used as case studies for your organization. Highly recommended! If you liked this book, you should also read "Banker to the Poor" by Muhammad Yunus.
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By A Customer
David Bornstein's book How to Change the World is worth reading if you
a) prefer action instead of stagnancy
b) prefer good solutions instead of persisting problems
c) prefer justice and opportunity instead of poverty and neglect, or,
d) prefer good writing, period.
Bornstein accurately writes, "Anyone who has ever dreamt of solving a problem or making a positive change in his or her environment will find encouraging and instructive stories here." He takes us around the world to visit social entrepreneurs and find out what makes these people tireless fighters for their causes.
Each profile is like an episode of VH1's Driven - we see what inspires these people, how they overcome obstacles, and why they succeed - but instead of following a pop star to a record deal and a fleet of Escalades, we watch social entrepreneurs achieve rights for people with disabilities, compassionate home care for HIV / AIDS patients, and electricity for the rural poor. Unlike celebrities or CEOs, these folks have no interest in fame and fortune. We are lucky indeed that Bornstein has taken it upon himself to describe their efforts; they are far too busy pursuing their dreams of a better world to stop and promote themselves. Many advocate endlessly for their causes, but as Bornstein points out, they have in common a willingness to work quietly, to share credit, and to plow through their own savings and time to make progress. Social entrepreneurs have a greater attachment to finding solutions than to being right, rich, or recognized.
These and other common traits are highlighted throughout the book. We see that social entrepreneurs don't start with the perfect plan, they just have a complete commitment to solving a problem.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome explanation of revolutionary ideas
David Bornstein's new book How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas offers a superb introduction to the burgeoning field of social entrepreneurship,... Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and Practical
Having been most inspired by his remarkable study of the Grameen Bank (The Price of a Dream) and his articles for Ashoka at Changemakers. Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2004
This inspirational book should be in the hands of every career development person in every high school, college, and university. Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2004 by Jack Rosenblum
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring book, worthy of the title.
Mr. Bornstein's book brought dreams out of me that were just ready to be born. "How to Change the World" is a collection of powerful stories of people who had the... Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2004 by Juliette Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars ONLY A FEW CHANGE THE WORLD
So many of us share a palpable hunger to make the world a better place. You can sense it in vigorous retirees still aching to contribute; and in restless baby boomers ready to... Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2004 by Don Blohowiak, PhD
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It- Couldn't Put This Down
How to Change the World was such a pleasure to read. It was the first book I've read on the topic of social entreprenuership, and I really couldn't put it down. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars The stories of these individuals can't help but inspire!
With examples from all over the world, Bornstein shows how social entrepreneurs relentlessly work to change societal conditions for the better. Read more
Published on Dec 23 2003
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